I experienced the whirlwind era of change with technology and its impact on business in the late 1980’s when I purchased a desktop publishing system for my marketing agency. I embraced technology as my friend while others in the industry kept the business as usual. At least until they closed their doors.
Then approximately ten years later there was the emergence of the World Wide Web and a wider use of email as business communication tools. I commonly referred to these web sites as the era of electronic brochures.
If you are thinking about upgrading your web site or building a new one, here are a few clues to help you find the right combination for success.
From a marketing point of view
Here’s the first question to ask yourself – what should my web site do?
Most firms look at marketing as an expense. To keep costs down, sometimes not the best effort is put into marketing communication tools for their web site. In a slow or very competitive economy, that is not a wise thing to do.
I believe that marketing should be viewed as an asset. Marketing is not an asset in the sense of a piece of equipment or a building, but as a business building tool that engages your marketplace. In this light, your web site is your most important communications vehicle. Period.
In the early days, web sites were built like a corporate brochure and stayed that way for many years. They contained all the features and benefits known to man because there was no big printing cost to pay. However, similar to a brochure, they could become stale and outdated before their term expired.
What is a web site?
Think of a Website as your own broadcast tool, 24/7, virtually selling your company. It’s also a good data collection tool to provide better information about your potential marketplace and what benefits and services they are looking for. And like a good asset, it brings in revenue and increases its value from year to year.
It’s a virtual sales person
What does everyone who has or is building a web site hope the site will do for them? If you answered “to drive us new customers or make a boat load of money,” you are correct. If that is your answer, then your web site must behave like a virtual salesperson. A virtual salesperson tells anyone who visits, especially a potential customer, about your company, at any point in time.
Take a look at the amount of content on your site. Now, look at a sales presentation you give to a prospect during an initial meeting. Do you see anything different?
Your sales presentation is generalized so the sales person can find out what is of particular interest to that prospect about the products or services your company has to offer.
To no one’s surprise, a good salesperson has done his or her research on the company prior to the presentations. During the sales presentation, the salesperson is looking for confirmation of his or her research and other potential problems that the company has that can match a solution to the prospect.
Many sale people have vertical market presentations to help them get right to the point by providing the most relevant information about your company for that prospect.
Coffee is for closers
By now you may have guessed that every vertical market you serve must have a story attached to it. A story telling web site does its job on a Saturday afternoon as well as on a Tuesday morning. It gives just enough information to help the reader ask for more. It could be a white paper, an article, or a company blog that confirms to the reader that a potential solution is available and worth pursuing. Whatever additional information the reader selected can also solidify the needs and wants of that vertical market.
As Rod Stewart once sang, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” your web site should be doing the same thing for you and your company.
Enjoy your day