Most consumers are turning online for information that will help them make smarter purchasing decisions and better entertainment options. According to the eCommerce Foundation, approximately 88% of consumers research product information online before they make a purchase online or in a store. This fact reinforces the importance of a website for today’s businesses. The pandemic has further increased the importance of a website as many consumers are relying on the business website to get information and determine if they are open or closed.
The center website is a valuable part of your business and offers many opportunities.
- Improves your customer service
- Saves you time
- Keeps your customer informed
- Always open
- Doorway to the world
Is your website working for you or is it suffering from the “build it and forget it” syndrome? A critical component of any successful website strategy is ongoing maintenance. Research shows that it takes 1/20th of a second for website visitors to form a first impression about your business. What is your center website telling your customers?
When you land on an outdated website you might think:
“Business must be slow, it doesn’t look like the site has been updated in 4 or 5 years.”
“I wonder if they are still in business?”
“Wow, if their website is out of date, their center must be too. I’ll keep looking.”
Is your website hurting your business and driving customers straight to your competitors? What message is your website sending the customers?
SEVEN DANGERS OF AN OUTDATED WEBSITE:
If your website is sparse on content, includes errors and outdated information, your credibility will take a nose-dive.
Makes you appear you’re not “with it”.
A higher value is placed on companies that are professional, well maintained, cutting-edge and in tune with the latest developments in the industry. If this is your center, but your website is not, there is a big disconnect and could be costing your customers.
Makes the competition look great
If the competitor’s website looks better, informs better and establishes credibility and trust faster, you run the risk of losing the customer.
Center appears to not care. If the center website hasn’t been maintained, it must not be important. Is that the way the center is also?
Quality of the experience is questionable.
New customers don’t have much to go on before deciding to make a call or book online. They use the website to judge you and decide if they want to visit the center.
Can result in a bad customer experience and brings down employee morale.
When customers request expired or outdated coupons, click on links that are broken, see a program that is no longer available, it can lead to a bad customer experience and leaves employees frustrated when customers complain.
Looks like the center is out of business. When customers land on a website that hasn’t been maintained in years, it makes them wonder whether or not the center is still in business. This is especially true with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This can turn customers away and cost your center thousands of dollar in business.
If the center is closed, due to weather, a private event or a pandemic remember that your website is the only link your customers have to you to find out the status of reopening. Many centers have used the mandatory COVID-19 closure to perform maintenance on the lanes and building. This is also the perfect opportunity to go page-by-page and link-by-link to make sure that your website is fresh, current and correct. This could also include changing out the photos or adding new content to reengage the audience.
Visualize your website through the eyes of the customer you are trying to attract. Tap into the things that matter to that audience. For example, the Corporate Party page should be extra polished, professional and easy to maneuver. Customers viewing this page are often short on time and expect a professional presentation. On the other hand, the number one viewer of the Birthday Party page is Moms. The page should be bright, fun, and should feature things that matter most to moms such as convenience, fun for everyone, safe environment and what is in it for the guest of honor.
The pandemic has made it more important than ever to review and update your website. Don’t let something as simple as an outdated website cost you business. Take time to review your website and make sure the message it tells customers is a true representation of the experience the center offers. Turn your website into your #1 marketing and sales tool. Communication is a key to success and a website is a large part of the center’s communication with customers and potential customers. So…give your website a little tender loving care and make sure that the impression you are leaving customers with is the one you intend.