Brand Perception: How Your Website Affects Customers

Here’s a quick summary of this post in audio.

Your business is like a medieval city and your website is the wall around that city.

Having a website is great, and so is having customers.

This post will walk you through how your website affects people, and I hope you get some ideas for how to use your website more effectively.

How does your website affect the people who visit it? And what value is being brought to the organization?

  1. People Think Differently About You 

Let’s start with a question:

Do you want people to contact your organization differently? 

Here’s an example that’s common to a lot of businesses:

Let’s say people are contacting you to price shop, but they don’t trust you.  

Instead of letting potential customers take your time by forcing you to explain your value over and over to each person, you can communicate your value to them before they even talk to you.

I’m talking about an extremely powerful way to communicate value.

And this is what it is:

The Wall

Putting up a solid wall will improve everybody’s experience.

What I mean is this:

Your business is like a medieval city and your website is the wall around that city. 

If your wall is a dilapidated piece of junk, people are going to come into your city differently, but if it’s a sturdy, fortified, stone barrier, they’re going to approach you with respect. 

If they respect you, then they’re more comfortable with you serving them. And if they’re comfortable with you serving them, then it’s easier to serve them. 

…And if you’re serving, you’re winning. 

You can use your website to win them over before they ever contact you.

We all want to win, but what does it take to have a solid wall? 

Educating Customers 

In the world of customer service. Customers have to learn your cultural differences.

People don’t know how to interact with you until you show them what’s acceptable and what’s not. 

If you’ve ever visited a foreign country, you know that people talk differently and have different sayings. 

But if no one teaches you what those different sayings mean, you could come to wildly different conclusions.

…And that means if we aren’t actively educating our customers, then they could be negatively or incorrectly educated. 

Having a shabby beaten down wall is training them to not see your value. You may have riches inside the city, but their first impression of a shabby wall will cause them to undervalue you. 

People judge by appearances.  (Here’s an interesting study about people being judged by appearances in the workplace.) https://www.forbes.com/sites/tykiisel/2013/03/20/you-are-judged-by-your-appearance/#2bfef76d6d50

Whether we like it or not, negative first impressions end potential relationships.  

Educate your customers to think how you want them to think. 

If your goal is to serve them, then that will be reflected in the website as well as the other aspects of your organization. 

What if you told your story first on your website? 

People would catch the unique value of your brand. They would latch onto the story and trust you. 

Instead of being uneasy when they call you, they would already know what you’re all about.

…and they would’ve already “bought in.”

It’s amazing how much a powerful story can help birth a great relationship. 

…And talking about customer relationships, the next effect of your website may seem counterintuitive.

  1. Your Website Answers Common Questions

There are two benefits to people not having to contact you. 

That’s right, making it easy for people to not need to contact you is good. 

Here’s why:

First, it improves your organization’s efficiency.

Second, it improves the customer’s experience. 

…And let’s be clear, the results of these two things can be a self-feeding loop of good results. 

Your Website Improves Your Efficiency

This saves your office time and energy. It makes your organization more efficient. 

They don’t have to talk to people as much and answer the same questions over and over. 

This frees up your staff and salespeople to do what they do best. 

From an employee’s perspective, It’s not fun to constantly have to defend the value of your organization. 

But if you’ve already defended the value up front, then your employees can focus on their actual jobs.

Having a great wall makes the people inside the city safer, which allows them to be more productive. 

…That’s great, but don’t my customers want to talk to a human being? Doesn’t all that take away from the customer experience? 

Your Website Improves the Customer Experience

Customers want to have a great experience with you, and yes they want to talk to you, but not until they’ve felt what you’re all about.

Not until they’ve felt your story. 

And don’t worry about being impersonal, in today’s millennial landscape, a lot of young people don’t even want to make a phone call, so it’s actually serving them when they don’t have to call you. 

You may even get more leads because people will easily find the info they’re looking for from you instead of somebody else. 

…And if they find it from you they’re more likely to buy from you.

Let’s go back to our previous example of the distrustful price shopper. He may vet you with questions…

….but if your wall is strong then he will move forward without the questions. 

That saves everyone time. 

Everybody wins, which leads us to the next effect of accomplishing the Three Purposes of a Website. 

  1. Your Website Impacts Customer Perception

People want to have a great experience, and a lot of times on the internet, the experience is just okay. 

Most websites are just a source for information. 

But where’s the passion? Where’s the relatable story that inspires people? 

And not only passion but is the website easy to use too?

To be concise, if you have a weird website that nails the 3 purposes of a website, then people are going to feel great about you. And in the long term, you’re going to reap the benefits. 

The word “weird” here is used in an endearing way. It’s weird because most websites are not doing this, but people love it.

In fact, as human beings, we’re built to communicate with well-told stories. 

If you give them your story first so they latch onto it, and they have a pain free user experience, then you’re winning and generating lasting positive impressions.

Remember, there are two parts to a great user experience:

  1. The website is easy to use.
  1. The organization’s story is communicated effectively. 

And with that being said, let’s look at the first half of a great user experience.

Easy to Use

When someone gets on a website, they have a micro-journey. 

They travel through pathways, there are gates and channels, and different actions result. 

There’s structure, order, and functionality. It can be complex, but a great site makes the user experience easy. 

Apple does a fantastic job at this. 

Regardless of anyone’s opinion about Apple as a whole, most agree their devices are really easy to use. 

All of the technical execution behind the scenes is necessary for the journey to be awesome. 

For example:

It’s like you’re driving on a mountain road, and there’s a mountain face on one side and a cliff on the other. 

It’s not going to be easy to drive this road without some professional forethought.

Great design is intentional.

Road workers put a lot of work into making roads easy to use. 

A safe road needs clean, yellow double-lines, guardrails and to be smooth without potholes. 

In fact, a lot of hard work goes into creating an experience that’s easy. Most people don’t know that, and they don’t have to even think about it. 

…But there is one important takeaway. 

They feel good because it’s easy. 

…And if they feel good, then that means they’re closer to buying from you.

But before they buy, we need to look at the other half of a great user experience.

The Story

The story lets visitors experience your purpose. If they know your purpose, they’ll be able to connect with you.

One problem a lot of organizations don’t realize they have is that they’re not connecting with people.

And that happens because they’re not giving people the opportunity.   

Here’s why:

The story is a key part of a great user experience. There are sites that function great but don’t have a story. 

Without the story, the website is missing its heart. 

Here’s how it all works together:

An easy user experience is meant to prop up the story, which allows it to be front and center. 

A good story and a good experience go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other and still be truly successful. 

Putting It All Together 

When someone visits a website, the journey is so important, but easily overlooked because it is so small. 

…Yet for a lot of brands, it’s the first impression.  

It’s the difference between a firm handshake and a limp one. 

It’s the little things like a great website that make an organization stand out. It’s the little things that separate the chumps from the authorities in any field. 

A website that’s easy to use leaves a subconscious positive impression on visitors. 

The better the user experience, the more perceived value is associated with your organization.  

A great user experience makes people feel safe, comfortable and even respected. Having a fast, working site unconsciously communicates to people that they matter to you.