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Wyoming Business Tips for June 10-June 16


June 4, 2012 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Elizabeth Parks, Wyoming Market Research Center researcher

"How do I design my website so it communicates my business to my customers?" Todd, Cheyenne

When we think about communicating with customers on a website, we have to think about different learning styles.

Does your website take into consideration different types of customers? There usually are three kinds of learners -- visual people learn by seeing, auditory folks learn by hearing, and kinesthetic types learn by doing.

Websites should relate to all three types of learners because visitors will gravitate to the site that matches their learning style. Visual learners like to see things like color coding, charts, photos, maps or video clips. Auditory learners lean towards audio clips, oral instructions, sound bites or even live phone support. Kinesthetic folks are enticed by interactive maps or games.

If you have an e-commerce site, you can address these different kinds of learners by doing things, such as using detailed pictures or diagrams of products for the visual learner. Include a video for a product overview for auditory folks. For the hands-on types, have options -- such as choosing sizes or colors -- that allow them to interact with the product.

Your images also are an important part of communicating with customers. They should relate to the content on the page but, more importantly, they should reinforce a marketing message. As you think about adding images to Web pages, ask yourself what is in the image for the customer and what did it help the customer do? If the answer is not very much, then rethink having it on the website.

Personalize the site by using real images of your business. This means avoiding stock art for graphics and rethink using flash, which often is annoying and slows loading speeds.

As an alternative to images, add short videos that show your product in action. Explain to customers how it works and how it will benefit them. Oftentimes, videos can do a better job of connecting with customers than static images.

The goal of your site is to build relationships with people -- integrate learning styles and images into your website. Your website can either help or hurt your business, and can be an asset or a liability. Use it to communicate with your customers and grow your business.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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