You know you need a business website if you hope to attract customers to your local business. After all, very few people turn to the phonebook for local business information anymore. But exactly what do customers expect to see when they visit your business website? What do you need to offer to get them into your physical location?
A recent survey by BrightLocal polled over 800 U.S. consumers to see how websites affect their opinions of local businesses. Here’s a closer look.
How much does your website matter?
- Ages 18 – 34: Survey respondents in this demographic expect your local business to have a professional-looking website. In fact, this is a huge factor in whether they will do business with you.
- Ages 35 – 54: Survey respondents in this age group will still do business with companies that don’t have websites. However, they’re far more likely to contact your business if it does have a website.
- Age 55 and up: For older survey respondents, the presence of a website isn’t a deciding factor in whether they’ll do business with you. However, this age group believes having a website adds credibility.
- Women: Women believe businesses with websites are more credible and are more likely to contact these companies. They don’t care if your website looks polished; they just want you to have one.
- Men: Men have a similar attitude as women; however, they are less forgiving of unattractive or unprofessional-looking websites than women are.
Takeaway: Whatever age group or gender makes up most of your customer base, having a business website will help you attract more of them.
What should your website offer?
Consumers in all age groups expect your business website to include certain basic information: a physical address, phone number, operating hours, and a list of products or services and prices. Beyond that, however, there are some key differences among age groups.
- Consumers 55 and up care most about getting basic information from your website, but also want the site to load quickly.
- In addition to getting key information quickly, those age 35 to 54 also prefer your website to be attractive and mobile-optimized.
- For consumers age 18 to 34, an attractive-looking website that’s mobile-optimized isn’t just “nice to have,” but essential.
What are the biggest website turnoffs for consumers? Websites with poor-quality content, no phone number, and no pricing information annoy consumers in all age groups. However, consumers 18 to 34 are also irritated by websites that are slow, buggy or not mobile friendly. Those 55 and up say typos, misspellings and other issues relating to content quality bug them the most. Women are most turned off by poor quality content, while men dislike it when they can’t find a phone number, an address, product prices, or directions.
Takeaway: Prominently displaying your business phone number on your website is critical. That’s because all age groups say the phone is their preferred method of contacting a business. However, to attract the widest possible range of consumers, you should also offer a range of options for contacting your business, including emails, contact forms and and social media.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.