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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Getting More from Your Website

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe learned the importance of packaging design to a product’s brand and sales. This week, Marka explains how the tribe can design an effective business Website that will bolster FEI’s online presence and generate business. Remember, fire = print.

During a marketing meeting one morning, Zoot piped up with a controversial observation:

“Our O-site stinks!”

“I agree,” Lucy said. “It hasn’t been updated in months. Plus, the navigation is confusing, the layout is clunky and typos are everywhere. Note to whoever designed our original O-site: We’re selling FIRES, not FRIES!”

“A growing number of Olympians are using the O-web to find fire products and services, so it’s important that FEI’s O-site forms a favorable, accurate representation of our brand to these potential buyers,” Marka added. “Our outdated, confusing and poorly-designed O-site may give prospects the impression that we’re similarly sloppy in other areas of our business.”

“There are three keys to an effective business O-site,” Marka continued, as she began writing on the whiteboard.

1) Is it structured properly?

“Structure involves two things,” she explained. “Putting information in the right place and creating an easy way to navigate between each place. The first thing visitors notice about our O-site is our home page. Do we put our best foot forward there? Is there meaningful imagery and content?

“Ease of navigation is critical,” Marka continued. “People visit us for information on our fire and fire services, not to gaze at a pretty design. A good O-site should always value structure over flashiness.

“Custom landing pages for outbound promotional campaigns and ‘micro-sites’ should also be created as necessary,” she added, the morning sun illuminating her gorgeous straw colored hair.

2) Is it current?

“If it’s filled with current information on our products/services, our O-site can be a great selling tool,” Marka pointed out. “Conversely, outdated content conveys the impression that FEI is stuck in neutral, not moving forward. Our O-site should be updated frequently—ideally at least once a week, absolutely at least once a month.

“There are some shortcuts that can help. By adding a simple widget that automatically updates our O-site with posts from each of our social media pages, we can keep our O-site looking fresh.”

3) Are there any errors?

“Nothing hurts an O-site more than content laced with spelling, grammatical and content errors,” Marka said.

“After making an investment in designing and promoting our O-site, it’d be a pity to ruin a positive first impression by showcasing a glaring mistake,” Numo remarked.

“Now you’ve got it!” Marka said.

Today’s FIRE! Point
A growing number of print buyers are conducting business online, and it’s important that a printing company’s Website convey a favorable, accurate representation of its brand to these potential customers. An site that lacks a professional look and structure may give prospects the impression that the company is similarly sloppy in other areas. An effective Website should be structured properly, current and up-to-date, and free of errors.

FIRE! in Action
Good Website Messaging Drives Sales Results

Besides shoes, sells a “customer-first” mentality. Every page of the company’s Website sends the message that it offers timely, diligent service from shopping to delivery. In 2010, Amazon bought Zappos for $1.2 billion; the company also increased sales 50 percent in Q1 of 2010.

Next week: Website talk continues with Marka’s tips on search engine optimization (SEO) for business Websites.


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