Getting your business online is an exciting process, but it can also be overwhelming as you aim to ensure your website is up and running quickly and decide how to best represent your brand.
Cat Cafe Melbourne is Australia’s first cat cafe, where customers can enjoy hourly sessions with 14 rescue cats. You can pet, play and socialise with the cats, and order beverages and snacks.
Co-owner and manager Anita Loughran says: “We use our website a little differently compared to most businesses as we require customers to book online in order to reserve a spot to visit the cats.”
Think about why people will visit your site
Cat Cafe advertises the website as the main point of contact and the majority of income comes from bookings made online.
“This makes our website absolutely crucial. Approximately 80% of our customers in-store have booked through the website which translates into a lot of traffic going through each day,” says Loughran.
“Without an online booking system we wouldn’t be able to control the number of people in each session, which we limit to 15 people per hour.”
The system spreads customers out over sessions, and also informs customers of what their unique business offers. As a result Loughran says the website needs to be as easy and clear to use as possible, or you will end up creating unnecessary work for yourself.
A poor website setup means you risk customers becoming frustrated and contacting you by sending emails or calling you rather than completing the booking process online, she says.
Think beyond your website to social
“While the website is very important, we find that a close second for traffic is Facebook,” says Loughran.
Social media has been an immense help for marketing the business, with Facebook being the most easy and useful tool for promoting the business.
“I post on Facebook almost daily, and swap between photos, videos, links to other sites, and informative posts to keep followers interested. The site has also added new ‘buttons’ that allow you to place direct links to your website on the front banner picture on Facebook,” she says.
That way you can track the activity of each post, and compare and learn what your followers find most interesting and when you receive the highest activity, she says. You also want to focus on making your website engaging, by making it look professional as well as offering clear navigation.
“Customers will skip to a different page or website if they can’t find what they are looking for in seconds. If there is something important you need customers to be aware of each time they visit the website then make it clear on the home page. For our website we have a large button saying ‘book to see the cats’ right on the home page banner as well as listing it in the content tabs.”