Marketing Online Viewed as Key to Business Success, Consultant Says

by WOHe

Marketing Online Viewed as Key to Business Success,
Consultant Says

What’s the best way to reach customers 24 hours a day? Well,
online of course. But, did you know that, each day, the speed of
online knowledge is rapidly increasing, and combined with more
savvy customers, designers who stand pat with their online
marketing strategies risk the chance of being left in the World
Wide Dust? These are the sentiments of Debbie Allen, of Tempe,
AZ-based Allen & Associates Consulting, Inc., who spoke on the
topic at this year’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago.

According to Allen, offering a user-friendly Web site that
combines valuable information with a professional image will not
only benefit customers, but also give your company an advantage
over the competition. Specifically, she notes that a dynamic Web
site is a strong way to gain leads inexpensively, increase
credibility, shorten sales cycles, improve customer service and
save money communicating.

But, she also notes that today’s kitchen and bath customer is
much more savvy and is looking for ways to save his or her time.
Further, consumers want to be educated online, and designers should
be aware of the different ways that people communicate.

So, how do you do this with a Web site? Allen outlined the seven
steps to creating an effective Web site:

  • Register domains (Web address): Multiple domain names with
    keywords can be pointed to an existing site for added exposure.
    Certain Web sites, such as www.NameBoy.com, which allows you to
    check domain names because it features a list of available options
    and ideas for names, and www.PlanetNet.com, which sells domain
    names, hosts Web sites and sells secured servers and shopping
    carts, are two good ways to get started, Allen notes.
     
  • Consider the concept: Determine your overall image and what
    your site should offer, such as special services, featured
    products, special offers, etc. Have a clear purpose and cater to
    your core customer base.
     
  • Storyboard ideas: Create a storyboard and put your ideas in
    order. Add features and designs such as photos, graphics, sound,
    etc. Maintain consistency in color scheme, font styles and sizes,
    etc.
     
  • Design with a Webmaster: To make your Web site successful, you
    must be active in creating it. Spell out your features and benefits
    along with your product and service information in detailed text
    for your Webmaster.
     
  • Rich and valued content: Provide information-rich content that
    will increase the chance of keeping viewers on your site longer and
    entice them to return. Ask customers how you can serve them online.
    Discover what they expect from your site, what they need and what
    additional information you will want to include. Feature strong
    headlines and keep your site updated continually.
     
  • Good navigation: Make your site simple to read and navigate.
    Design your site on an eighth-grade reading level. The viewer’s
    attention span is much shorter online.
     
  • Update and improve constantly: Never stop adding to and
    improving your Web site. It is now an important extension to your
    business plan. Take it step by step and continue to be a life-long
    learner of this marketing opportunity.
     

Allen also stated that Web sites should adhere to the “Three
Clicks Rule,” which enables visitors to find whatever they are
looking for within three clicks. Most importantly, she concludes,
when building a Web site, your online visitor must be able to
concentrate on your text if you want to get them to “bite.” The
best way to do this, she adds, is to maintain clean pages that are
well organized.

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