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(1) Does the site reflect your online goals?

Web sites may have many different purposes -- information, sales, branding, lead gathering, etc. Each purpose(s) reflects a goal you have for the site. Look closely at your site.

  • From the visitor's viewpoint, does it appear the site is designed to fulfill those goals?

  • Does it state on the home page what types of information the site contains?
  • Does it ask for their e-mail address on several pages?
  • Does it promote your product with power?
  • Does it emphasize the brand name and associate it with a strong image?

Each goal requires different design elements. One size definitely does NOT fit all purposes!

(2) Is the site designed to satisfy your Targeted customers' buying motives?

The two most dangerous assumptions of most Internet marketers make are . . .

(a) "If I built it, they will come." And
(b) "Everyone is my customer."

They won't come unless you have a strong online and offline marketing program -- one that promises them something they want. And once they show up in your ‘virtual store,' they must see at once that you really do have what they want.

People want different things, even when buying the same product. Teenage girls want something different in jeans than seniors do. If you tried to sell girls by using the same pitch you successfully used for seniors, it wouldn't work.

So why would you think your Web site will do any better with a "one size fits all" approach?

Marketing Psychology shows you the right way.

1) Determine who you want as customers. Describe them in detail.

2) Analyze their motivations for buying your product or service. They don't want your product! They want to buy the physical and psychological benefits it can create for them! For example, a Corvette is not just a means of transportation. It is a way to go fast and look cool.)

3) Determine the features of your product that promise them what they want, e.g. "Sleek styling," "0 to 60 is 6 seconds."

4) Design your Web site, and especially your home page, to stimulate those buying motives, then promise to satisfy them.

Remember, "Buying begins in the customer's Mind." That's where you should begin, too.

(3) Is the site easy to find by its name and through a search engine?

You know your site should be easy to find, but that's easier said than done. Most people look for a company they know by typing www.companyname.com. If your URL is different than your company name, you will miss quite a few searchers. If it must be different, try to make it easy to remember. Avoid numbers or meaningless "license plate" abbreviations, like www.1nyrhrt.com (First In Your Heart company).

Don't rely on search engines to save you, but be sure you register regularly. Get professional help in selecting the best key words, descriptions, and other codes that will put you as high as possible in the listings. The service we use is www.1-website-promotion.com. Most people never look past the first ten entries, so don't forget about other types of online and offline marketing.

(4) Does the site greet visitors in a friendly way and make them feel welcome?

Many online merchants think of Web site visitors like a television audience -- after all, there are millions of people out there who could drop by. But your visitors don't think of themselves as a television viewer.

They see your site as a small boutique. They've just walked in the door -- and they're the only customer in the house. They expect special treatment!

How would you help them in that situation? Personalized service? You bet. The more you can make them feel special, the more they will like you, and want to buy from you. If you treat them like a number, they'll treat you the same way.

Remember: When products and services are bought like commodities, the way to get an advantage is through good customer service.

(5) Does the homepage and site seem to reflect the type of audience it seeks to attract?

Your site must do more than promise to satisfy the buying motives of your visitors. It must also present that message in a way that reinforces the proper image of your company.

K-Mart can promise ‘cool' clothing all day long, but its image as a cheap discounter works against that promise. The same can be true of your site.

Your site's colors, graphics, language, fonts, sounds, and a dozen other factors all influence your visitors' impression. The closer that impression is to the one they want and expect to see, the better your image -- and the better chance they will buy.

How do you decide what to use? Age is a big factor. But there are other factors to consider: education, sex, socioeconomic level, where they live, even race make a difference.

That's why the more you know about your target customers, the more likely you will design a Web site they respond to. Remember, one size has never fit all, no matter what the ad says!

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