If you are in a retail business, you probably know the importance of your window and window shopping in general. As customers walk past your establishment, what they see in the window can cause them to stop to take a look, and in the best case, actually come inside and buy something. Restaurants post their full menus in the windows, along with reviews from local media. Retail stores create displays in the windows to share what's inside and entice people to take a moment and look around.
It is not only retail businesses that have windows, though. Even service businesses, or those that only sell to other businesses have windows. For them, the window is not necessarily a physical thing that someone walks past. It could be a website, or a listing in the yellow pages, or your letterhead. In this context, the window describes a moment. It is that fleeting second when you either capture your potential customer's attention, or lose it. In another sense, the window is the hook—and the businesses that use their windows effectively are the ones that always have a steady stream of customers walking through their doors to learn more.
We all want to have a business like that, but how do we do it? If you have an actual window and real location you are trying to bring your customers to, it may be a bit easier, but here are a few suggestions that should work for you to better use your “window,” whether you have a physical location or not:
1. Help them imagine life with your product or services. Great windows paint a picture of how a customer would use your products or services. In practical application, this goes into the realm of demos and samples more than anything else. When you see a dress on a mannequin, you can imagine it on yourself. When they can visually see the end deliverable of your services, a customer is far more likely to consider how they can work with you.
2. Demonstrate credibility through validation from other groups. One of the best things about thinking in terms of the “window” to your business is that it can be the ideal place to put any third party validations that you have for your business. This might be a Better Business Bureau rating, or a review in the media, or a degree or professional association membership that demonstrates your credibility. These are the smaller visual cues and elements that people expect to see to reassure them that your business is worthy of trust and a good choice to do business with.
3. Make it urgent to browse or buy. The final powerful aspect of a window for your business is that it can help you to put your latest promotion or immediate call to action front and center. In a shop, this would be the equivalent of the “30 percent off everything” sign in the window. In a more virtual sense, this can be an ongoing promotion that you offer as a part of describing your business… like a free consultation or complimentary samples.
Every business has people “walking by” either in the real physical sense or browsing for information related to their business in a virtual way. The more you can think about the window that your business is using to capture their attention, the more effectively you can get them to stop and take a look.
Rohit Bhargava is the author of the best selling marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide to how to use personality as a secret weapon to promote your business.