It’s no secret that your website serves an incredibly important purpose for your business. It’s where potential clients come to find out who you are, what you do and what you’re all about, and it’s where new and returning customers can check your schedule and book classes or appointments.
But your website is also so much more than that.
It’s an opportunity to take your customer on a journey— one where they ultimately become the type of loyal client who recommends your studio to all their friends.
I know it sounds a bit like marketing magic, but think about it! If you go to into a shop and it’s absolute chaos and you can’t locate anything you need or flag down the help of a sales assistant, are you likely to keep coming back or recommend it to a friend? Not likely!
Your website works in a similar way. You can’t just lead your customers to your website, and then leave them to fend for themselves. You need to figure out what journey you want them to go on in order achieve the most desirable outcome, then make their next step ridiculously clear.
But how do you do that, exactly? By taking these three steps!
1. Understand your customer
For the average fitness or wellness studio, there are only two different types of website visitors. First, there’s your existing customers who need a quick way to access their account, check how many passes they have left and sign up for their next class. They’re going to skip right over most of the content on your website enroute to the page where they can get things done.
Then, you have your new potential clients, who could still be in the researching phase of their buying decision. This group is who most pages on your website are primarily for. They need service descriptions, answers to questions and welcoming first step towards attending their first class.
You want to make it as easy as possible for both groups to get exactly what they need — and fast.
2. Be a good (web) hostess
Now that you know who your website is for, it’s important to use that information as a filter to determine what should even be on your website. Remember, just like your business, your website is not for you— or about you! It’s about the transformation you can provide your clients. So look at your home page through the eyes of you client. What are the scanning for? What jumps out and grabs your attention? Is that inline with what you know to be true about the actions they need to take?
The most obvious place to start when it comes to creating a website that ‘flows’ is your main navigation — the menu bar that normally sits at the top of the page. The menu items in this section need to be relevant for both your customer groups. Plus, you don’t want to overcrowd it and give your customers decision fatigue! A good rule of thumb is to stick with 7 or less choices in your main navigation and minimize complex drop-down menus when possible.
For your existing clients, you’ll want to make your Schedule and Pricing links are prominent and clearly labeled. Resist the urge here to hide them in a drop-down menu or give them cute, branded names. Clarity wins out over cleverness everytime!
On the other hand, your soon-to-be clients will likely need more information before they’re ready to jump in. This is where your About and Classes pages come in. You may also want to consider having a page titled Start Here or New Clients to have an area to speak directly to newbie concerns. (Tip: testimonials from actual new clients and an FAQ section are great content for this page!)
3. Link it all up
Now that you’ve got intentional pages in your main navigation giving your website visitors the first step in what they’re looking for, it’s time to finish the tour and guide them to their final (at least for today) destination. This is done by including a single button with action text (called a “call to action”) at the bottom of each page.
For studios, all roads ultimately lead to a page where they can either book or buy: typically those all-important Schedule and Pricing pages we mentioned above!
You may also want to create a page just for your intro offer, so that anytime your call-to-action is for your specific intro offer you’re able to link directly to a page where they can easily claim that offer, not be directed to your general pricing page with a slew of options they have to sift through.
However you design your book and buy pages, allowing your website visitors to checkout without leaving your website builds trust and makes for an even more seamless customer journey. To do this, check with your studio scheduling software to determine if they offer embeddable widgets.
New to using widgets? A widget is a powerful piece of code you can cut and paste that will bring key functionality from your scheduling system onto your website allowing your clients to purchase and book without ever leaving your site. MINDBODY’s system of widgets (called Branded Web) are available with all subscription levels. You can watch a tutorial on how Branded Web widgets work on Squarespace websites here.
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