Digital Marketing, Is Your Website Helping You Click with Customers?

While online sales have been saving shoppers from the high street squash for a few years now, this year marks the first sales period where online purchases have outstripped physical sales.  Just one more proof, if any were needed, that researching what we buy and completing transactions online is now routine. This consumer picture is mirrored in the commercial world where a company’s website is its shop window where potential customers expect to be able to find out all about you.  Like it or not, the need for a website that is easy to find, simple to navigate and able to capture a potential customer’s interest within seconds is no longer just a marketing tick box…’s a business critical tool.

And yet, so many companies begrudge paying for the design, development and content of their website, opting instead for a do-it-yourself approach to much of design and content and a no-frills development package. But with websites, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and if you’re not investing in an impressive website you will end up with something that will not stand out against the millions of other companies online.

The fact is that the internet has helped to make the global marketplace a reality so, in many ways, your internet shop front that anyone can view, is more important than the corporate HQ that most customers will never see.  So why is it that so many companies will write the copy and take the photography for their website themselves when they’d never dream of painting their own reception area or asking a friend of a friend to build the boardroom table for ‘mates rates’?

Even those businesses that do not transact online need to realise that for most potential customers their website will be the first point of contact so it needs to make a good and lasting impression.  That doesn’t mean gimmicks or whizz bang functions, it simply means creating something that is relevant, accessible and memorable for the target audience.

Here are our top tips for making your website great:

  1. Do your research – it’s good to have examples of what you like and what you don’t like when you’re briefing web designers and developers
  2. Know what back end functionality you need and make sure it’s deliverable before anyone gets carried away with ideas
  3. Align the look and tone of your website with your other marketing materials and your brand, remember, this is your shop window so it needs to be recognisable for what you do and who you are
  4. Make sure it’s easy to find and simple to navigate, no-one will persevere to look for information that’s hard to find, no matter how relevant or interesting it might be
  5. Be succinct and clear: visitors will not read reams of flowery copy on screen and it’s not enough to use the same copy as you have in your brochures

Of course, there’s a lot more than this involved in creating a great website, which is why you need to work closely with your provider to combine your company and sector knowledge with their online expertise.