A relationship website is an information centered website designed to help a potential or existing customer get to know your company better. It is leveraged to strengthen existing relationships and turn word-of-mouth and referrals into paying customers.
Relationship Websites Are Ideal for a Micro-business
If your business has less than ten employees, a Relationship Website is the right choice. As the business grows larger than ten employees and becomes a small business you may eventually transition to a digital marketing system.
Why a Relationship Website is Right for a Micro-business
In short, a Relationship Website fits the micro-business so well because it’s created to mesh with what’s already working for you. Micro-businesses get most of their business by word-of-mouth and referrals.
For a micro-business, new leads come from happy customers sharing your business card, signs in the yard, and trucks in the driveway. Sure, you might get the occasional cold phone call, but quality work and happy customers are what keeps the vast majority leads coming in.
What a Relationship Website Does
A Relationship Website helps you maximize those opportunities. It “leans into” the reality of how you get your customers – word of mouth referrals. Here’s how it does that
- Designed for someone who’s already heard of you
- Offer Reassurances & Build Trust
- Answer All Questions
- Continually Add Value
- Get Value From Current & Past Customer Relationships
Designed For Someone Who’s Already Heard Of You
The key to any great website design is planning it around the actual user. For a micro-business that’s generally two people: A lukewarm referral that’s heard of you already, and an existing customer.
Offer Reassurances & Build Trust
With that warm referral in mind, your website’s homepage should immediately do two things. It must be clear about what services you offer, and it must demonstrate why you can be trusted. Just because their neighbor used your services isn’t enough – show things like Facebook recommendations and Google review ratings.
Answer All Questions (the right way)
Because you know that the majority of your website visitors are either existing customers or referrals your relationship website should be about answering their questions. You already know the questions… and the answers… So here’s how to do this right.
- Write everything from the customer’s perspective. Start with their pain points.
- Give clear, concise answers first. Offer details further down or on another page.
- Have your homepage talk about “problems we solve”.
- Read up on the 16 Must-haves for a Small Business Website.
- Organize your entire website by “problem solved” rather than “solution offered”.
- Keep the website menu simple and clear so they can find the answers to their questions easily.
- Leave breadcrumbs wherever you can that guide people to explore deeper into a subject if they still have questions.
Continually Add Value
Two things here. First, don’t leave this tool in the back shed to collect dust and rust. Keep the website back end maintained.
But more so, keep the website current and slowly expanding. Here are several ways to do this.
- Whenever you get a question from a customer for the second time, write up the answer.
- When you work with a high-profile client, write up the job and add their logo too.
- When you finish a big job, add before and after photos to the website
- When you get a written testimonial, add it to the website.
- When you get an unusual question from a lead, write up the answer.
- If you haven’t added anything by the end of the month, write up a 3 paragraph blog of just one step in your process, just one technique you use, one unusual touch you added for a customer, one product you recommend, one “word of warning”, etc.
- Update project photos every month. Team members too.
- Review the website once per quarter. Make updates and correct errors.
Get Value From Current & Past Customer Relationships
This is the most often-overlooked piece of the puzzle. The thing most micro-business websites don’t do. This is something that any marketing system worth its salt does well. We use this to turn a run-of-the-mill “small business website” into a powerful “Relationship Website”. Find a way (or several ways) to take those happy customers and ensure you keep getting business from them and referrals from them. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Send a monthly e-newsletter, so customers remember you and keep coming back.
- Write a monthly blog article.
- Post consistently to social media.
- Get customers regularly leaving you reviews on Facebook, Google, etc.
- Repost testimonials to your social media pages.
- Create retargeting ads.
- Ask customers to post before & after photos and tag you.
How a Relationship Website is Different
A relationship website is different from a marketing system because you use it as a tool that extends your “real world” connections, rather than as a cog in the wheel of a big, high-dollar marketing system.
Here are some ways a Relationship website differs:
- Doesn’t rely on expensive advertising campaigns to work
- Typically has 5-25 pages instead of 50+ pages
- Doesn’t require daily changes
- Is a helpful tool for current customers
- Works on a much smaller budget
How to Tell if You Have a Small Business Relationship Website
There are basically two ways to tell if you have a relationship website. Option #1 is to carefully compare your website the 16 things a small business website must have. If you have these, you at least have the beginnings of a Relationship Website.
The other, easier option, is to let one of our experts compare it for you, with our complimentary website review. We’ll assess your site, prepare recommendations and examples, and present it all to in you a video (so you can watch it on your schedule). It’s an immensely effective way to learn where, and exactly how, your website could be more effective for your small business. There’s no obligation, so request your free website review today!
How To Get a Relationship Website
Well, this is simple. Contact us! Our specialty is creating small business Relationship Websites.
If you’d like to see what your website could look like, request a free, no-obligation, no charge, custom website design mockup.
How To Get the Most From Your Relationship Website
With what you’re already doing in your business, there are several things you can do to get more from your small business Relationship Website.
- Run high-value limited time promotions
- Conduct interviews
- Get people who like you to write articles for your website
- Luncheons and events
We won’t belabor this point because we’ve written a separate article on these ideas and more which you can read in our blog “8 Ways To Maximize Your Relationship Website“.
Understanding A Relationship Website
In truth, a Relationship Website is stunningly simple. It works for a micro-business because it fits the reality of how they operate. Be clear, put the customer first, make their life easy, and keep connected to them. Turn warm referrals into informed leads, leads into jobs, jobs into happy customers, and then keep those happy customers coming back!