Time and again when I review client websites I find the same problem. They bought a plug and play website program, dropped their products and corporate information into the template, and that is it. Little or no thought went into how are they going to present their brand, their brand story, or build a first class brand connection with their own customers.
TPG has always believed that your web or eCommerce site begins with knowing how your customer uses the internet, and then how they would use the internet to interact with your company, products and brand. Only then do you have the framework to properly build a website that delvers to the consumer an experience that add’s benefit to the customer relationship with the brand.
It is critical today that a website is not just put up for the sake of having an online presence. It is critical that any website be built with a purpose, be effective in delivering to your customers an effective tool that enhances their experience with your brand, and that it also delivers a concise brand story that is clear and supports what your company’s brand statement is all about.
Instead, they have become enamored with themselves. Their websites have become their way of showing off their technical expertise. Or using the web as an electronic replacement for their printed materials.
So if I know enough to go to their website for a technical spec, and I work hard enough to find it, then I’m in good shape.
Except that I might not every get sold on why I want their product in the first place.
Here’s the irony. Some web marketing guy in the company is bragging about how deep visitors are drilling into the site. Taking pride in how long visitors are staying on the site.
Hello! We’re lost. And we’re not enjoying how hard we’re working to get what little we’re given.
Every website needs an underlying philosophy
Every building materials manufacturer needs to think about how to bring their sales materials to life. The sales force does it every day. The web should be a tool and reinforce the key messages that the sales team is sharing with customers and prospects.
The best way to think about your website philosophy is with this structure in mind:
The website should be focused on delivering for the visitor:
It’s not enough to share the features of your product line. Buyers are looking for the benefits your product is providing. Too often more features will be viewed as added cost, eliminating the possibility of being added to a project. By the same token, using the lowest, priced, most basic products will rob you of an important way you could be differentiating yourself in the marketplace.
Becoming known as a resource will bring you more viewers. Regardless of whether they see themselves as potential purchasers or not, by being the resource for critical information those viewers will gain a new and deeper understanding of your company and product.
Here’s an example. If a home owner comes to your website to learn about when to reshingle their home and learns more about your brand as an authority in roofing, they may become sold on your brand.
If your website can help the home owner select the right product, they may upsell themselves as they become educated and immersed in your materials. Obviously this isn’t happening in a single website visit, and it’s only logical that they’d want your website to direct them to a skilled and qualified roofing contractor who can help them understand the total cost.
Now that web marketer can start bragging about a sticky web site and know that there’s a good reason behind it.
You’ve heard it before, content is king. It applies to your web site as well. Creating fresh, timely content through tips and insights is a reason to have homeowners as well as builders and installers wanting to come back to your site. The more practical and helpful your approach, the greater the engagement and interest your site will generate.
Go back to your own website and look at it with this new lens
Has it become an electronic version of your old sales binders? Is it reaching all the players in the channel…from consumers confused about what and how all the way to contractors and builders saying why?
Have you made it relevant and used it to educate? Inform? Engage?
And most importantly, are you using the web to convert consumers from prospects to buyers through effective communication— consistently driving your brand promise in a meaningful way?