I believe the most frequently asked questions I receive are about websites. People often ask me which elements are most important, which mistakes are most common and — yes, I still hear this – if they even need a website at all.
Your website may be the most important part of your marketing communications effort. Without one, your organization may be perceived as weak, outdated or completely out of touch with the reality of today’s business world.
A great website has the ability to position your company or community as a leader or the place to be. On the flip side, a weak website may actually harm a perfectly fine company or a very nice community.
My very first job was at my hometown Montgomery Ward store. Your typical wise-guy sixteen-year-old, all I wanted was a chance to show how smart I was. After learning the humbling art of sweeping floors and trash removal, I was promoted to sign making and window displays. My boss, a stern man with the patience of a saint, told me, “the store windows will either draw people in or lead them to walk right on by. It’s your job to draw them in.” Ahhh…my first challenge.
Knowing that their typical store windows were very basic, featuring product on tables or an occasional mannequin, I was anxious to do something previously unseen in this small community. I had no experience, but as an aspiring photographer I had a pretty good eye for composition. To me, everything was a photograph. Since Montgomery Ward was a department store, I had a huge array of merchandise from which to pull and the windows were blank canvases.
My first window featured a family of mannequins dressed in the latest fashions. They were cleverly placed in a living room scene that included a chair, a rug and a dazzling new color television. At first my boss thought I was a bit nutty but then the customers began to comment about the beautiful and interesting windows. Score one for Jim! The store manager loved my work and I had discovered my passion for advertising.
Like the store window, your website can either invite visitors to come in and look around or it can lead them to move on. It is the window through which someone gets a glimpse into your company or community. It needs to be beautiful, informative and inviting, allowing the visitor to imagine him or herself in the scene. If it is ugly, boring and confusing, they will move on. Click!
Professional window artists know just what it takes to grab the attention of passersby, leading them to enter and spend time in the store. Likewise, web professionals know how to develop a strategy that will cause a visitor to enter and explore. Once inside, a great website conveys a powerful message that strengthens the brand and encourages the visitor to stay awhile or even to make contact.
At Brand Acceleration, we work only in the construction (a/e/c), economic development and motorsports industries. We have reams of research and years of experience that tells us just what visitors expect from an effective website. Our specialization provides knowledge and expertise that delivers extreme value to our clients. We know what our shoppers want to see and hear and how to convince them to stay awhile.
So, the next time you think about your website, ask yourself this question: “When my prospect walks by, will my ‘window’ create a desire to come in or will they go right on by?”