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7 Reasons Why You (Probably) Need a New Website

I spoke with the owner of a manufacturing company recently who asked “why should I invest money in a new website when I already have good clients and I don’t deal with the public?”

 

In another discussion, a client stated, “We need to keep our costs as low as possible, so perhaps we’ll look at a revamping the website next year.”

 

As an experienced marketer, I found it incredible that seasoned and capable managers could have these viewpoints. Obviously, if times are tough and you need to choose between a new website and paying your staff and suppliers, marketing should take a back seat while you hunker down and prioritize payments. However, if you are simply waiting until your cash flow is particularly flush before addressing your website, waiting for the “right” time may be your downfall.

 

An effective website is a crucial piece of your marketing arsenal and shouldn’t be put-off or overlooked as an effective conduit for sales. Despite management’s best intentions, very few websites are actually designed to facilitate the sales process. Simply listing what you do and including a map as to where you are, won’t cut it anymore. The real role of a website is to interest and engage those who aren’t already sold. To educate those who don’t know about your product/service or how it can benefit them. To position your company and product/service favourably with customers and prospects. To initiate or nurture strong relationships.

 

Here are seven reasons why your website is important, and deserves your attention:

 

1) Powerful Prospecting

 

Whatever you sell and whoever you sell it to, your market is doing its research online. Prospects are clarifying product info and qualifying your company as a worthy supplier. If your website isn’t designed and edited to engage viewers and facilitate the sales process, you’re losing potential sales.

 

2) Create Caring Customers

 

We all understand the value of our customers and the importance of nurturing those relationships. Websites are an opportunity to always have the porch light on and the welcome mat out. A warm place where customers can be reminded of what you do, as well as learn about services they had no idea that you provide. It’s easy to take existing clients for granted, so review your website every now and then with a customer-centric point of view and ensure you’re addressing their needs and affirming their decision to do business with you.

 

3) Engage Employees

 

Using your online presence to motivate and retain employees is an important aspect that should go beyond a website application form. Featuring your team online, highlighting social outings, participating in blog articles… there are many ways to involve company staff in the website and welcome them as part of the family.

 

4) Build Brand

 

Brand sets the tone and positions your organization in the minds of your audience. Your website should be a hub for your brand. The design, messaging, and functionality combine to deliver a user-experience that will either support or malign your brand. A strong brand will help you gain sales, recruit talent, attract solid suppliers and please the public; so how is your website supporting your brand?

 

5) Supercharge SEO

 

In order for people to do business with you, they have to first of all, find you. Your website is not only your opportunity to tell your story, but it can serve as the magnet to attract viable prospects, too. Properly setting up your site for SEO and having strategically written content will lead to more traffic based on relevant organic searches. This increases your website’s potential to deliver qualified leads.

 

6) Responsive Design

More and more people are searching the web on their smartphones. In fact, this past Christmas season, Amazon shipped over 3 billion packages and 72% of those orders were made on a mobile device. Whether you have an e-commerce site or a blog, making your website easy to navigate and read is critical. A responsive website adapts to the screen size so laptops, tablets and smartphones can all provide an enjoyable user-experience. It also helps with your Google rank, as the search engine giant appreciates sites that adapt to the users’ screen, and penalizes websites that don’t.

 

7) Accessibility

In some states and provinces, having a website that is accessibility by people with a disability is regulated. In Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) outlines how your website must comply (based on WCAG 2.0 criteria). It covers colours and contrast, size of type, consistency and ease of navigation, Alt text for all images… there’s a long list of design and technical considerations to optimize the user-experience for a variety of users with different abilities. Not only is it good sense to make sure your website can be used by the entire populatin, but now it’s the law.

There are more reasons good reasons to look at what your website can be doing better for you; such as providing fresh content, facilitating administrative actions, creating process efficiencies, polling and intelligence gathering… what would you add this list?

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Image Credit:  IvelinRadkov / Getty Images

Nomophobia: The Reason Why Your Business Should be Mobile

You heard it first! Nomophobia!

Now before you start wondering what that is and how it impacts your business, just quickly look to your left, and now to your right or at the most, in your pocket. Did you find your smartphone yet?

women looking at phone in misty woods
gpointstudio/Thinkstock

Like 73% of people, if you don’t find your phone immediately or don’t feel it at hands reach, you might start to feel panicked or a little nervous and worried while trying to remember where it is. This fear of not finding your phone is called Nomophobia and as you can see, close to three quarters of your customers might be victim of the same faith. Now, how does that play in your favor? That means that more than half of your audience are always or constantly on their smartphone browsing the Internet to find new products, deals and the latest provider for their required service. If you are not mobile yet, this is the time to join the trend.

Nomophobia aside, 1st Aerial created an infographic that puts into perspective the importance that we place on our smartphone and main arguments why your business should be mobile friendly and offer a mobile adapted website. To see the full infographic, click here.

Now why should your business consider this statistic:

4.77 billion of mobile users worldwide

There are 4.77 billion people worldwide that own a smartphone. The statistic goes even further by confirming that more people own a smartphone than people that own a toothbrush. That is a massive audience that cannot be ignored. Although these people are still regular customers in your store or online on their laptop, the fact that so many people today own and use a smartphone can only mean more potential customers are moving their purchases online and will be getting a first impression about your brand through a phone screen instead of on a computer or in person.

crowd using cell phones
Michael Blann/Thinkstock

Without necessarily offering an app or bringing your entire business onto mobile, there are advantages of adapting your website to be mobile friendly and offer a great experience to your customer every time they look you up on their phone. My colleague, Claire Phillipowsky, also covered the topic of mobile friendly websites in The New Mobile-Friendly Website Imperative: What all Top Businesses Already Know.

