Every Online Marketing Platform (OMP) has to have a home page, or primary landing page.
Your Home Page
Wherever else people might eventually land, this is the page that many people will see first, regardless of what they find in the search engines or on social media. Given that fact, this page must have an easy to use navigation bar, good information and images describing your product or service, multimedia, and it should be MOBILE FRIENDLY. That does NOT mean that they can zoom in on it with their fingers. It means the OMP itself is responsive and adjusts to the screen size and resolution automatically. Over 50% of all “hits” on local business websites are now happening on mobile devices. If you haven’t done this properly, either through responsive cascading style sheets, or via simple mobile redirect to an augmented home page, then you are actually hurting yourself tremendously.
Your second requirement for your OMP is a “Contact Us” page. This page needs to contain the following information:
- Your business name and hours of operation
- Street address, if you have one
- PHONE NUMBER (and there’s special info on that which I will explain in a bit)
- A link to either Google Maps or the ability to copy/paste the address into iMaps
- An email link with your email address spelled out clearly
- A form for people to contact you.
As I said above, the phone number needed special handling. There are two schools of thought on this, and they can both apply to a single business, but it is up to you to know which rule to apply, and when. If you have a toll free number that you want to use, then I specifically encourage you NOT to put it in HTML text if you are paying for that service by the minute. Why? Because there are evil people out there who send little spambots out to scrub websites all day and all night long, gathering phone numbers so telemarketers can call on you. You probably don’t want to pay for that, so the trick is to make your 800 number an IMAGE, rather than the actual text. The spambots can’t recognize a PICTURE of your phone number.
However, if you are a local business, you want your prospective customers to be able to contact you as easily as possible. This is one of those areas where I told you we would be coordinating different pieces of the marketing program to get them to work together. In this case, if you put the phone number in as text, using the regular format XXX-XXX-XXXX, then people with smartphones will be able to dial you simply by clicking on the number. There’s no special coding involved. A good smartphone knows a phone number when it sees one. You can leverage that little bit of technology to make your business look that much more sophisticated. And since over half your customers are going to be finding you on their mobile phones, this is absolutely crucial to your site design.
The third thing your site has to have is an About Page. The about page is where you tell your story. The internet has replaced the town square, or local Chamber of Commerce, in many ways. People go here to find out what it is that makes your business unique. What makes you special. I want to know more than your company tagline. Taglines are a dime a dozen. I want, mostly, to know about the PEOPLE who make up your business. If I dial the phone, what kind of people will be on the other end of the line? The About page is where you give your story. You can explain why you are the RIGHT choice for certain people looking for specific solutions. The About page is where you really lay it on the line, explaining just what makes you the first, best choice in town. It’s not about bragging. It’s about facts. If you have 26 years of experience repairing commercial refrigeration units and have a track record for getting people’s units back working within 90 minutes 90% of the time, then by god this is the place to say that! You know what your customers’ hot buttons are, and this is where you can hit them right between the eyes with it.