It’s time to update your website, or perhaps you are launching your first-ever site. You’ve got so many options for web providers—from companies selling template solutions for under $300 to high-end experts. As your most important marketing asset, your website needs careful thought and reasoned strategy. Choose carefully whom you will entrust your all-important online marketing to.
Here are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
- Since most of your traffic will arrive via your homepage, it should clearly and concisely communicate exactly who you are and what you do, all within a few seconds.
- But some of your visitors will come to your site via sub pages, so be sure you have full contact information on every page.
- Your visitors are impatient. You can’t say everything about your company and services. But you need to define your key points with the goal of prompting a personal contact with your company. Include multiple calls-to-action within your site copy.
- Have defined site goals and determine in advance how you are going to measure success (drive sales, raise awareness, create buzz, engage and educate).
- Cut out the jargon and advertising “happy talk.” Communicate as straightforwardly as possible. Imagine your potential customer is sitting across the table from you.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is not an end in itself. It’s no good to be ranked #1 on Google if your site isn’t compelling. You’ll have lots of short visits with no conversions. Content is king!
- Have your site built with a Content Management System (CMS). This allows non-technical people to keep your site updated with current content without having to rely on an outside web company. And keeping your site updated will help with your Google ranking, since Google loves new content!
- People love to look. Consider communicating a complex concept through an interesting graphic, video or animation.
- Lay aside your personal preferences for the good of your site (you may love the color pink, but it’s not right for your construction company’s site).
- Appoint a few people from within your company to manage the project, and give them the authority to make decisions. Committees kill creativity.
- Your website has to be true to who you are (your brand). Customers expect that your company will be truthfully reflected through all your marketing touch points, and especially with personal face-to-face contact.
- Nowadays it’s important to assure your site reads well on mobile devices like the iPhone and Blackberry.
Hile has created an animated 30-second TV spot for their client Grasshopper. Gary the grasshopper, the corporate mascot Hile designed last year when the company changed its name from GotVMail to Grasshopper, has the starring role in the commercial. In the spot Gary morphs from one scene to another while his head remains in a consistent position throughout. Why? To help assure the brand message still gets expressed as TV viewers fast-forward through their commercials. The goal was to create an ad with visuals interesting enough that viewers have to stop fast-forwarding and watch them. An article posted on Wired by Eliot Van Buskirk explains the results of the study, performed at Boston College, and described in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Marketing:
“The act of fast-forwarding through ads causes viewers to pay even more attention to the center part of the screen—the better to know when to return to ‘play’—even as advertisements whipped past at 20x the normal speed without sound. Apparently, our brains are still able to process images and retain brand messaging even when we’re only seeing one out of every 24 video frames.”
The concept of the “TiVo proof commercial” was the brainchild of Grasshopper’s CEO, Siamak Taghaddos. Grasshopper is a Boston-based company offering virtual phone systems, which empower entrepreneurs to start and grow their small businesses from anywhere, using any phone. The company has won many accolades including: “66th fastest growing company” by Inc. 500, “Best entrepreneurs under 25” from Business Week, and “Top 40 under 40” from American Venture.
See the Hile Design–created Grasshopper commercial.
We’re pleased to welcome Tim Murphy, an illustrator from St. Louis, Missouri, as HileItes’ guest blogger today. We love the opportunity to showcase talented artists like Tim. Thanks, Tim, for being part of HileItes.
Hello all! Greetings from chilly St. Louis, Missouri. When Dave asked me to contribute a guest blog post to this space and discuss my work, I thought about the ongoing recession and how it mirrors the one during which I got my start. I decided to take a brief look at the early experiences that shaped my style, and detail how the skills I was forced to learn in a recession contributed directly to whatever success I may have eventually found. Hope you enjoy.
In 1995, fresh out of college and eager to become fabulously wealthy doing little more than doodling Wolverine in the margins of my notepad, I instead found that my hometown of St. Louis featured a creative industry centered around beer and little else. Never much of a drinker, and more naïve and snobbish than I realized at the time, I held my nose and accepted a role in a digital imaging group at a mid-sized sales promotion agency. Due to the recession, senior workers were being snubbed in favor of eager young (read: cheap) talent, so in retrospect it was a fabulous and rare opportunity to break into an industry that usually required years of experience. But, green as I was, I didn’t realize it at the time. Read the rest of this entry »