75% of people check out a brand by visiting its website.*
How is that for a reason? You only have that one chance to make a first impression and your website is most often it. Customers are looking to see not just your product, but if you, as a brand, are a match with their needs and values. This is your chance to help them understand your purpose and the “why” behind what you do.
A good website tells customers what you do, a great website helps them understand why you do it and the value you bring.
A Brand Website can be your Single Greatest Asset
Think of your website as the hub of all your digital marketing efforts. Your social media and LinkedIn pages are merely a glimpse into your brand, whereas your website is the universal touchpoint every customer interacts with versus individual marketing efforts.
It's often where your audience goes after
hearing or seeing something about you, so it should reaffirm your overall message and be the continuity thread that connects the story you consistently share in other mediums.
Telling Potential Customers What You Do Isn’t Enough
That first impression can often make or break a potential customer, so ask yourself, does your website immediately answer: Who am I? What am I? And most importantly what can I do for you? Think of this as your hook. It should be clear, concise and compelling and the first thing they see, don’t make them work for it.
Check out Gatsby.
Who am I? - Online Investing. "Trade stocks & options" says this and is the first thing you read.
What am I? An easy to set-up app, online trading website. Obvious with the image of the phone & the IOS/Android download buttons.
Why am I right for you? New way to invest- Easy to set-up, little upfront money. With extra perks like earning rewards and trading with friends to tap into social engagement.
Ensure a Strong Call to Action. Above the fold, and interspersed throughout your site, should be directions for what your audience should do next (e.g. a call to action button or CTA). Different customers will require different amounts of information before they are ready to connect so make sure they always have the ability to take the next step no matter where they are on your website.
Check out this article on 50 Call-to-Action examples you can’t help but click and the best ones to use when.
Have an Engaging Story. A great story is hard to forget and something only you can share. It provides authenticity. The more they know and understand the why behind your brand, the more reason they will have to trust your brand and believe they will be in good hands should they choose to work with you. Having a website that meaningfully tells your brand story will help its success.
Just as we discussed in our article about brand building strategies specific for nonprofits, there are also specific website considerations for non-profits as well.
Make sure you customize parts of your site for each unique audience. As non-profits serve more than one group, be sure to make it easy for all audiences to find the information they may need on your website. Integrating testimonial examples from someone who has benefitted from your non-profit’s mission or a volunteer who has been changed by it will build a deeper connection for the visitors of your website.
Show your impact. Building an emotional connection is important, but so are the facts. Displaying on your website the ways that the community is holistically impacted by your non-profit is your “buy-in” for your audience. If they see that you stand for something that is truly making a difference, they will stand behind your cause too.
Great Websites are Designed for Mobile First
We can't ignore the fact that even if you've incorporated our suggestions above, if your site isn’t loading quickly and isn’t designed for how your audience is connecting with you (mobile vs. laptop), it will diminish your brand perception.
When it comes to design, making sure your site is mobile friendly is a prerequisite in the world of everything becoming virtual. Having a slow load time will deter visitors from staying on your site and more importantly, turn them away from ever visiting again. After all, they didn't get to see everything that you had to offer to persuade them to return.
Also, know that Google takes loading times into consideration of the order of appearance when someone searches a term that is compatible with your site.
Per Business.com, if a website does not load in three seconds, 53% of visitors will close out of the site.
There are free services that evaluate what is slowing your site down, so being an expert in web performance isn't necessary for this small but mighty difference-maker when it comes to your brand impression.
Here’s a resource we’ve used to understand how our site is performing. https://gtmetrix.com/
Remember, a website should be the universal platform for everything someone needs to know about your brand. Making sure you are utilizing all of its facets to its fullest potential will build your brand’s reputation.
The Brand Evaluator is a joint venture of independent brand builders – Michelle Thompson, BrandSpark Design and Christine Sech, Brave Oak Brand Building. We work with emerging businesses and non-profits to clearly and meaningfully convey an organization’s value through brand building strategy, design and content that drives results.