We took the last two weeks of 2011 off and are getting back up to speed in 2012, meeting with new clients, old clients and partners. Things are shaping up nicely for the coming year. We want to put forward some of the things that we’re going to be actively promoting with current and potential clients this year. These are things that we do, and that are part of our services but they are not always things that are not included in final proposals. They do contribute to a better overall final product and a more successful investment — especially in regards to the creation of a new site.
Whenever we start a site build we always talk to the key stake holders within our client’s companies. This helps us understand the organizational goals for the project. We often touch upon the topic of customer feedback but we rarely get the opportunity to speak to directly to users of the site to learn of their needs. This is something that happens in projects of all sizes with clients of all sizes. There is no substitute for speaking directly to actual customers, and then incorporating their feedback into the site architecture, design considerations and content.
Let’s face it, we live in a world of the written word — we consume (reading) and produce (writing emails, tweets etc.) words all day long but this is not the same as writing site content. Site content is a delicate balance between exposition and selling and most of us don’t write to sell, and don’t walk that line very well. You may know your business inside and out, up and down, and that’s good — but that knowledge may make it difficult to effectively communicate what it is that you need to communicate in order to sell your product. Distilling that knowledge into digestible, effective content that drives sales is key, and requires an experienced hand
While much of the content that we consume is written content, great use of imagery on a site is of great importance. The longer I do this work the more I believe it. You can have a beautifully designed site but if the images don’t match the impact of the design is largely lost. Design and good imagery form a self reinforcing circle — one makes the other look better. Not every site requires imagery, and not every client can afford custom, professionally shot photos, but it’s something to seriously consider planning for and creating budget to execute. Well executed images improve the overall site experience, and, if planned strategically, it can be leveraged in other mediums to market your company.
Despite our backgrounds in marketing and advertising those are often tricky sells to clients on a budget. Yet, like photography, marketing is absolutely key. Just redoing your site is not enough — you need to drive people to the site that you’ve invested in and that you use to tell your story. There are many ways to do this based on budget, target audience and marketing goals. Marketing does not need to break the bank, but it must go beyond sending a package of materials to a hand-raiser. There is a world of customers out there beyond those who know you already, and myriad channels and approaches to attract them.
These are our focus areas for 2012. No current client or potential client is required to buy any of these services from us. These services do cost money, and people are only going to spend what they are going to spend on their projects. Know, however, that if we sit down together to discuss a possible site build project we will bring up these things. Yes, we want to build our revenue, but we also do so because we think that this will improve the ultimate deliverable. Our goal, always (and it’s good to reaffirm this at the start of a new year), is to deliver the best possible product that best serves your business needs.