Why having a professional website is like wearing a suit to a meetingLeave a Comment (0) ↓
Firstly, let me qualify my heading. I may personally favour a proper business suit, but not every man wears the traditional suit and tie to a meeting. In fact, depending on what field you work in, it may be considered overly formal. Yet in most B2B circles, if you want to sell successfully to a professional buyer, you had better put your best foot forward. And that means having that foot well-shod with a shiny shoe: and even if you leave the tie at home and opt for non-matching jacket and trousers, make sure the colours match well. In fact, guys, take a lesson from the businesswomen, who know the importance of smart presentation.
Why the sartorial lesson in a website marketing article? Because I see far too many amateurish websites that are home-made, or have been turned over to students to complete – and they look like it.
Would you hand-write your business card or photocopy it from a Word document? Of course not. Then why skimp when it comes to what is today your most important presentational tool, your company’s 24-hour face to the world?
The essence of smart design
The analogy of a business meeting goes further. Having arrived and made your first impression, the second thing that you must do is to communicate clearly, in language that your potential buyers understand and will relate to. Often, there is a disconnect at this point – you will have your own industry’s jargon and acronyms, but that will not impress a person who does not speak your private language and would much rather you spell out your message in lay terms, focusing on what you can do for his or her business.
Now compare that with your current B2B website. Does it set out your products or services in data sheets that are long on dry technical jargon and woefully short on who should buy each item, and why? Ask friends who know nothing about your business to review your site and see what their reaction is. There’s a very good chance that they will either be underwhelmed or mystified by at least some pages. ‘About Us’ and ‘Products’ are often the worst offenders.
So much for the content – but also critical is the look and feel, the consistency of your colours, logos, fonts and imagery; both across the site, and with the other collateral that your company produces. This must all meet the requirements of your corporate Style Manual (you do have a style manual, don’t you?) Get this wrong, and we’re back to the mismatched shirt and tie.
Next up is consistency. I liken this to meeting the client in a new setting, say an outdoor corporate event, where they have only previously viewed you in a formal deskbound environment. Suddenly they see you in a whole new light – but how good do you look? In website terms, if they were to look you up for the first time using their smartphone or tablet, how well would you present yourself? Sadly, a year or more since Google announced that it would demote sites that were not properly mobile-responsive, I see all too many B2B examples that have not updated and are suffering as a result.
When design seems ‘too easy’ – it generally is
What to do about all this? With the arrival of cheaper template web building tools like WordPress, it is relatively easy to knock up a halfway presentable website. The trouble is that it encourages people to believe that they are suddenly pukka web developers or designers. They often end up with an identikit, static website: the equivalent of a dull, ill-fitting, cheap suit that does nothing to differentiate the salesperson from a host of others.
But if the thought of hiring a web builder frightens you due to high costs and meetings with weirdly-dressed ‘creatives’ who do not understand your business, then fear not. We at Hannon Digital will visit you and work with you in the UK, promising to be well attired and to be businesslike and empathetic. While our in-house team of graduate digital experts in Mumbai take care of the software. We create responsive, socially-enabled (and very affordable) websites that are tailored to fit your company and to present you as smartly as a made-to-measure designer suit.
To arrange a meeting and see how well we fit, contact Colm Hannon – firstname.lastname@example.org