Your Web site as a sales and marketing channel…

Today’s savvy online users expect to go to the Internet and get something accomplished. They expect your Web site to help them fulfill their mission. If your site does not provide the information they need or they have to think too hard they will move on to a competitor’s site that will have what they need.


A Web site is an electronic form of your business marketing channel. Do you know how to build a dialog with a customer through a Web site, how to qualify them as a lead or convert them to a sale?  How about if what you sell is more complex, like a course or a custom made component?  I can confidently do a good job helping people pinpoint their needs and help them make purchase decision when I am on the phone or face to face.  I have plenty of consulting experience doing it that way. It is a mix of asking the right questions, good listening skills and then aligning what you have with their specific needs or goals.


But what are the activities that make a product or service desirable to a visitor through a Web site, where it’s open to the world 24/7.  How do you really begin a sales or persuasive dialog with visitors to your Web site? 


I can share from our experiences with our Web site at eBizITPA. Between our web specialist, marketing manager and program managers we have been experimenting and trying to determine what information do our customers need to make an informed decision and how do we influence them to take action.  For the IT Kickstart program we have documents they are able to access and download to apply for IT Kickstart.  This is the type of self service that gives visitors access any time when it is convenient for them.  But are we providing enough information for them to evaluate the program and answer their questions and concerns? Probably not because we still receive phone calls asking about how the program works.


We also continuously try to improve our messaging about our professional development programs like classes and seminars so that our visitors can understand how they will benefit from participating. Ultimately try to persuade them to register.  But we struggle with questions such as how much information do they need, how do they want to receive the information and can they locate it in an intuitive fashion? Just recently one of our email recipients responded to a promotional conference email saying the message was pretty generic and do we have some more detail on what is going to be covered. 


Holly Buchanan podcastWe recently posted an interview on the conference Web site with the featured speaker Holly Buchanan, a conversion expert in online marketing and persuasion architecture. In the interview Holly gives a sneak peak on her presentation called Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results, listen as she teases us with a few good nuggets you will be able to immediately take away. We learned using multimedia mediums such as, podcasts and videos can help our visitors better comprehend and understand our offerings. However, was there a clear pathway to the information? Well, clearly not for this fella.


The conference will have an afternoon session that will be an interactive web assessment where Holly agreed to review several sites on a first come first serve basis. We submitted the Center’s Web site and the Conference microsite in hopes that Holly will give us feedback on how we can improve our customer’s experience, improve responses to our messages and meet our marketing objectives.


We’re tough and we can take whatever Holly tells us because in the end we know she only wants to help us succeed.  Hope to see you there!


Quick resource:

Future Now has a fun and very telling instrument called the Customer Focus Calculator aptly called the WeWe. Use it to check if your site mostly talks about your customer and their needs or are you talking mostly about your business. Use it and you will see immediately.


Holly Buchanan is a Senior Persuasion Architect at Future Now Inc. Future Now is a digital marketing optimization company based in New York.


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