How many times have you looked at a website and thought – this just isn’t helping me find what I’m looking for at all! The brand may be great and perhaps even well-represented on some of the other forms of media, such as newspapers, magazines, and especially on television. You go to the website – and it really lets you down. How did this happen? There is a possible answer to this frequently occurring problem – and the answer may be a little surprising!
Needless to say, the art of marketing and sales has moved way beyond the more normal and traditional types of sales media and progressed to the one that is reaching out to not only local audiences but to the world – of course, it is the internet. Traditional advertising campaigns of the past involved the sales department deciding what points to be emphasized in a marketing campaign, giving that information to a graphic designer – and the result was ads in newspapers and magazines, maybe some TV spots if possible. Will that same structure work now? Not by a long shot! So let’s examine what does need to happen to have a successful marketing campaign on the one sales media that reaches the world – yup, it’s the internet!
Teamwork and Goals
An effective marketing campaign on the internet begins with knowing the business and the brand, where the company is going with that brand, and then how it can be done through the collaborative effort of designers, SEO gurus, useability experts, and all things technical with an internet presence. The direction is going to come from knowing the business and then using all the wonderful tools that are available to translate this onto the internet to attract interested buyers of products or services.
No company wants to launch a website that looks absolutely awesome – and buyers are unable to find what they want or unable to check out of a shopping cart. After all, the ultimate goal for this internet presence through such collaborative efforts is to appeal to new viewers who have never seen the website and allow that type of user to easily find what they want – and complete a transaction. Anything less than that is creating a website to stroke the ego of either the designers or the business – certainly not to please a potential customer!
Features To Bring Together
After learning about a business and its customers, the effort must now incorporate the needs of design, usability, content, and SEO, all of which must come together and achieve business goals. Each area working on the website must understand how one area’s functioning will ultimately affect the ability of another area to achieve its goals. In a nutshell:
Design – It must look good and be appealing – to the targeted audience, not to the design team or any other team for that matter. Users will buy the products or services – users will make the business successful – anything else is pure ego-tripping!
Usability – The design team may have scored big on a great plan to appeal to a hot buying audience – which will fall flat on its face if users cannot find their way around the website and most especially cannot figure out how to buy the product or service! This is an enormous factor in overall website success.
SEO – All right, the design is awesome, the website can be navigated by a 2-year-old – and now the SEO team must make sure that all of this and the marketing goals are presented in a completely enticing fashion to the targeted buying audience and to internet spiders as well. SEO must be built into the design from the beginning – and all of the above teams need to embrace that philosophy for the website to succeed!
Content – Well, it’s down to the wire. The design has been useable, the SEO has attracted the right buying audience – and the content which is the key to connect all of this together is unclear, poorly written, and totally unorganized. Do you think that will convert an internet-browsing viewer into a buyer? Highly unlikely! Content must be concise, well-written, organized, and easy to find – period.
Achieving Website Success
Putting all of the above together into a properly integrated website is quite an achievement – and not always reached by every company’s website. The biggest stumbling block to complete success often points back to the very beginning of this process – the business or company. Too often, overseers of a website design project are not schooled in what is involved with e-commerce – and want to force this awesome set of teams working together to pretend that the business knows more than they do – and that is so sad and so wrong!
Proper balance of all of the above elements – and a company willing to actually trust the experts in each of these fields – is frankly not done more often than might be thought. A company should present information about the product or service, set sales goals to be achieved – and then step back and let the experts take over. Don’t let a new website project be undermined by a bit too much corporate ego – trust the people who know and understand this marvelous internet age and sales figures will support such trust in no time at all!