Is Your Website Losing You Sales?
The New Must-Have Customer Strategic Edge
By Thomas B. Cross CEO TECHtionary and SocialStreamingTV.com
When it comes to website design, layout, navigation, use, images, tracking and much more it seems like everyone is an “art critic.” Like that other subject that one person said they can’t tell you what it is, but they know it when they see it. No one likes their website, not even the designers because there is always someone who doesn’t like something about it. Companies spend tens of millions on redesigns to reposition their products, solutions and if there is a brand expert on the team, the project could take years. Branding people seem to think that everything from a fire hydrant to a blimp or now spaceship should have the brand on it. People don’t think of Walt Disney when they go to Disneyland or World, they think of the rides, fun, Mickey Mouse and all the other swag. Some of the key trends being batted around are: Horizontal scrolling aka carousels, 3D everywhere makes you feel like you are falling into a cave, Multimedia and Augmented reality experiences which is a great idea but as the saying goes “nice landing, wrong airport.” Here’s a few others that also seem to spend far too much on something that people aren’t really looking for either such as graininess whatever that is, muted colors which is something that if you remember the imagery on the iPhone3 and look at it today, you will notice the difference. Whether you or anyone else really cares is immaterial to what Apple thinks you need to be looking at. There’s a Gaussian blur which is yet another way of adding soft focus with shadow-borders and vapor or bubble-like experiences. Cartoons, geometric and asymmetric grids or both, dark mode, scrolling cards, audio, even retro to black-and-white are other tricks. No denying the effort that is spent on website design without regard to the content. Speaking of content is what designers forget the most. Yet that is not their fault they are designers not writers, they don’t know what you sell and frankly most don’t want to be bothered by that. Not saying that designers are not useful as we do like the “sizzle” in many things we do.
Content IS the Experience, Not the Website
Without content websites are just frankly just a waste of time and space. Yet thought leadership is the term used to describe what the role of the website should do, provide, lead, engage and be the experience the company wants the customer to know and understand. Thought leadership is hard work but it pays off in customer experience, engagement along with sales and support. Unless you are an ecommerce site from Amazon, Pinterest, Macy’s, etc. viewers are there not to browse but to buy. There is a fine line between offering “generic” brands and being annoying. If you haven’t noticed on the websites just mentioned and thousands of others they don’t even trying to engage with the viewer. This isn’t about “chatbots” which are more often not people on the other end at all. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others are just online versions of newspapers or classic newsfeeds with advertising and the side. Here is my recommendation for website content in two forms. First is all the content you need to do in the key phases of the customer experience – gain-close-retain shown in Figure 1. People wonder why marketing is so hard is because they think they need to do all of them. No, just do a few of them very well.
Second, once you have selected the types of thought leadership content from the gain-close-retain chart you need to build each one for all the different audiences such as by Title, Function, Customer Solution, Content/Context (this is more about the context), Technology (which could be a lot, but people don’t buy technology they buy solutions) shown in Figure 2.
You are pulling your hair out by now or screaming that you can’t do all of this or any of it. Yes, you can if you want to. Remember a confused mind always says NO. If customers are confused about your solutions, either UNconfuse them or wait, which could be a very long time before they will buy. The reason is simple that this approach works to reduce the sales cycle which could be a very long and you really need to sell everyone on the “evaluation team” before they will buy not just the person you are talking to who may not even but on the evaluation team or others who don’t have the authority to approve your solution.
Customer Experiential Communications
The next generation of websites will be customer experience within the website as well as from and going to it. That’s a bit to unpack but what Viking.TV (and possibly others but for this article this is a great example) “takes you virtually to the experience, explores indepth in many ways all the experiences that could happen and then takes you there for real.”
Image Courtesy Viking.TV
Most websites are about the website design, a few about the content and less about the design and most try but as mentioned earlier, don’t do either and don’t know what they are doing or where the viewer is there and where the viewer is going. Analytics is poppycock as one CMO said, they fill your head with numbers and don’t tell you anything about what you should do about them.
Image Courtesy Viking.TV
Viking.TV has integrated both daily (yes daily) live video streaming with ondemand videos of expeditions, history, books, photography, art, music and more. One person said, “you literally want like Alice in Wonderland to jump into the website.” Another said, “this is the most engaging website I have ever been on; you never want to leave and who would not want to go travel with them live and inperson.” Another said, “travel is complex enough with the pandemic and it is not going to get any easier, what Viking.TV does is bring the destination to you so when you can literally go to the destination. One a personal note we built 3D websites 20 years ago (yes have proof) when dialup was the norm and so bad timing for the design and content. Today, when one gigabit access is increasingly available almost anywhere the “blending of here and there” or inside the device to outside the real world is increasingly available to not just travel, tourism, destinations, camps, parks and more, the Viking.TV approach is a competitive and strategic advantage and a must-have business and consumer websites alike. Viking.TV combines many of the critical gain-close-retain concepts from Figure 1 and the critical customer content approaches shown in Figure 2. We are now building complex custom experiential content (CEC) management systems (formerly known as websites) along the lines of Viking.TV and would be delighted to help you on your next content development adventure. To get started on your new experiential journey email me at email@example.com.
References: There are far too many articles reviewed to include however, this one is good if you still want to do it the boring way https://webflow.com/blog/web-design-trends-2021
websites, website design, websitecreation, ecommerce, travel, tourism, tradeshows, museums, virtualmuseums, virtual resorts, resorts, virtual business, digital transformation, virtualselling,
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