When we discuss eCommerce websites, there are really two different types, product website, and service websites. While sometimes they overlap because a company will do both, for the most part, these are two very different sites for a number of reasons.
● Shopping Cart vs. Booking
● Product pages vs. Service Descriptions
● Ease of Contact vs. Ease of Checkout
While both types of websites have some common parts, they will look a little different because of the purpose of the site. Getting this right is essential to the website developing new leads and being the tool it should be.
Here are five essential parts of a service website that make it different than a product one.
Online reviews matter to both types of businesses, but in a service business at least a few of them should be front and center on the homepage. If a web visitor is searching for the best electricians in Kansas City and you are located there, you want your electrician services to be high on the list of best reviewed and most reviewed electricians.
The reason? Shoppers are looking for a few simple things when shopping for service, and reviews are one of them. This is why Angie’s list and other sites are so popular, and why Google reviews are one of the first things you see in local search results. This means that not only must you be good, so your customers like you, but you need to pursue reviews as well.
This may involve some reputation management software. You need to ask for positive reviews from customers at the right time and try to intercept complaints before they become reviews on the web.
No matter how often you show a business that the top-ranking companies in their space have a blog and are active on social media, they often balk at the expense or the work that it takes to maintain one. There is some truth to this. Being social and ranking really well in local search results can cause your business to increase exponentially. If you are not prepared for growth, that can be be a problem, especially in the services industry.
However, if your company desires growth, this is one of the best ways to achieve it. Have a blog with tips and tricks for customers, and that answers those pesky frequently asked questions. Then share that blog on social media channels, and get social. Be present on one or more social media platforms, post often, and interact with your customers. Have booking and contact information in your profile, making it easy for customers to get in touch. Feature your website often.
This is another factor that is true for every website, but it is especially true for your service business. One of the biggest keys is that your site appearance should be relevant. If you offer carpet cleaning services, be sure that is clear from the start. The same is true with any other service. Don’t try to be clever or innovative in this space, at least not without a purpose.
Why? Because customers come to service websites for a few simple reasons.
● They want to see customer reviews. How good are you?
● They want to see the cost of typical services. How much will it take to hire you?
● They want a place to book your services. When can you do the work?
Of course, there will be services that you cannot price on the web, and they will need to contact you about, but the basic outline can be there. The same is true with your booking calendar (more on that in a moment). The fact is that customers want service websites to be simple. Simple format, simple navigation, and simple ability to find out the information they need to book your services.
Speaking of booking, this is one of the keys to your services website. Why? Because you can convert a customer on the spot without them ever having to call you or contact you directly at all. This saves you time, money and manpower as well, but it earns you customers that might otherwise go elsewhere.
Here’s how to make it work:
● Have a clear calendar with booking slots available. Even if you book clients and customers over the phone, always leave some slots open just for online bookings. This makes you seem more accessible. Even if you are busy.
● Make booking easy. Don’t make the customer create an account but allow them to book as a guest with just their name, phone number, and relevant information. Don’t add them to mailing lists or other forms of contact without their permission.
● Anonymize bookings: While this may seem obvious, don’t post names of customer appointments. Simply have times show available or unavailable.
● Have a backup. If the customer struggles to book on the web or simply does not want to, have a way for them to contact you that is equally easy, and book them in the same slot right away, even if you normally reserve it for online bookings.
The rule is really to keep things as simple as possible. You want to have new customers, make it easy for them to become your customers or clients.
Keep It Fresh
Technology evolves, and what was a great look for a website five years ago is no longer something customers desire. Your website needs to be responsive and mobile friendly, so the same theme that worked a few years ago is no longer viable.
The web sill continues to change, and you will continue to grow as a business. Your website should stay fresh and change as well. This is especially true of a services website. Customers want to see that you are professional and that you will invest in yourself by investing in your website. Keep it updated and looking good.
Product and services websites do have some common traits, but they also look different and have different purposes, and should be designed to meet those purposes. Take these five essentials as a foundation and build a great website. Your business will be better for it.