1001 Ways, Small Business
•on February 7th, 2009
Putting up a blog on the company website is one marketing strategy that you can adopt for your company. Through a blog, you will be extending the usefulness of your website to your targeted visitors as well as give them a reason to come and visit your website again.
You should always bear in mind that your visitors will continue visiting your website if they find information there that are useful to them. Inasmuch as the purpose of your website is to help you sell your product, people will only buy from you if they believe in you. A blog can help you establish that belief and credibility that you need.
How a Blog Builds Credibility
How does a blog generate the belief and credibility that your company needs? Through a blog, you can build up your company’s image as an expert in its chosen industry. It is a time-tested marketing ploy for companies to name-drop experts or have experts endorse their products. Expert endorsement validates the product and lends the credibility of the expert upon the product.
For example, when Oprah Winfrey gives her blessing to a particular product, it usually sells. That is because Oprah has built credibility with her audience over the years. Her sudience believes that Oprah knows what she is talking about, so they might be inclined to buy whatever product she promotes.
That is what you should do with your blog. Through your blog, you should establish your company as an entity that knows the ins and outs of its business and can provide solutions to problems. Build up your company’s image as an expert through your blog and your products will sell.
The Words of an Expert
Since you have to project your company as an expert in its field, you should word your blog posts carefully. Your blog posts should be factual, insightful and easy to understand. If you have to state an opinion strongly on your blog post, back your opinion up with facts.
Conveying passionate belief in something is good when it comes to writing blog posts, but there is a line that separates the passionate expression of an opinion or an idea from the senseless ravings of a lunatic. This line is the proper usage of facts.
Find Support for Your Ideas
As much as you are trying to establish your company as an expert in its chosen field, you would be wrong to assume that you know everything or that every idea you have is original to you. Precious few is new or original on the Internet and whatever you may say is likely to have been said before.
Besides, there is strength in numbers, as people generally say. If you back up your idea with the word of another expert or two and provide a link to the blog or article of these experts that discuss the same idea, you are likely to generate more belief and raise your credibility. You would get your readers into thinking that if two or three other people have claimed so-and-so to be true, then it must really be true.
If set up carefully, a blog can be a powerful tool to promote your company’s products. As long as you have presented your company as an entity to believe in, you are more likely to convince your blog’s readers to buy from you.
When Flash was introduced in 1996, the face of the Internet changed completely. With Flash animations, webmasters were able to create websites that were more impressive to visitors. Why? Well, when a user goes to a website with Flash, they are seeing something much more elaborate than an animated GIF. The colors are more brilliant and the graphics are clearer. Additionally, Flash animations take up less space than videos.
However, creating Flash animations is not an easy process. Unless you’re a graphic artist, you might be limited in what you can design. And even then you have to learn how to use the software… a process that may take a few months. Indeed, mastering the creation of Flash animations is not an overnight process.
There’s also the issue of creativity. Just like writing, Flash animation requires a lot of artistic ability. A website with poorly designed Flash animations can result in visitors leaving quickly. They may believe that the amateur Flash animations must point to an amateur site… one that they don’t feel comfortable doing business with.
You can avoid these problems if you get a Web designer to handle your Flash animations. They can create professional Flash animations quickly and easily, saving you a lot of time. Additionally, if you need more work done, Web designers can help you create your site from the ground up. Work with a company that has years of experience creating a plethora of high-quality Flash animations.
A new website design allows you to re-introduce your company. Think of a company like Apple and how they are constantly seen as innovators of their market. One method for giving your business a boost in sales is to review your existing website.
- Does your website reach your target audience effectively?
- Have you reviewed your competition’s websites?
- Does your website reflect your brand identity?
- Is your website search engine ‘friendly’?
- Does your website design look professional?
- Have you budgeted for a new website this year?
Sales does not happen in a vacuum. If you’ve done your homework by creating an effective brand, then the next step is to build solid marketing support to reach prospects, warm them up to your product or service, and make the sale. The more qualified prospects you can get into the pipeline, the better the opportunity to improve your business. And the Internet is the most exciting playing field to plant your flag. Online, the world is your oyster.
That’s not to say that you can put up an average website. Your website needs to be the best. When prospects visit, you want them to stay, review and be excited about your product or service. The goal should be to get them to call or send for more information. On low-priced items, get them to place an order online. On higher ticket items, a salesperson usually needs to make the close. In either case a new website design can dramatically re-energize your business’ sales.
Design is an important element in the development of your website. How a site looks and feels can determine if a viewer is interested or not in your product or service. Usually the visitor makes that determination within 3 seconds. That’s right, I said 3 seconds. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to get your message across.
The first step in the website design process is to define your target audience. If you say that ‘everyone is my audience’, then you need to go back to the drawing board and refine your answer. No product or service is needed by everyone. In fact, you could waste a lot of time and money finding that out the hard way. So do your homework now by clearly defining your target audience. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself:
- Who does my product or service help?
- Am I targeting consumers or businesses?
- Local or national?
- Is it men or women?
- What is the age-group?
- Do they buy my product or service online?
- How often do they buy?
- Who do they buy from now?
- What are my projected sales figures for the first year?
- What is the total market sales for my product or service?
Website design begins with knowing your target audience better than anyone. And most of the data is available on the Internet. Your competitor’s website can also provide a wealth of information. If you already have a website up and running, and you’re not getting the desired results, then redefining your target audience can help.
Keep in mind that the smaller the target audience the better the results. Just like in archery, many people can see the target, but the most successful hit the bulls-eye. Next in this series about website design, we’ll discuss how your competitors play an important role.