Getting your business online should be simple.
As part of your marketing arsenal, your website should be one of your most powerful tools aside from your product.
Your website becomes the front door to your business on the Internet. It is an extension in cyberspace of your business that allows you to create virtual communities with your customers, suppliers, friends and neighbors. It is a world where the technology, at its best, becomes transparent and allows the meaning of your message to be clearly perceived.
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A successful website is one that makes your visitors feel welcome. By making your site ‘customer orientated’ not ‘company orientated’, you acknowledge the visitors presence and empower them to willingly participate.
Have a well organized Home Page
A home page should not only be your ‘Front Door’ but also provide a ‘Table of Contents’ to your site. It should provide an opportunity for your visitors to become customers by gently guiding them along the sales path.
Make it easy to navigate your site
Make options available so that your visitors can move easily between pages. Provide an explanation of where the link will take them. Make it easy to explore your site, yet always have access to home and featured pages readily available. Navigation tool bars and other linking icons and graphics should always have text alternatives where possible.
Actively involve your visitor
A successful website actively involves the visitor in meaningful interactive activities.
Provide forms and other interactive features.
Feedback is essential! This also gives the customer a sense of participation and allows them to be part of the process. Give users access to specific key people in your company, rather than some anonymous “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The great appeal of the Internet over most types of media is this unique interactive feature. Use It!
Create virtual communities with your customers and suppliers
Successful websites use community effectively. Be a responsible Net citizen. Understand the total community of your Web site. It goes beyond the traditional customer relationship of advertising. Carve out a lead role in that community.
Provide Tools and Tips
Provide your customers with strategies, success models, tips and techniques. A successful website places your company at the hub of the user’s online community. Successful websites provide strategies and solutions that will make your visitors ready, willing and able to buy your products.
Have a clearly defined Sales Process
The most successful websites are the ones that contribute to the bottom line. Do you have a way to guide the customer through the sales process? Provide multiple ordering options: checks, credit cards, purchase orders and virtual accounts are a few of those available. Include both online forms and Email ‘hot links’. Be sure to include your telephone, Fax and cell numbers. Your location and business addresses are essential. Make your site and the ordering process well-organized, easy to use and understand.