Friday, July 30, 2010

Tangled Web: Designing Your Website With Purpose...

Did you ever go to a website and find it impossible to find what you're looking for?

It happened to me last week. To make matters worse, I had to jump from one company website to another to find what I was looking for.

One of the biggest problems I encounter with new client websites (and marketing campaigns) is that they lack a clearly defined objective. If you don't know where you're going, it's hard to get there.

In a Direct Marketing Association survey, when asked the goal for their website 71% of marketers said brand and image building. Only 45% said to deliver product information and 43% said to collect customer and prospect information. I think that shows a lot of websites are missing the boat. Branding is great. But a web site's primary goal should be to disseminate and collect information.

It's the ability to measure effectiveness that makes the web so powerful. Being able to count how many people visit a page on your website can tell you what customers think is important. That's why studying usability is important. You want to be sure an outsider can navigate your website easily.

Having a visitor give you an email address or other information gives you a chance to keep in touch with them, and shows your site has built a certain level of trust. Selling requires several touches (six touches according to some). So if you want to make the most of an opportunity, you want to do all you can to keep in touch with customers and prospects.

Building a website that looks great is good. Building a website that works great is better. And having clear objectives allows you to measure if you're achieving your goals.

Takeaway: What's the purpose for your next sales or marketing action? Is it to inform? Educate? Gather information? Will it bring you one step closer to a sale, or is it just about image?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mileage: Maximixing Your Profits...

Beth celebrated a milestone birthday on Wednesday.

As a surprise, I took her and PJ to Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless' [] restaurant here in Chicago.

It was an exciting treat for Beth, a big Bayless fan, to actually see Rick, get an autographed copy of his new book and to meet his daughter Lanie (a frequent guest on his PBS cooking-travelogue.)

It was also an exciting treat for me to see how this Entrepreneur has made the most of his brand. Bayless doesn't own one restaurant, he has three, all in a row, ranging from white tablecloth to high-end fast food, one containing a full service bar. (We had lunch at one, strolled around town, took a boat tour, watched a movie filming, and had dinner at another Bayless spot.) He also sells books, DVDs. and bottles of his various branded Mexican sauces.

Doing this, he's able to serve a broad range of patrons no matter how deep their pockets. And the place was buzzing like I'd never imagine for a Wednesday.

Takeaway: Are you missing any profit centers? What do fans want from your brand? Advice? Training? Accessories?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Weeds: Asking For Help...

My lawn was overrun with weeds this spring.

We used to have lawn service. But the lawn looked great, so I figured
I could save a buck and maintain it myself.

That didn't work. By end of last fall it started to show signs of
neglect. By spring there were more weeds than grass.

I told myself I'd get around to it. Then came days and days of full
schedules and out-of-town weekends. Barely time to mow the lawn
much less buy and apply weed-n-feed.

Finally, I gave in. I asked Beth to call back in the lawn service.

Within a week there was a noticeable improvement. Within two weeks,
it looked lush and the army of weeds were receding. Now, it just seems
I need to mow it more often.

The same is true in marketing. There are probably several projects
you've been meaning to get around to -- when you have the time. You
just never seem to have the time. And your marketing is starting to
become a little neglected.

Asking someone like a marketing services agency to help may be a
wise choice.

Takeaway: What are the weeds in your marketing lawn?