Have you ever thought how important customization is in all parts of our lives? From food(pizza chains) to automobiles, entertainment (television, i-pods) to sports (cricket, gaming) and retail, today’s successful business models are all tied to this central tenet- customization. So what really is customization and how relevant is it in web designing and development?
Whenever a client decides to elevate its customer experience, the first focal point is the website, which serves, both, as a significant touch point for the customer and as a continuing image of the business at large.
Ready-to-use web templates could cause more harm to your business than the short-lived advantage of cost-saving. In today’s dynamic business world, it becomes very important that you align your business goals with the existing practices. Any website which does not offer a rich interface which substitutes for actually ‘being there’ with the customer, will not be able to build any long-term credibility.
Features: A custom web development company works on a client’s needs and provides a rich platter of services to suit the ever-changing business environment. Call-to-action features like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Click here to talk with our agent NOW’, ‘Subscribe to our monthly newsletter’, are all examples of features which can be offered in this web model, contrary to the plethora of readymade web templates available out there.
Adaptability: When you identify an urgent need to change your website interface or add any new feature/alert to it, you would not want to let your other commitments suffer. Custom web development offers you a fast rate of change while you continue to focus on your primary area of work. This is how a trustworthy backend makes you an ace player in the market.
Compatibility: The client does not want to withstand the long ‘learning curve’ by itself. That is where a steady backend provides an effective business solution, which is compatible for a multi-server/multi-platform environment.
Online Presence: Once you have a strong and loyal customer base, you make them a part of your business, and they feel at home with your product or service. A significant contributor to this is an attractive website, which adapts according to the customer’s needs.
A professional custom web development company will give you the added advantage of creating a unique customer experience. It takes care of the backend while you put your money where the mouth is. SEO optimization, dynamic content, enhanced user-friendly features, online marketing and offsite product promotion are some of the key attractions of any respectable custom web offering. And if any time should you feel any feature is redundant or not working for your business, you let the developer know and he makes the quick change that puts you right back into the commanding seat – towards a wiser business solution and a sustainable market advantage.
Internet has changed the face of commerce drastically. Gone are the days, when customers would call up to enquire about the services of a company. Internet has brought the world to the fingertips of the customers, and all they have to do is Google the name of a company to gather information about it! There are also numerous blogs, social media sites and online consumer forums, for consumer reviews. Business owners are severely affected by such reviews, which can make or break their brand image.
Web reputation management(WRM) is gaining importance, as indicated by the World Economic Forum’s recognition of web reputation firms as an important entity in today’s scenario. A bad review by an irate customer, internet slandering campaigns by competitors, and negative feedback indicating consumer dissatisfaction could cause considerable damage to your business reputation. In such a situation, you need to act fast by hiring professional search engine reputation management (SERM) consultants.
Web reputation management firms use a variety of strategies to prevent potentially harmful content about your business from showing up in the first pages of search engine results. Here are some of the benefits of using professional web reputation management services:
- Building Positive Brand Image: During difficult times, a web reputation management firm can build positive blogs and websites for your company. By reducing the visibility of negative comments, creating a positive PR, and pushing positive information about you in the top search engine results, they promote a positive brand image. Their reputation management services will ensure that when potential clients do a background search of you and your company, they will find positive results.
- Effective Monitoring – A professional web reputation management firm will monitor the information about your company in search engine result pages, social networking sites, and other web sphere content. They can track consumer opinion using search engine alerts, RSS feeders to track keywords, and conduct extensive research about the company’s internet presence. Through monitoring and extensive market research, they can quickly identify sites with negative user comments and deal with them effectively, so that they don’t turn up in the first few pages of search engine results.
- Creating Content – The basic tenet of SEO is content creation. To combat negative feedback, web reputation management firms create positive content which are seen by search engines as more relevant and push down the other negative comments about your firm. SEO and web reputation management usually go hand in hand, so it is essential to hire a firm that has both the skills.
- Other remedial measures – User generated content on the web impact the brand image of any business, be it an online company or a brick and mortar company. Brand management strategies cannot be limited to a few mechanical steps. Good web reputation management includes diverse measures such as social network profiling; blog, article and press release; and promotion of existing positive content. Formal take down requests and negotiations can also be used to remove negative content from the web.
Web reputation is a part of SEO itself but not all SEO firms have the expertise in this field. Only an experienced and competent firm can handle your web reputation effectively. And thus, selecting the right SEO firm gains paramount importance.
Don’t wait for a crisis to turn to web reputation management professionals. Do it right now. After all, as the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm.”
Often, the resources available for a project are not enough to do justice to the client. Lack of time, resources and other commitments may make it impossible for you to do the job, no matter how much you may want to. Ethically, in such situations, it is in the client’s and well as your best interest to say ‘no’ and not accept the work.
Given the focus of businesses on building a bigger client base, usually they shy away from saying ‘no’ to the client. Often, they don’t even realize that they are overburdened. It is tempting for businesses to take on the client’s project and hope that it somehow gets done in time. They are blinded by money or the fear of losing valuable customers.
When it is essential to say ‘no’ to client, businesses need to do so in a diplomatic way to avoid jeopardizing long term business relations with the client. Here are some practical ways to do so:
- Do not respond immediately to a client’s request. Give it some thought, check your work schedule and then come up with a realistic work completion plan, before you take on the project.
