1. Site Design
Make sure that your Web site is professional and has a great design. You want your Web site to have a clean, tight look so that customers are compelled to return. Professional site design means having a Web site that is easy to navigate, has appropriate logos, has up-to-date information, answers customer questions, and doesn’t look like an amateur site. Use the techniques we have given you to ensure that you have a professional-looking, quality Web site. Make sure you incorporate the techniques in later chapters of this book to ensure that your Web site is optimized for search engines.
Never hide anything from your customers. Give them all the data that they need to make an informative decision about your products or services. Follow through on what you say you offer at your Web site to maintain credibility and trust. You don’t want to be identified and exposed in the media as a poor company, scam site, or rip-off artist. Bad news travels fast, and it travels even faster on the Internet. A great example of this is in a PowerPoint presentation titled “Yours Is a Very Bad Hotel,” authored by two extremely dissatisfied businessmen after their bad experience with a hotel. The hotel’s poor customer service and failure to hold a “guaranteed” room reservation was widely distributed on the Internet. As a result of the negative publicity, the nationwide hotel chain changed corporate policies and no doubt suffered from the unwanted attention. This is a superb example of very negative exposure that was spread virally and very quickly around the world – literally.
3. Customer Incentive
Make sure that you give your customers a reason to visit your site, to spend time browsing it, to interact with it, and most importantly, to return to it. Offer incentives by showcasing featured products or promotions, and use creative and new Internet tools, such as video and audio, to create an interactive experience.
4. Domain Name
Try to get your own domain name for your Web site. As simple as this concept may be, it makes the difference between prospects remembering who you are and moving on to your competition. Use brief, benefit-related terms for multiple-site URLs. Don’t rely on only one domain featuring your name or organization.
Using customer testimonials is a great way to promote the quality and reliability of your Web site and, more importantly, promote your products or services. This is an amazingly effective tactic. The media you create and the coverage that you get is a subtle, third-party referral to you. However, the strongest and most effective sales assistance comes from direct customer testimonials. We recommend using audio and video testimonials as well as printed quotes on your Web sites.
Remember that no matter how flashy or impressive your Web site may look, it is customer service, satisfaction, and reliability that keep them coming back. The success of your online strategy relies on combining all of the above tactics for maintaining successful online positioning and presence.