How long since you have considered the importance of your business website? How long since you asked yourself, “does this reflect who I, the brand, am”? Does your website reflect the products or services that you market in a relevant, motivating and captivating manner? Is it true to the market in which you operate? Is it easy for your customers to engage and get involved with your brand, or is it just ‘all about me’, with no thought for their needs or wishes? As I undertake my own redesign, and work with other businesses on theirs , I find that these are the central questions that we have to continually challenge ourselves with. It is very common to visit a website which is full of information about the owner, and their people and what they do or did in the past. These are all interesting – to a point.
Today a website has to be the constellation around which every other communication gravitates.
It is the hub for your business, and each time you have contact with a customer, you want to bring them home to your website. It is therefore imperative that your website must captivate, communicate, capture and allow for curating and co-creating by your visitors. The 5 C’s. The AIDA principles of Marketing apply here, like everywhere – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, although I adjust and expand them for the social space to my 5C’s. Captivation is about getting attention. There are 3 main ways that people find your website:
- Direction from your other communications
The key is to be surprisingly interesting and appropriately styled upon their arrival to your site. Have a beautiful brand style and design. Think about how your site looks. It doesn’t have to be fun, funky or flamboyant… just clean, relevant, and unique in some way that immediately captures their attention and interest and makes a statement about your brand or business. Remember that ‘first impressions really do count!’
Communication is about ensuring you think about your website as a journey, and from the customers’ point-of-view’.
What is the best way to traverse the story you want to tell? If you are trying to hook and capture early, then ensure your web journey enables that. The key to communicating is to keep the visitor stimulated and wanting to know and do more with your business. Your website needn’t be long, but it does have to be clear and explanatory in order to ensure you ultimately get the action you desire. Here’s a task: Review your site – think like a customer and challenge yourself as to whether you make it simple and easy and motivating for a customer to get involved with you… what did you find?
Capture today is like cash – it’s King!
I don’t know many businesses that don’t want to know who their current or potential customers are. Today, social media enables us all to capture more data on our customers, and to interact with them to make the relationship more fulfilling and direct than ever before. Not to mention, immediate! To drive capture , you can just ask for their email address. Or, you can make an offer, or pose a question, or direct a communication that causes them to want to give you details, and to hear more from you in the future. This makes for a more two-sided relationship, and builds a better CRM experience for both sides. Write a blog, incorporate it in your site. Develop a newsletter, or a newspaper, using PaperLi. Embed everything you do into your website. Remember it’s a media channel, so think ‘broadcast’. Another Task: Consider whether you have the best customer capture device on your site. What else might you offer? Who do you believe does it well?
Curating content is about bringing content onto your site, from other places.
This is an effective, inexpensive way to build your own content, and consequently drive your SEO through constant updates to your website. So think about items, issues, people and experiences that might fit nicely as an adjunct to your brand. It’s not about selling other people’s stuff, unless you would like to; it’s about giving your visitors meaty, and related additional substance from your business site. This is perfect for people who don’t like to write themselves, or find it hard to make time to do so.
Co-creation happens when your captured audience really want to interact with you.
The best way to do this is to pose questions, or raise challenges or question current relevant events, and drive your users to engage. Do remember, though, that they’re on your site. It needs to be appropriate and have some thread of consistency with your business and its messages and ethos. Use advocates who you can trust to write blogs or new pieces for you. The better the interaction fits with your audience and their style and behaviour, the higher the co-creation you will drive. So, whether your customers come to you directly or indirectly, through a Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any of the 300,000 social media channels as part of how you do business, make sure that you are forever gravitating your customers back to your business hub, your website where they gain the greatest experience you can offer.