This month I thought I would look at websites that don't always live and breath. They are left dusty on the shelf still with the hope that they will be welcoming enough.
When working with a website and business online there is so much to consider and work through. There is also so much of a possibility and businesses need to step up to that. It is an open marketplace out there. Without stepping into the throng and engaging and being personable to conversations you will be passed by a whole lot more.
Online there is a lot of flexibility and may lead to uncertainty to the best actions to take. Over the last 10 years though things have moved on and adapted enough to give people patterns and best practices to work with. Gone are the days when all a site needed to be was to move the company brochure online. Cut, paste, done, wait for the business.
Websites work in layers now and do not need to be the only place to have a presence. It is not important to force and hold leads on to your one and only presence. Then you can be more single-minded and actionable, but it leads to customers resentment and isolation. It is so easy for people to switch website and search engines encourage comparison and research. So we have graduated to an age when the consumer is educated and can be as up to date as representative. This shifts the conversation to be more about partnering with customers and offering them a friendly hand not holding all the good cards back.
Customers in return are open to much more giving back and partnering too. They will share their likes and dislikes, wants and needs. This conversation is then much easier to move into the stream and be part of than to stand back and not be in the space.
Something that can be seen in Europe at the moment, it is not ok to just complain or take your ball and go home. We all move to the world without natural borders and gain from that. The gains come from conversations and sharing and realising we share more and gain more by teamwork.
Layers of online could be represented in this way:
The communication moves through all of it and back round in a circle. If while maintaining our selling channels we add to it resources and training on business websites we can help reach out to the community and offer a lead and support to the other channels.
A manufacturing business that relies on referrals and sales channels to generate business can work back with partners, sales and engineers on the ground to train and advocate the product. Thus creating a support circle and getting a greater brand message out. Lowering support and sales costs through education for decision makers and end users that they can reach out and participate in.
So take a look at your online offerings this year, do you offer a product forum that is static for many years or do you look at pulling in pre- and post- sales to grow the connection with your audience and dynamic content.