Websites are the number-one resource prospects turn to when making a buying decision. So, while you may have many corporate objectives for your site, it is vital your site supports your marketing communications program and ultimately, sales. Corporate must-haves aside, if your website isn’t helping your prospective customer, eventually not much else will matter.
Company websites can be asked to do many things: act as your online business card, brochure and catalog, educate visitors about your product category and make it easy for prospects to contact you. Some house ongoing blogs, provide investor information, showcase videos and even double as portals for distributors, suppliers and customers. But does your website work in concert with your marketing communications and your sales process? Or is it trying to do too many things that end up frustrating potential customers?
First-time visitors to your site may arrive through search or by way of a link from an ad, editorial feature or product announcement. When visitors arrive, they want to find what they came for within a click or two. If they don’t, they’re never to return. When that happens, it’s usually because the website is not designed to help potential customers. In other words, the site doesn’t support your company’s marketing communications and sales.
Guidelines for making your site marketing- and sales-friendly
Put yourself in the mind of your customer or prospect. You want to find information fast–product information, application information, engineering guidelines or tools for applying products to a specific application. Companies that do a good job helping customers solve problems and providing them with good tools and information have greater success in the marketplace.
Here are guidelines for making your company website support your marketing communications and sales efforts.
- Think like your customer–Provide the kind of information he or she is likely to be looking for (described in words your customer would use) and make it accessible in a click or two.
- Make it easy–Navigation buttons should be intuitively labeled and large enough to be located quickly.
- Provide the right stuff–If your products require technical know-how to apply, have a technical resource library where you list current white papers, case studies, application guidelines, product specification sheets and how-to videos.
- Connect the dots–If your current marketing communications program is promoting a new product, white paper or video, make sure what you promised is actually on the site and easy to find. Capture leads with a fast, easy registration process like asking for name and email.
- Read all about it–Have a press room to list current and past news releases, articles and other company news. This is the place to list media contacts for editor inquiries and provide access to high-resolution product and application photos.
- Make contact–Finally, make it easy for a visitor to post an inquiry for sales follow-up. Answer inquiries promptly, within 24 hours or less.