Cultivating Great Websites —DanaJune 2010
THE FIRST thing your prospects do when they hear your company name is Google it. Let's hope that your URL is at the top of that search. They'll click on that link...and their assessment of you as a potential print provider begins. Are you prepared? Is your site optimized for your ideal customer?
Despite the growth of social media, your Website remains an important marketing tool. It's your online storefront. It will either invite people in or make them look elsewhere. With about 30,000 commercial printing firms in the U.S., prospects know they'll find what they're looking for online. If you're not there, or if your site doesn't grab them, they'll move on.
As someone who's studied printing Websites for more than a decade from the perspective of your clients, I've seen the good, the bad and the incredibly ugly.
Based on my observations of hundreds of these sites, I have some suggestions for ensuring your own site is a class act. There's a mental checklist that I follow when I visit a printer's site. It has more to do with the information than the look. Sizzle on a Website is a lot easier to come by than steak. But your customers come for the steak.
Think Like A Customer
Here's a sampling of questions that go through my mind as a potential customer of yours:
Is it 100 percent clear on the home page exactly what your business is all about? Are you a printer? A print broker? A print management firm? A marketing or media agency?
In the words of Robert De Niro, playing Travis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver, "You talkin' to me?" Does your site speak to me and my problems?
Do you serve my industry and print the types of jobs we do?
Are you an offset printer or do you also do digital?
Are you in my state or region? Do you have multiple locations?
Are you interested in environmental sustainability?
Who are some of your current clients? Can I relate to them?
Is your equipment and technology up-to-date?
Are you independently owned? Who's in charge?
Are you going to be too expensive for us?
Are you customer-centric? Do you have educational info on your site?