When Brands fail at their touch-point Website…
When Brands fail at their touch-point Website, the effect is grave. Customers return from time to time to a retail shop, to browse around. But they will not come back to a website that failed to deliver an easy, affordable, qualitative, smart, informative experience. Have you really considered that your website will be your only “controllable” service touch-point in the future?
It boomed in 2009
The introduction of iPhone accelerated the internet usage, search, and new habits in connecting industries. The first websites were acting as ‘pioneers’ (“WOW, you have a site!“) in a business world who hadn’t realized that e- and digital would be the only way to reach the global marketplaces and find new services. It was late 2006 in one of my advertising roles, that we’ve run a web promotion to aggregate consumer responses for a brand prize, and the Customer was looking amazed at the response rates but insisted not to repeat the web acitivty in next years’ budget.
It continued developing with Blogger and WordPress
No need to go into the historical facts, but these two web platforms ignited a new breed, Bloggers, that were meant to play a role in leading markets, audiences, news, and interactions further ahead. We’ve started commenting everywhere. We’ve started having a loud voice on issues and happenings.
That said, let’s not forget the consequent global media scene disruption. People flocking away from TV and print media to websites, e-news services, and then to video and now in audio and bot-service systems. Brands were never before so disrupted, losing the ‘power-game’ of paid media that they’ve handled so well…
Then, along with the Marketing industry transformation
It’s only 7 years now, that digital has become a full-line and wide-width profession. It changed the advertiser-agency-media equation (paid) and it opened a wider space for solo entrepreneurs, corporate e-shops, brands’ communities and so on. The pioneers, the ex-creatives, the young talent, the web developers, the consultants, the e-learning platforms all form together an ecosystem that helps markets activate on the web economy. Companies have started adapting the model, even in-house, in B2B and B2C (that no longer have significant channel differences). Marketing & Communication started investing more time to own media. The profession has altered its focus and today we’re discussing for analytics, e-polls, segmentation to global markets.
You only have your site for presence, Trust, and Growth
If you’re not online, you don’t exist as a choice of preference, not even as a mere consideration. What you do online is another story, but be there. As you read these lines, you’ve made your first step. You need more. You need to think of the audience, the issues, the competitive offers, your uniqueness. Why must someone click to visit your web space? What’s in it for the consumers? What single-minded thing you do?
It took me 6 months to figure out
I was blogging as of 2007 but with low results, being overwhelmed by my daily job routine. I’ve been present in social media understanding the channels and behaviors. I’ve done immense research on web behaviors and built web platforms, global events, communication themes online on Youtube, Twitter etc. I’ve worked for global markets and engaged customers and industry groups off-and-online. But one day, some VP said: “now we’re marketing for sales leads’ on the .com, webinars, and more traffic!”
It was the time to get to know, what do I really need to survive in the online business game. Starting point: my neglected blog. Next step: before going to spend my money on the web ‘gurus’ (that know few of strategic marketing mindset and implementation), I needed to study. Webinars, Youtube videos, articles all filled my nights and mornings to realize what I should plan for.
Offer an Experience?
Fast load time, nice-looking aesthetics, color-coding strategically decided, pages’ structure that don’t confuse, easy menu to navigate, full-line of resources, adding free valuable content to the arms of your visitor, offers, e-courses, services, online access and booking and so many other things you should consider before building your website. An e-shop template is easy to get and offered ready-made for the pharmacist, the retailer, the food corner (every template is there waiting for you). But again, what’s going to be unique with you online?
Think. Make it personalized. For them. To discover their preferred choice, fast and nice. Soon, with the software aids you’ll be measuring preference online, from which geography, segment, type of customer to form your online, real-time offers and prices.
It now takes only 7″ to loose a Customer from your website touch-point, and a hate-tweet to ruin your reputation, after a bad service experience. Is as simple as that!
Be selective about your product offering
We can’t all become Amazon! You shouldn’t transfer online your physical store. It’s boring, it creates logistics and costs and it doesn’t guarantee more customer engagement, only because you market volumes. Make it unique. Select your product offering with a story that drives imagination and care. Invest in this approach. Selective. Brilliant. Different. Invest all your marketing, service, delivery, guarantees on fewer, distinct offers.
Think twice your web design
I’m not a website developer, but I know what stands out and what’s not. What’s complicated and what’s not. You can easily find a lot of materials and knowledge of what is considered as “website fail” in intended or actual consumer’s mind. My concern is that of a Marketer and your aid, to help you think wise why do we invest time in online development and presence.
All end up to Mobile
Working for years at Ericsson and for its global Mobility report, I can share that the “on-the-go”, time-poor consumer checks through the mobile device online alternatives, offers, information 4,5 hours per day. Since the access networks might not be the right ones (speed, latency etc), the consumer faces load time, errors, and many times missing the signal. Here comes your website. Responsive, mobile-friendly, easy to navigate.
After the first click
How it looks, how quick is the loading time (speed is king), how clear and smartly developed (refrain from using extremely heavy content, optimize images based on size and format – the number of elements you have on your website result in an equal number of HTTP requests, thus affecting download speed…less plugins too). Ask for a partner-developer who has enough credentials to help in all these. You should focus on the delivery result only (with penalties if needed – yes, it’s a critical investment).
Be (Marketing-) wise for online presence
A website for your business is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity! Of course, having a website or a blog is one thing. But a lot of time visitors think that websites suck, and that’s the fault of Owners and Marketers. Don’t make it a digital brochure, it’s boring. Don’t get crazy to inject flash or immersive technology like VR, because consumers might be in a “bad” network access or a bit late vs. these technologies.
- Mobile friendly. As the mobile revolution continues, internet consumption is moving away from desktops and into the portable devices territory.
- Avoid technical / product ‘jargon’. You’re an expert in your field and you want to demonstrate knowledge and authority. But your average customer isn’t going to understand the technical language or industry jargon that you use throughout your website
- Invest time in the content. Well-placed, well-written, engaging, as different as possible. After all, the visitors evaluate what you stand for, compared to many other alternatives, through their content evaluation.
- Start blogging. Have an opinion, be visible, stand for something. Give information. Increase your appreciation, by sharing information that improves or changes user and consumer’s lives.
It’s a long journey, but it only asks that you get to read a lot and prepare well in advance. You can start, by considering the very header image of this blog post. It will structure better your discussions with your developer/support.
When I’ve changed recently my blog (first started in 2007), I went through a tough run:
- two months of every night studying and reading-through online materials to realize what is needed
- enrolled in the Blog Success e-Course of Aspaonline (it’s in Greek, but its the best online course from A to Z)
- asked many people (23 personal chats) whom I considered as best cases on how they did it, how much, what to watch out for and more…
Don’t fail in your only brand touch-point with consumers in the digital era!