- Respond clearly and politely, so that the client understands that you won’t be able to work on the project. Explain the reasons because of which you will not be able to work on the project. This will help the clients to better understand why you are refusing the project. For example, saying “I wish I could say yes. Unfortunately, because of the current work load, I can’t complete the project effectively and on time. So, I am forced to say no to your project.” sounds better than simply saying “I cannot take this project.” Avoid using negative or offensive expressions, such as ‘It is unreasonable …” or “It is impossible to …”. Use positive language when responding to a client. Saying “We’d love to do this project, however …” is a gentle way of declining the client’s project.
- Always give alternatives to the client – Keep a waiting list, and let your clients know when you will be free to work on their project. Give them a clear waiting time, such as one week or one month, and an approximate date on which you can begin work on their project.
- Provide recommendations – In case you do not have the expertise or resources to do the project, let the clients know that they have the wrong person. If possible, recommend other professionals who can do it. Sometimes, a client might be in a hurry or under pressure, and need the services immediately. A recommendation of alternative service providers will not only help the clients but in the long run, it will also strengthen your business relations with them.
We believe you don’t start the design of a new or revised website by sitting down with the designer and coder of the website. Rather, we recommend you review the approaches, ideas, processes and other methods listed below to determine if they apply to your situation.
Think about your audience. Are they looking for immediate answers and solutions? We bet they are. Most likely these visitors to your website are very much like you. Chances are you use the Internet more than other types of media to search for information. If a web page doesn’t “grab your interest” within 8 – 10 seconds after landing on it… you move on!
As a “first step” we suggest that you start by reviewing the questions listed below. We are convinced that once you get to the last question… you will have a list of action items identified that will greatly improve the productivity of your current website. The success or failure of the site and/or business may very well depend upon the decisions you make after reading these questions
What Do You Know About Your Clients and Prospects State of Mind?
When visitors land on your website, they have very little time to read what you say. They have a need for information or a product and don’t want to listen or read verbose descriptions and comments. You have about 8 seconds to engage them and get them to take action. Do most visitors land on your website wanting:
- a “quick fix”,
- a bargain,
- a large selection,
- or a telephone call, etc.?
It is imperative to know the answers to these and many other questions BEFORE you design the pages within your website.
Do You Make Website Visitors Feel You Can Satisfy Their Wants and Needs?
Landing on any page within your website [especially the Homepage] must make the visitor know that you understand their needs, business, wants, and desires. The more you put yourself into the “mindset” of the website visitor, the better chance you have of converting their visit into something you want to happen i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you or any other method of measurable conversion.
What Approach Do You Take When Developing Pages Within Your Website?
What do you think you would want from your website if you were the prospective visitor or client? Assume you don’t know as much information as you want in order to make an informed decision. Talk to these visitors in a language they will understand. If visitors want more insight or information, tell them to click on the more info link or give you a call. They will follow your direction ONLY if you have built some level of trust or understanding.
What are You “Selling” to the Website Visitor?
Are you focused on telling them about your product or service or are you making them understand that choosing your firm will deliver that special feeling they are seeking by making the purchase? Are you sure that you made the visitor know that you understand their needs, wants, problems, etc.? What techniques did you implement to get your points across?
How are You Going to Get the Visitor to Stop and Think About Your Service or Product?
Remember… they are ready to pass by your website in a blink of an eye. What are you going to do to engage them? The answer you come up with will be critical to the success you have in gaining their confidence enough to buy or call you. Make sure what you say is NOT the same old thing they are used to seeing or reading on other websites. Be boring and you lose! Address the issues that appeal to the visitor and they WILL STOP! This is hard work… but worth the effort.
What Kind of “Call to Action” Statements are You Placing on Your Website?
Turning a visitor into a prospect or client is one of the most critical actions of your website. How will you engage them? Once they know that you understand their needs and wants, they are more inclined to follow your CTA direction. Call to Action statements are critical to the success of any website’s conversion. Guide them in a manner that is more telling, rather than selling. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.
How Does Your Website Address the “Who Are We” Issue?
Again, it is about making the website visitor feel confident that they are choosing a reputable firm or organization with which to do business. They need to read about your success. This can be done by exhibiting your affiliation with associations, awards won, satisfied client statements, client success stories, examples of your work, etc. Show them you are a “player” in your industry.
Are You Prepared to Answer: “What Makes You Different”?
What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? Have they applauded you for your approach to doing business? Did they say you made them feel like you understood their needs and wants? Think back to the reasons clients buy from you. How did you meet their needs and wants? Give your prospective clients reasons to do business with your firm.
A final thought…
Make it your primary goal to understand the potential client. Look at your website through that client’s perspective. Who are they? What makes them different? What do they individually want and need? Be informative… do more telling than selling. They will “get it” and appreciate that you have made them an educated buyer. Finally, tell them what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and be ready to deliver on the expectations you have set throughout your website!
Finally, be sure to hire Internet marketing professionals to do the job if you don’t have the capabilities in-house. Too much is at stake to leave this part of your business to chance! We are pleased to provide you the insightful comments contained herein.
About The Author
We have 11 years of Internet marketing experience re building successful website promotíon programs and meeting the challenges of appealing to today’s Internet visitor in the current economic environment. Call us at 631-423-0815 for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team or to review the Full list of PDF documents on Internet Marketing and Conversion techniques.InternetConsultingAndCoaching.com