After initial brand impressions are made at trade shows, sales meetings and/or in response to your public relations efforts, buyers typically go online to confirm the ideas you’ve communicated and validate the way you’ve made them feel.

 

This is especially true when first time purchasing activity represents a significant financial obligation. It is only reasonable to expect that, once the notion to enter into a trading relationship has commenced, the buyer would want to conduct due diligence.


With the availability of so much information online, having a website that provides a credible and satisfying experience, especially when the outcome of that interaction may be immensely valuable to your bottom line, makes sense.


While the interactive arena is no longer new technology, there are surprisingly large numbers of marketers, designers and web developers who have yet to fully understand or embrace its potential. With this in mind, here is some perspective that will help you maximize the benefits you can derive from your website and get the greatest possible return on investment.


1. Make It Compatible   It is important that you understand and anticipate the level of sophistication your visitors bring to the interactive process. While computers may be commonplace, you cannot assume an up-to-date configuration of hardware and software is in use.


Making matters worse, there is no way to know how your audience is gaining access to the internet. Whether they’re connecting through handhelds, laptops or desktop computers - Mac or PC - and depending on what browser they have selected, each influences reception and impacts upon how seamlessly your website can perform.


If you know your audience is web savvy, then great, go ahead and build in all of those fancy animations, videos and sound effects. On the other hand, and if you’re not entirely sure, make sure your site can be experienced successfully no matter what sort of technology is in use.


2. Provide Engaging Experiences   Although your prospect has decided to visit your website, there are no guarantees he or she will stay long enough to be impressed. The reality is that, as long as technology does not stand in your way, you only have a few moments to make lasting and compelling impressions.


There’s no denying that a visitor can be easily persuaded to stay longer if they are kept both entertained and delighted. For food and beverage marketers with a dazzling array of sumptuous and seductive products, stimulating the emotions is essential.


While there's no such thing as digital smell-o-rama that transmits tempting aromas, you can utilize sensuous colors, alluring photos and illustrations, compelling sound effects and other such devices to get your visitor aroused, intrigued and motivated to investigate further.


3. Communicate Value   No matter how entertaining your site may be, your goal is to effectively present, persuade and confirm undeniable value and credibility. Considering that your nearest rival is just a click away, you'll need more than fancy bells and whistles. If you are going to seduce your visitor, you'll need real substance to keep them interested and engaged.


4. Build Relationships   One of the best features that your website has to offer is its ability to create longer term interactions with each and every visitor. One of the more common practices is a newsletter subscription. Other opportunities include surveys, contests, sweepstakes, coupons, seminars, give-aways and chat rooms to name a few. Depending on how you initiate this dialog, you have the ability to learn what makes them tick, what they need, what they want and what motivates them to buy (from you).


5. Compel Action   As long as you have their attention, don’t forget to ask visitors to act. If it’s your goal to schedule a meeting, ask for their phone number or email address so you can get in touch. If sales are at the top of your agenda, provide immediate access to e-commerce and close the deal. There may be any number of items on their agenda (or yours) that, within the interactive environment, can be immediately fulfilled. No matter what you’re after, don’t forget to ask.


As you can see, there is plenty you can do within the framework of your website to establish, improve and enhance business relationships. Knowing where to start, how to implement, and at what price, is essential. The last thing you want to do is minimize valuable opportunities and lose business to your rivals.


To learn how Studio Spear builds effective websites, exploits technology in the interactive realm, and improves your company's bottom line, simply call Jeff Spear toll-free at 866 787 8761, in the office at 904 685 2135 or send an email to jeff@studiospear.com.