How to Balance Selling vs. Branding Online
As a cross-channel merchant, you know that your website, and more importantly, your homepage are your company’s main calling cards. These have to be perfect in order to put your brand in its most positive light.
There's an age-old battle that happens in most companies, and sometimes within marketing departments themselves: Which comes first, branding or selling, selling or branding?
I've spent enough time working for great salesmen and brand marketers to learn one thing: At the end of the day, the goal for any brand is to make sales. I’ve also learned that the really smart companies know how to brand and sell at the same time.
So back to your website, your brand’s calling card. Let’s say you're building a sales site and not worrying about branding. You develop your site to do one thing and one thing only — get visitors to buy (or at the very least continue to communicate with you in some form).
Also for this discussion, let’s assume consumers don’t buy from your e-commerce site right away. What do you do to stimulate future sales? How do you get visitors to engage with your brand until you can convince them to buy?
To me it comes down to the following two points:
- Have your company's phone number prominently displayed on every page of your website. No matter what you do to create a user experience conducive to online buying, there's always going to be a certain segment of consumers who will want to deal with a real person. By not having some way of handling inbound calls, you're missing out on business. Having consumers on the phone with you provides another engagement opportunity. Ask questions, learn more about your customers in a way that simply can't be done without personal contact. And be sure to capture all contact info.
- Live chat is an excellent tool for communicating with visitors to your site. Use this tool to answer consumers’ questions, capture information and provide a friendly forum for customer service help. While not for everyone, most live chat representatives can reach out to site visitors if they see they're lingering too long on a page to help them through their purchase decision.
These are just two ways to ensure you're able to communicate with everyone who visits your website. I’ll have more suggestions on how to build a sales/branding website that doesn’t leave prospects — and revenue — on the table in the coming days.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.