Tag Archives: website design

A company I’d rather have as a supplier

This post authored by Chris Rand buy generic viagra online

%29″>originally appeared on the BMON (Business Marketing Online) blog.

Small companies win over larger ones when they celebrate their differences, but when it comes to website design, they get carried away with the rare opportunity to look larger than they are, and that’s a big mistake.

Over the years, as a trade magazine editor, I had the opportunity to go into many large industrial companies and talk to the marketing and engineering people there. It was almost inevitably a disappointment. It’s not that they weren’t nice people, it’s just that they were permanently looking over their shoulders and spoke constantly in a stilted “company mode”, a split personality you’d never come across if you met them down the pub at the weekend. At smaller companies, it was so much easier to get to know people, what made them tick, and what made their companies interesting. This attitude almost certainly gets through to customers, and of course it’s always been one of the reasons why smaller companies can – and do – compete so well with larger organisations.

In terms of marketing, it’s traditionally been harder for smaller companies. When you’ve got an apologetic benchtop display at a trade exhibition, next to a competitor’s massive custom-built stand manned by 30 people in suits with a hospitality area upstairs, it’s difficult to get noticed. So the right attitude has been to accept the difference and make it an advantage.

However, every company’s marketing home ground is now its website, and that’s much more of a level playing field. The smallest company can make a website which (at least superficially) looks like its largest competitor, if it wants to. Many small companies have jumped at the opportunity, without thinking why. Unfortunately, the sites they’re copying, from large industrial companies, are often a real mess, made by bureaucratic organisations trying to please every internal department. Small companies seem to have been so enthralled by the opportunity to look like the big ones, that they’re copying something which doesn’t work in the first place. Instead of emphasising their differences, they’ve done the opposite.

The most successful small company websites celebrate their owners’ specialisations. They guide visitors to their destination in one or two steps, and use the simplicity to slip in marketing messages in a way which larger sites can only dream of. Their home pages say “this is what we do, this is why we’re great, and here are the two or three things you might want to look at next”. They have a blog, where real people talk about real issues in a way which clearly hasn’t gone through a three-week authorisation process. And as a customer, I think: “this might not be the big name in the business, but it’s one I’d rather have as a supplier”.

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Does Content Really Wear the Crown Jewels?

“Content is King”. Golf Video – Most Powerful Move In Golf

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If you’re in marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard this motto banded around over the last few years.

SEO gurus tell us to provide plenty of it to coax web crawlers into indexing our websites. And a quick Google search unveils a plethora of bloggers blogging about this very topic.

The reality is, you’ve probably waded in at least knee deep when it comes to this stuff already. Maybe you’ve started scooping out and serving up white papers, webinars, e-books, How To guides, and other educational freebies in the hopes that you’ll convince potential customers to convert into paying ones.

Don’t panic

The good news is that you’re okay, you’re on the right track. Creating Content IS massively important for your marketing strategy. As per Search Engine Watch article “The Golden Rule of SEO: Content is King”, great content is necessary not only to improve search engine rankings and traffic, but also to engage visitors and encourage them to share what they’ve learned with others off-site.

Customer 2.0 (the focus of this year’s Marketing & Sales Summit) expects you to provide them with the right kind of information at the right time. They expect you to know what they want, when they want it.

Content is a weapon on the web. Use it to help you win market share. Just make sure you have something that is truly noteworthy, and that it communicates that effectively. – Eric Enge

The question remains, is Content REALLY the rightful heir to the marketing crown?

Is Content King?

In “The Content is King Myth Debunked’, Derek Halpern says “Content is King” is – and I quote – “horrible advice”.

Why?

In his words:

Online, you only have a second to grab someone’s attention.

And during that second, people make snap judgments about you, your business, and your website.

Before. They. Read. Your. Content.

He goes on to back this up with survey results in which 94% of respondents distrusted a website because of design problems.

Turns out there’s a new royal in town. And his name is Website Design.

The 10 Red Flags of Website Design

Halpern gives the 10 red flags of web design as:

1. Confusing site names
2. Cluttered, busy layouts
3. Navigation problems
4. Boring web design
5. Pop-up ads
6. Slow loads times
7. Small fonts
8. Too much text
9. Corporate look and feel
10. Poor search functions

You can read the full article here.

Wait! Before You Go

Customer 2.0 is more mobile, better informed, less reachable, and expects more than ever before. We would love you to join us at the 6th Annual ISA Marketing and Sales Summit to discuss how the digital revolution is affecting automation companies like yours.

You can find out more here.

