WWW – Wonderful Websites Work
Opting for a website is the first step. The challenge is to set it up so that it works for your customers AND presents you in the best possible light.
This isn’t as hard as it may sound, but it is still surprising how many people get it wrong. Too many businesses still see websites as a way of keeping customers at arm’s length for convenience rather than engaging with them properly.
Approach design and content as a customer
It may be your website, but the best way to ensure it is user friendly is to put yourself in the position of a potential customer. This can be someone who already knows you and wants to see what you have to offer, or it can be someone who discovers you by accident or through an internet search. What are they looking for and how easy is it for them to find it?
Trust and confidence are the twin bywords for trading on the web. It’s astonishing just how many dealers and auction houses still don’t put a face or name to the brand, nor give any indication where they are based or how to contact them. What have they got to hide?
Be open and clear about who you are and provide visitors with direct access to you, if you want to encourage them to buy and return. That means full contact information, including a phone number, email address. If you have a shop for buyers to visit make sure your location is clear and easy to find. Include a full address and postcode. Add a map or street view if you can. Make sure to include operating hours for stores.
The About Us section is among the most important parts of any website because it tells visitors about who is behind the brand – or at least it should.
Don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story, put up a photograph of you and your staff and set out your areas of expertise. Add direct contact details for each person shown or link this page back to the contacts page. This is the first step to engaging with potential clients and will help to set them at their ease.
Tell them what you stand for. It costs you nothing to let you customers know how you approach business ethically. Use this space to explain how you value excellent service, guarantee authenticity and quality, aim to treat your clients and deal with complaints. Your standards will reinforce your trustworthiness and you can even have a link through to more detailed terms and conditions here, for greater clarity.
Getting the look
Use a website developer for a nice-looking, clean design. This is especially important if you include photo galleries or an ecommerce store on your site. The easier it is to find things and complete purchases the more repeat buyers/visitors you are likely to have. Don’t forget, as people who appreciate and deal in stylish pieces, it is advisable to demonstrate that you understand what a good image looks like, especially as you can repurpose these images for your social media feeds, especially on Instagram. Find out about Ronati’s web design partners here: https://ronati.com/dealer-resources/
Put yourself in customer mode once more. Where would you look for items to buy? How easy is it to find the description and price of something on sale? And if you wanted to buy it, how easy is it to do so? If your website doesn’t offer an intuitive route to all of this, then it isn’t working in your interests and may put potential customers off.
Finance and payment
Processing payments fairly standard these days; most people are used to using a debit or credit card, or an online payment system like PayPal. But it’s also worth highlighting any additional facilities you offer for securing sales, such as payment by instalment or other schemes. Make a virtue of promoting these clearly with a link to the contact details for anyone who wants to find out more.
Essential information & support
If you are able to recommend packers and shippers – or anything else that will make your customers’ live easier – provide the information and links and make them easy to find. Include details of any trade associations like LAPADA that you may be a member of.
Don’t forget, too, to include information on any additional services you offer, like valuations or buying.
Burnish your expertise
Creating and updating rich content on a regular basis can be one of the best ways of improving your SEO and boosting your brand. Consider writing brief collecting guides on your specialist subjects and updating them with illustrations of current stock and recent sales.
Engage, engage, engage
Have a section for special events, such as trade shows or fairs you’ll be attending. Include a gallery section for pictures of you and your stock, both in-store and at fairs.
Add a newsletter with photos of your stand at a recent fair.
Include a newsletter form. This helps you collect contacts who are interested in your company/store/website so you can contact them in the future. If you ever have a special offer or event you can reach out to those who signed up. If you need tips for marketing to your newsletter list, check out our blog on email marketing: https://ronati.com/blog/how-to-get-started-with-email-marketing/
Write a visual blog of a recent buying trip. Add video where you can. And don’t forget that this can all be fed into…
It’s better to use one or two platforms well, like Instagram and Facebook, than to try and juggle more badly. If you want to add Twitter and Linked In, or even YouTube, consider using a social media management system like Buffer to schedule posts and co-ordinate your networks for maximum effect and building a following.
This should not be an afterthought. Thousands of followers on Instagram turn into a free viral marketing facility that will help build sales.
Be careful with widgets: lots of businesses mistakenly use a sharing widget instead of direct links to the social media channels.