Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.
Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.
Surely you know that your URL is the first place a prospective customer will go when your name comes up as a potential service provider. Even if a trusted colleague recommends you, your home page is where I’m headed to check you out.
Despite all the tools available today to keep a Website current and contemporary, I find that too many print company Websites fail to serve the company well. Some are just dusty. Some are downright lame.
New visitors to your Website expect to get a pretty good picture of what specifically you do and whether you can be a resource for them. They’ll spend a minute on your site if you’re lucky—more if they see information that resonates or captivates them.
Is your site good enough to engage first-time visitors who’d make ideal customers? There’s one way to find out. I dare you to take this challenge. If you do, you’ll get a huge amount of value in it, and it won’t cost you a dime.
Find at least one adult—preferably a few—who don’t know your company at all (no employees, no relatives, no customers). Ideally, these folks would be businesspeople (unless your market is strictly consumers). Maybe you know a designer or two. Maybe you know people in marketing positions. They’d be ideal.
Ask them to visit your Website for a few minutes and then answer the following:
When I visit a printer’s site for the first time, these are the questions I inherently have. Do you know which of these eight questions I often have the hardest time answering? Number 1. You’d be surprised how many home pages are hamstrung by florid prose. If I can’t for the life of me figure out what you do, based on your home page, you have a big problem.
After you collect answers from a few people, take a good look at them. If they accurately reflect your business, congratulations! If not, you’ll have a good sense of what needs to be strengthened on your site.
It’s an easy, inexpensive way to find out if your site’s doing what it needs to do: act as home base for your online presence.