Whatever business decisions you make, whatever path you choose to follow, it is always best to begin with the end in mind.
Let’s look at how this relates to your website. It is important to realize that every audience has different needs. For a website to have the most impact, it must cater to the needs of its audience. Your audience is made up of individuals who, for one reason or another, need to put ink on paper. To engage your customers or prospects it is your responsibility to provide items that are of interest, such as articles on marketing, what makes an effective mail piece, how does e-mail marketing work, etc. You need to make your website an indispensable marketing and business tool.
That’s easier said than done. Many printers share with me how much they struggle with how to use their website in a manner that will make an impact on their company. All too often, they underutilize what they have; making it more difficult than it has to be. To create an effective website, you simply have to remember two things: 1) start with the basics, and 2) have realistic expectations.
Take a look at the websites you use every day. Which sites, if they were gone tomorrow, would make your life more difficult than it is today? The reasons you use certain websites all the time will hold the keys to making your website the best it can be. Let’s put printing aside for a moment. Think about what you do as a consumer and take a look at websites you likely use on a day-to-day basis—the movies, online banking, or perhaps catching up on your favorite sports.
No Business Like Show Business
Let’s say you’re going to a movie tonight. How are you going to find out what’s playing, show times, etc? Most of us with quick access to a computer or mobile device will probably visit the movie theater’s website. When you use the theater’s website, the entire experience is centered on you. Not only can you search for a specific show, you can also uncover a wealth of other information (but only if you want to). You can find out about food choices, read film reviews, or even watch a trailer.
What’s even more brilliant about most movie theater sites is how they provide offers that you may not have known about otherwise. It could be a coupon for a local restaurant or a great deal on gift cards. This is marketing at its finest; providing value without being pesky or bold.
What you won’t find on your visit to a theater’s website is a page that talks about the equipment and technology the theater uses. You won’t find this page because it is not directly related to the reason you visited the site. It won’t help you find your movie time, decide which film to see, or how much spare change to bring for popcorn.
Take That to the Bank
If you need to check your bank balance, transfer funds, pay bills—what do you do? The majority of you would head to the computer. You can still go to the bank to make a deposit or cash a check, but we choose to bank online because of convenience and ease.
How has the banking industry, which handles an element that is vital to our existence (money), evoked so much trust that the majority of the public has become comfortable in managing their wealth and business online? The answer is simple—your online banking experience is focused solely on your needs. Why call the bank for your balance when you can login and see to the penny what your balance is? Why write a check for the mortgage when you can set up an automatic payment? It boils down to simple, efficient access to everything you need to accomplish your banking tasks as quickly as possible.
What you won’t find when you login to your account is a message from the bank president explaining how long the bank has been in business. Their entire focus is on you as a client and products or services you use. Again, a brilliant marketing tool.
Get in the Game