Where do you go to catch up on the latest sports news and scores? More and more of you are going online. According to many of my male counterparts, ESPN.com is their destination for information. Whether this is your site of choice or not, you can learn the same valuable lessons from your favorite sports site.
ESPN has scores, headlines, and breaking news. You can watch highlights over and over again. The site is completely interactive. What’s key here is that the newscasters will say while broadcasting, “For more details on this story visit ESPN.com.” Talk about a great job of knowing your audience and providing tools that keep you coming back.
When you visit ESPN.com, you won’t be greeted by the company’s history and you won’t get a lesson on how they hire their sportscasters. That’s not what you’re after and ESPN knows that.
Apply These Lessons to Your Site
The only commonality to these examples is that each industry does an outstanding job of catering to the needs of its audience. So how do you use your website to cater to your customers? Be sure you are following Stephen Covey’s advice when it comes to the way your site functions: “Begin with the end in mind.” Ask yourself, “Why is my audience visiting my website?” Is it to place an order, send a file, or to learn more about your company?
Personalize the content as much as you can. Make it all about the customer, not about your business. Explain what benefits you can provide, why doing business with you will save them time, money, or headaches. Provide proof of these savings and benefits around every corner. The word “you” should fill every page, and “we, us, our” should be few and far between. Are you a variable printer? Use language like “personalizing your direct mail piece will increase your response rate by 40%” instead of “we provide variable printing services.” See the difference?
Make sure you and your customers are using the technology (tools) you have. Most people tend to use only about 30% of what is available to them. How many bells and whistles are on your cell phone that you don’t take advantage of? Determine the balance between what you have and what your customers could really use.
Simply monitor your website’s statistics for a few months, determine your most visited pages, and then make sure those pages are incredibly easy to access with as few clicks and red tape as possible.
Please don’t focus on reinventing the wheel. Instead, stay laser focused on your customers’ needs, remember what you love about the sites you visit most, and then take a look at your own website to see what you have done to keep your clients coming back. If you honestly feel your site doesn’t do anything to keep people engaged, then take steps to correct it. Remember, any step from good towards great is better than no step at all.
Tawnya Starr is a former successful print shop owner who is now president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence. She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. In 2005, she received the Industry Award of Distinction from NAQP for her service as a consultant and educator to the industry. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com. This article is available as a podcast at www.quickprinting.com/podcast and from iTunes.