A selling-effective website is a powerful and complex production. It is the equivalent of a sales representative, but is likely to be many times more effective in this modern ‘Permission Marketing‘ world. The website must be visible enough to be found by potential purchasers looking for suppliers. It then must be engaging enough that it helps to ‘close the sale‘.
Many skills must work together if the website is to be selling-effective. It is completely ineffective to take a sales brochure and ask a website designer to develop a website from it. As shown in the table below, the website designer will be putting in less than half the effort required to create the effective website. Note that the percentages are given only for purposes of illustration but are likely to be the right magnitude.
About one quarter of the effort must be put in by the company management in clarifying the company Internet Marketing Strategy and in setting the objectives for the website. As discussed elsewhere, strategy is tough. It requires a knowledge of the needs of customers in the target market niche. The company must understand its competition and invest in being able to offer a competitive advantage to potential customers. The review process to confirm strategy may well benefit from the presence of an outside coach or mentor to ensure all aspects are thoroughly considered.
The project team involved in constructing the website must have all the marketing experience and technical skills to ensure all tasks listed in the table are handled well. What is often missing are the skills required for the middle three columns, Search Engine Visibility, Usability and Credibility. These cannot be grafted on to the website once constructed. They must be considered right at the start and must be set out in detail in the specification given to the website designer.
More details on the thinking behind these concepts was set out in Newsletter 32, Make Your Website Your Most Powerful Sales Representative.