Final note

Join me today, June 3 2011, at 4PM EST for the first #industmarketing tweetchat.

If you haven’t taken part in a tweetchat before, you can both follow and join in the conversation by searching for the hashtag #industmarketing on Twitter.

You can also follow from http://twebevent.com/industmarketing.

 

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Designing Site Architecture for a Fast-Paced Society

This topic will be presented at the ISA Marketing and Sales Summit by Jennifer Soto , Marketing Communications Manager of Spectra Sensors.

It becomes increasingly important for a company to quickly relay inform

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ation in fast paced society. It is no longer good enough to have a nice looking website or be found on Google. You need to retain customers on your site for more than 30 seconds but how do you do that?

There are three basic rules to designing site architecture to keep people on your site:

  1. Building a site that solves your customers problems
  2. Building a navigation structure which is simple and consistent
  3. Content, Content, Content!

Building a site that solves your customer’s problems

As a rule of thumb for all marketers, your customers do not wake up saying, “I want to spend money on a gas analyzer today” or a flow meter or whatever you are selling. If they are looking on your website, it is due to a need they have to fill not a want.

Building a navigation structure which is simple and consistent

Your navigation must answer a few questions: Where am I? Where do I go next? Where is home? Common mistakes are changing your navigation structure on different pages or on different sections of your site, having poorly named links so your customer does not know where to go next and no consistent link back to your home page.

You should always build a navigation based on what makes sense to your customer not what makes sense to you. Navigation should read like a book, there should be an introduction to your product or service, description on how it solves your customer’s problems and a way for your customer to contact you.

Do not use icons in your navigation, do not try to be “clever” and try to put a link back to your home page in a location which is not standard. Make it easy, remember you want them to find everything quickly because the moment they don’t, they will leave to a competitor who will serve their needs.

Content, content, content!

Who is your target audience, what is there problem, how are you going to fix it? What information will you give them that will cause them to visit your site a second, third, fourth time?

Make sure you are presenting technically correct information and ensure that the information is the most up-to-date information you can give your customers. You don’t want them to reach the final step of contacting you and you have to tell them you no longer carry that product. You will automatically discredit yourself and the rest of the information on your site.

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No, I don’t want to talk to your sales team

Chris Rand

Chris Rand, Business Marketing Online

This is a guest post written by Chris Rand. Chris leads a UK-based online marketing agency and consultancy, tailored to manufacturers and distributors in the industrial, scientific and wider business sectors.

I’m constantly amazed at the number of websites which think that all they need to offer visitors in order to turn them into real prospects is a “contact the sales team” page. There are two huge flaws in this approach.

(Actually, let’s not call it an “approach”, because that makes it sounds like it was intentional. Most websites which just have a single “contact the sales team” page as the only next step for visitors have this because whoever designed the website didn’t really think about this most critical aspect of the site. So rather than an “approach”, we should probably call it a “lazy cop-out”).

Anyway, there are two huge flaws in this lazy cop-out.

The first is procedural, in that you’re making people go to another page to contact you, and when they get there they find it’s a generic page and they’ve got to tell you what they’re interested in. That, coupled with the fact that most “contact the sales team” forms are unnecessarily complicated, means that a fair proportion of potential prospects will just bail out in horror. There are plenty of other suppliers around, and they certainly weren’t sure you did what they wanted, that was why they were “making an enquiry” rather than ringing you up to buy something straight away. If you can’t put a form on every page, at least transfer the details of the page (and the product it described) to the form.

The second flaw is that plenty of visitors – in fact, the majority, I’m sure – don’t want to “contact the sales team” (and however you dress up the form, that’s what they’ll assume it is). Many visitors are much further back up the “sales funnel”. They might want your stuff in the future; they might just want some literature to see if you’ve got what they need; they might just want to read some testimonials to reassure them before they “contact the sales team”. Don’t let these people go away empty-handed. Give them information which demonstrates you understand their situation. Show them your satisfied customer testimonials. Offer them a free subscription to your newsletter or blog.

Maybe you’ll ask for their contact details in exchange for these. Maybe you won’t. But don’t assume they will all be keen to “contact the sales team” right now. Because they won’t.

You may have come across Chris over the past twenty years if you’re in the UK engineering sector: Chris launched the Engineeringtalk website and weekly newsletter back in 2000, building it to a circulation of over 50,000 and making it the UK’s top online publication for the manufacturing industry, before handing over ownership of the entire Pro-Talk network to Centaur Media in 2006. Before that, Chris was the editor of Industrial Technology magazine, taking it from its 1988 launch to market leadership within five years.

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