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The web is your shop window 20 February, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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When designing your web site ensure you spend enough time refining your marketing messages. The purpose of the web for your business is to entice potential customers to contact you for more information. The better you refine the web messages the more likely it will be that you maximise the benefit of visitors to your web site.

Their use of the site should be orchestrated to draw them in and keep them motivated to explore and then finally discuss potential business with you.

So looking at an analogy, one could consider a simple high street shop window with passers by glancing at the window. You have got visitors to your web site drawn in for a variety of reasons. Like the shop keeper your first priority is to get passers by to spend time looking in the window. Make sure your front page will be interesting to the potential customers and in order to do that you need to clearly indicate your unique offering either through brand, image, tag line or by an effective demonstration of the benefits you offer. Refine the shop widow so that it displays an attractive arrangement of your products and services. Just like the shop keeper you should expend effort refining the display to yield better results. Another measure of success of the shop window is how much of the message is retained by a momentary glance at your front page. Test this with trials on people not related to your company, and ask them to describe the image they get from a 60 second glance at your front page.

Like the shop keeper we want potential customers to enter the shop. Once you have their attention you want them to proceed further in your web site by exploring the sections which describe what you have to offer. Make sure this structure reflects how the customers will have their business structured. Step outside your business (“think outside the box”) and put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. Customers buy solutions to their problems or benefits. How do they operate and what issues do they have foremost in their minds? Use these issues to structure your key messages.

Your key messages should answer basic questions like do you understand the customers’ problems and offer solutions that are better than alternative sources? Are there any alternatives? How are you qualified to work with the customer, industry experience, credentials, proven products, track record, and reputation?

Remember the idea here is not to satisfy ALL the visitors’ questions but enough to retain their interest and motivate them to contact you to discuss further about your products & services. Invest time and effort refining your key messages will yield benefits in business traffic from your web site.

Greville Commins

Response time is money 13 February, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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In our current business climate, doing business on an international scale, competing with many differing cultures we need to be even better at responding rapidly to every request.

I meet a wide range of companies in different market sectors and am surprised at the poor rate of response to everyday enquires. Time is of the essence and a poor response time will be an indicator to potential customers of your professionalism. Customers at the very first contact with your company will use every interaction to build up a picture of your company and what it will be like doing business with you.

You should build a simple tracking system to record and measure all enquires, requests and support questions to ensure each is responded to in a rapid timeframe. Your first response does not need to answer the question fully but an acknowledgment of the enquiry, an estimate of how long it will take to formulate a answer and who will call back are reasonable initial responses. Of course your full response must be a quality one, speed of execution is important, but poor rushed answers are still poor answers.

If you fail to respond, don’t worry someone, somewhere will answer for you and it will likely be a competitor. Many important business opportunities have been lost this way.

In the global market where business cultures differ widely, you should not ignore the cultural expectations of your potential customers. In some regions it’s not uncommon to expect 24 hour access to suppliers and immediate responses to important questions.

Speed of response to these customers is an important measure of internal organisation as well. Are you structured to respond to customers, do you measure response times, are you looking into improving your performance?

How you respond to your customer is a good indicator of how you will do business, how quickly you will deliver products, how quickly you will support your customer and how then can come to rely on your service.

Focus on response time will drive your business.

Greville Commins