In the age of e-commerce, websites often replace the interactions that shoppers once had with in-store sales associates. Since online shopping is replacing many visits to brick-and-mortar stores, creating a website that enhances this experience is absolutely key.
Since your website is essentially your virtual salesperson, this digital real estate should be used very intentionally so you can turn site visitors into loyal buyers.
Let’s review nice ways that you can build a loyal customer base through user-centered design
1. Understand your audience
As you’ve developed your business and fine-tuned your offer, you’ve likely gathered quite a bit of information about your target audience. To build a loyal customer base, you need to know your ideal buyer well. Here is where proper user research comes into place.
It’s important to dig deep into what problems your target audience is facing, how your offer solves the problem, and the emotions attached to the entire process.
Understanding the emotional side of the buying process will help you curate the experience on your site to speak to your audience’s unique needs. It’ll allow you to acknowledge their pain points so you can provide support around those specific pain points.
With this understanding, you’ll be better equipped to empathize with potential buyers and form deeper connections.
2. Analyze the competition
Researching and auditing other leaders in your industry is a great way to determine what your site should include and how to best communicate and connect with your target audience. You can use your competitors’ website designs and messaging to gather ideas for your own site. At UXtweak we have an entire tool aimed at Competetive Usability Testing which will allow you to do just that.
Also, creating competitive battlecards will help you define the strengths of your product or service that set them apart from their competitors.
This is very valuable because those who are excelling in your field have likely done a lot of the heavy lifting in understanding your target audience, so this saves you some time and resources.
Although it is okay and encouraged to use other brands as inspiration, you should never use any other brand’s messaging verbatim. Copying and pasting imagery is also not acceptable. It’s distasteful to duplicate materials that others have worked hard to create, and in some instances, it may be illegal.
Either way, you need to make sure you’re simply using other brands as inspiration rather than as a template for your site.
Here is a short video showing how you can use UXtweak to test your competitor’s websites:
3. Get strategic
Every single element on your website should have a purpose. This includes every word, picture, button, and more.
It should provide some sort of value to your viewer, whether that is informing them about your brand and your offer or providing them with the next steps they should take if they want to solve their problems with your product.
As you create your site design and copy, have a brainstorming session and get all of your ideas on paper. From there, run through each element and ask yourself to identify the purpose. If an element doesn’t productively add to the narrative or help you convey your message, consider cutting it off.
Each element of your site should tie into the knowledge of your audience we discussed above to continue on the theme of empathy, connection, and the value of your solution. Here is a little example how we try to do that on your homepage.
4. Prioritize simple navigation
You want every visitor that lands on your site to be able to find the information they need without thinking too much. The navigation should be very simple, so visitors don’t have to think much as they explore what you have to offer. This refers to the site in general as well as each unique page.
Your menu should very clearly state what they can expect on each page. There are lots of places where you can get creative on your site, but the menu is one where it pays to be direct. The same goes for the general layout of each landing page. To make sure your menu navigation is structured in a way your users find natural use card sorting to find out how would your users group the content on your site together. Then you can test the effectiveness of your menu navigation using the tree testing tool.
Take the Ticket Fairy event tickets landing page, for example. The page uses clear language with easy-to-read fonts, which allows the user to quickly see what they can gain from using their system, how it works, and how to book a call with them.
Enhancing the experience on your website with straightforward navigation will help keep viewers engaged with your brand, which is certainly a win.
5. Consider the customer’s journey
Part of ensuring that the navigation of your site is properly laid out is really understanding the customer’s journey. We discussed earlier the importance of getting to know your customer’s pain points and empathizing with them as you present your product or service as a solution to that.
However, you can unravel this concept a little bit more to create a bigger roadmap for the customer’s journey.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What leads a prospective buyer to look for my product or service?
- Is there a breaking point that triggers the search, or is it a gradual build-up?
- What is this person feeling as they search for my offer?
- What information does the prospective buyer need to know to trust my brand?
- How can I make it easier for the buyer to make the purchase?
- How can I stay in touch after the purchase?
- Is my offer one that my ideal buyer needs to purchase regularly, or is it an infrequent purchase?
- How can I incentivize someone to become a repeat buyer or refer my business to those in their circle?
Use the answers to build a map of the customer’s journey and design your website to guide them through this process.
Another powerful way to understand the get more understanding into customer journey on your website is to implement a session recording tool that will allow you to reply the full sessions of your users on your website to see exactly how they navigated and interacted with your site. Learn more about session recording with our Basics of Session Recording Guide.
6. Optimize your copy
The messaging on your website is very important because it helps provide context to the graphics and other elements that you use. Your copy should be concise and easy to understand.
Include headings and subheadings where they fit in order to make your pages easy to scan. Keep sentences and paragraphs relatively short to avoid having large blocks of text. Both of these things will improve readability.
Providing actionable next steps is also key if you want to build a loyal customer base. You should use calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your copy to push viewers to take the next steps.
If you want your audience to make a purchase, let them know. You could also encourage viewers to join your email list or community socials. It’s up to you to decide what the next steps should be.
7. Create personalized experiences
Providing a personalized user experience is a surefire way to build loyal customers. It enables you to target unique needs and appeal to specific buyers in a way that most resonates with their needs.
Image source: certifiedketodiet.com
This sort of tech may require some time and resources upfront, but it helps you stay competitive in the market.
8. Assess and revamp
Many businesses conduct routine audits of their brand assets, such as their branding, web design, copy, and so forth. The purpose of this exercise is to take the feedback you receive from site visitors and buyers and improve your site to better speak to your audience.
You can use surveys to get feedback, or you can use sales conversion rates or anecdotal evidence to make your assessments.
For example, if one landing page is performing really well and one isn’t, incorporate elements from the successful one into the unsuccessful one to see if it makes a difference. A/B testing is a great technique for this.
9. Create an FAQ page
Website visitors don’t want to search high and low for answers to their questions. That’s why it’s so important to answer commonly asked customer questions on a consolidated FAQ page.
Building a FAQ page, like this one about same-day delivery courier services, helps improve the customer experience and reduces bounce rates.
Using an FAQ page is also a great move for search engine optimization (SEO). When you structure your FAQ properly and answer common questions, it makes it possible for search engines to easily scan your content, which provides them some contextual insight. This is great if you’re trying to rank in Google’s People Also Ask section.
Of course, SEO isn’t directly tied to customer loyalty, but it exposes your brand to more potential customers. Having more eyes on your site creates the opportunity to convert more people into loyal buyers.
Building a loyal customer base is very valuable for businesses since it provides an audience to tap into for ongoing sales, referrals, and more.
Create a user-centered website using the design tips and techniques above to get started on the path toward building your brand’s community.
Your website will quickly become a hub for your customers to connect with you and your brand, and it’ll be a place where you can show your commitment to providing a high level of customer service.