Your Web Site is Your Brand: 5 Keys To Maximize Your Web Presence
Web sites can be a key marketing tool for almost every type of business. From flash pages and music to video and pop up cursor messages, Web site design and structure options are limitless. But have too many marketers lost site of the fundamental marketing mission sites serve? Have bells and whistles replaced message and branding?
The answer is too often — yes.
Sites should serve as a way of introducing, supporting and building loyalty for your business. A site can no longer be just a corporate brochure or shopping flyer; it must be a tool to brand you.
To achieve maximum marketing value from their Web sites:
First (page) impressions matter most. Branding begins before the first page of your site loads. Does a visitor have to wait too long for your flash animations to load? Are the clips useful for telling your story, or just gratuitous pieces of art that say: “See how cool I am?” Is the first page designed to load efficiently for all connection speeds?
Ease of use equates to a pleasant visiting experience — and marketing effectiveness. We’ve all visited sites which seemed impossible to navigate and which bred instant confusion. Does your Webs site use all the trendiest fashion, styles and tools at the expense of legibility and clarity? Or is it pleasant to look at, easy to understand and easy to navigate?
Give people a reason to return. Web site “stickiness” is important, but giving people a reason to want to return is even more essential. See if you can create relevant, interesting and involving self-assessments, puzzles, surveys or tests that will make their experience educational and interactive — and that relate to your products and/or services.
Provide essential information. This sounds simple enough, but take some time to visit various sites and you’ll find accessing basic information isn’t always easy. Regardless of the type of business, every site should include: a clear explanation of your product or service, highlights that make it unique, success stories/case studies, endorsements and contact/order information.
When designing a Web site, pretend you’re giving site visitors a tour of your office or plant to impress them. What do you think they’d want to see or know? In what order does it best make sense to present this information? How can you keep them interested and make it fun?
The power of the Web as a psychologically powerful influencer often is overlooked by businesses. A company site should be consistent with all marketing materials, and focus on introducing, supporting and building loyalty for your brand.
Allan Gorman is author of “Briefs for Building Better Brands” (AGCD Brandspa Books, 2004). He’s also founder of Brandspa, a company that specializes in crafting effective marketing and branding strategies for small to medium sized companies. He’s the recipient of over 400 industry awards including a Gold Lion from the Cannes Film Festival. For more: www.brandspa.net