 

83% of internet usage is mobile

It is a fact that purchasing has moved online and more and more people will go into a store to evaluate an item but will most probably go online to find a great deal and complete their purchase. Now, on top of that already challenging step in the customer journey, nearly 83% are doing most of their internet searched on their mobile. This number clearly examplifies the current behavior of your customer and is a very good reason to be online and to easily be found when your name gets typed in to a search. As a business, you might already be investing in Adwords and online search advertising but make sure with your agency that mobile searches are being included in your potential reach.

 

More than 60% of people are more sociable with their mobile than real people

The survey showed that 35% of people admitted to looking at their phone when they are in public or have nothing to do. And another 33% said that they pretend to be busy in a restaurant or a bar by browsing through their phones instead of talking to people around them. So over 60% of your customers and potential customers are using their smartphones as an excuse to keep themselves occupied and not look bored. A great way to do that is to shop on their mobile, look up their next purchase and plan their next trip thanks to your mobile friendly website, your latest app or your SMS filled with tips.

two people using cell phones facing each other
Image Source Pink/Thinkstock

Out of sight, out of mind, so make sure to be present in your customers mobile experience and help them choose you as their ideal provider, partner or simple marketplace! For more advice about how to bring your business forward and add a mobile component to your marketing, meet with a PROSAR team member today.

The New Mobile-Friendly Website Imperative: What All Top Businesses Already Know

A mobile-friendly website is more important for businesses now than ever. To be mobile-friendly, a website must be designed with Responsive Web Design (RWD) in mind – meaning the content is designed to automatically adapt and restructure itself to work on smaller mobile screens.

Until a couple weeks ago, it was simply considered good business practice to become mobile-friendly, but Google has officially made it an online imperative. A couple weeks ago, Google’s search engine made a change that strongly and automatically prioritizes mobile-friendly sites over those that are not. This means that those without a mobile-friendly site will be pushed down the search results pages, making them not only harder to find, but also potentially landing them beneath their mobile-friendly competitors. This change can result in less web traffic to non-mobile-friendly sites, potentially resulting in lost sales.

A non-mobile-friendly site now says one of a few things about a company, either: it cannot or will not spend the money to go mobile, it doesn’t care, or that it is completely oblivious to the needs of its market. The future is changing and its time to adapt or face losing out on missed opportunities.

If this hasn’t convinced the undecided, here are a few more of the many other reasons to become (and suggestions for becoming) mobile-friendly.

PROSAR-Blog-Mobile-Phone-Users-ThinkstockPhotos-172589164

 

1)   Make it easy and straightforward.

A company should make navigating their website as effortless as possible. This will allow users to have a positive experience and encourage them to more fully engage with the brand. It will also encourage them learn about the company and allow them to easily find what they are looking for. Annoyance caused by a difficult to navigate site can translate to them leaving earlier than you would have liked (or expected).  Whether or not there is great content on the site, if it is difficult to find, view or interact with on mobile, it won’t matter. The great online content in the world won’t appear so wonderful if it is hard to access and difficult to read. It’s not just what you say, the method and framework you use to convey it is equally important.

 

2)  Focus on mCommerce: Don’t limit yourself to eCommerce

If you do eCommerce, it’s become even more of an imperative to focus on improving your mCommerce (mobile online commerce). In fact, by the end of 2015, mCommerce is projected to account for 40% of all global eCommerce transactions, and 1/3 of all U.S. eCommerce transactions. The numbers are on their way there already: in Q1 2015, smartphone share of mCommerce transactions has grown more than 10% in the U.S.

Importantly, in Q1 2015 in the U.S., while the conversion rates are higher with desktop, smartphones garner much more traffic than desktop, resulting in more paid online transactions overall.

Other non-western markets see mobile mCommerce conversions accounting for as much as 4x more transactions. Improvements are being made everyday in Western markets by companies to improve the mobile shopping experience and improve their mobile conversion rates. This Q1 2015 Criteo report on the State of Mobile Commerce says a focus will be placed improving the product browsing experience and mobile payment process in Western markets.

Another insight from the report: Mobile purchases tend to happen during consumers’ leisure hours before and after work, while desktop transactions tend to happen at work. So, if you want to capture consumers outside of work hours: be sure to go mobile-friendly.

 

3)  Heed the Rule of Thumb.

Two fingers (thumb and pointer finger) are required to expand small text and images on non-mobile-friendly sites. If people need to do this to navigate a site or consume online content on a smartphone (or tablet), then they will feel that it requires too much effort. If a company’s online content is not easy to select and use with a fat thumb (or single finger), then they should think about RWD. Today, more and more people prefer to use their thumb (sometimes thumbs) to text and to click on online content from a smartphone. (And, while a single pointer finger might be used more often on a tablet than a thumb would – a single digit doing less work is preferred).

Finally, think about how and where people use their smartphones. Many people hold their phone in one hand, and use the other hand to do other things, such as: hold onto the subway bars or carry a coffee. This makes using two fingers to expand and read text nearly impossible. It is key for companies to optimize their sites for this “in-between” time, as well – time that customers could be spending on their websites becoming more familiar with the company or making a purchase.

In short, the mobile imperative can no longer be ignored. Companies who were waiting for a time to act must do so now, in order to stay competitive in this ever-evolving online world.