Branding your business in the digital world is more involved than ever. Have you ever visited a website that took you back in time to the days of dial-up Internet service, AOL Instant Messenger and Alta Vista internet searches? You marvel at the glacial page load speed times, stock looking graphic design, broken hyperlinks and overwhelming amount of text. Dig a little deeper, and you find antiquated menu structures, a shopping cart that doesn’t take you anywhere, and an extra-long contact form that seems never-ending. Within just a few seconds your perception has been completely ambushed! You’ve developed negative opinions about the website, the service, the quality, the company and even the brand. You will not soon forget this experience and about 90% of the time you’ll never re-visit such a website. You may even mention what you saw to a few of your friends as often consumers will share such a poor experience with an average of 11 other individuals.
But now the scary question for a business to consider: Do customers get that same feeling when they visit your business website? Just imagine how that could be impacting brand credibility and the ability to generate online revenue. In many cases, companies are not fully aware of the detriment an outdated website has on the brand. We have found that a disconnect between customer perception and a brand’s visual elements, often plays a pivotal role in the evaluation and decision making process. Even something as simple as not properly conveying a brand’s value propositions, may result in an unintended hindrance within the target audience. But it’s these simple and even subtle factors that make an enormous difference.
The bottom line is that a business often has one chance to make a positive impression and capture a potential customer online – a chance lasting only a few seconds.
Econsultancy for example, reports that 40% of people abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds for it to load.
As that load time increases, more and more customers simply decide to leave. So before you’ve even had a chance to get your message through to customers, they could be gone — simply because your site failed to load fast enough.
This online abandonment translates into real customers lost, often permanently.
These individuals have no incentive to come back to your website and often share their poor experience in vivid detail. This negative word of mouth works against a brand as people start to hear that your business is out of touch. The target audience you so desperately want to communicate with is unable to connect with your brand. And from there your brand’s credibility gradually plummets as people lose trust in your company.
And where are all these potential customers going? Straight to your competitors. And we assure you that your competitors could not be happier. Your competitors’ websites don’t have to be the slickest, or use the most advanced platform and functionality on the web. In the case of a bad user experience, a competitor website needs only to be incrementally better than yours. A threshold so low, few competitors will have difficulty achieving success. And if the visual appeal is stronger and user experience seamless, those competitors gain loyal customers that could have and should have been yours.
But this doesn’t have to be the case and branding your business doesn’t need to be overwhelming.
As a rule of thumb, a business should take a fresh look at it’s website every couple years.
This is even more critical if you are in the technology, education or professional services industry. Five years is a lifetime in the world of web design and development as the industry moves efficiently with improvements. The longer you wait to overhaul your outdated website, the more customers find a happy home with your competitors.
So if you are reviewing the overall branding of your business. Or if it’s been a while since your website was built, now may be the time to partner with a strategic web design agency. Avoid the risk of harming business reputation and losing customers daily. Create an engaging and effective website that effectively represents your brand and get the appropriate visual appeal in front of your target audience.