29 October 2012

Are You Putting Your Best Foot Forward?

This post is written by contributing author Genevieve Brazelton. 

Often, when someone comes up with a product or business idea they jump right into getting the word out as soon as the website is up. All the buzz about getting traffic, making sales, and reaching clients can get in the way of the real question. Are you putting your best foot forward? It’s far better to build a bit of mystery while getting all your ducks in a row than it is to put the word out there when you’re not fully ready.

First impressions are key and a customer’s first experience on your site or in your store will greatly influence whether they come back or tell their friends. No matter how long you’ve been in business, but especially if you’re just starting out, I encourage you take a good look at your business and ask yourself these questions.

Do you have a cohesive brand?
A brand tells a story, conveys a feeling, and supports a lifestyle. Is yours strong enough to be recognized out of context? If someone saw your logo and your tagline removed from your website or marketing materials would they have any idea of what you do? Most importantly do you clearly communicate how you’re different from the competition?

Is your website user friendly?
If people can’t find what they’re looking for quickly and easily they will move on. Is your navigation easy to use and understand? Do you have professional photos that clearly illustrate your product or service and draw the customer in? Do you answer all the questions that come up most frequently?

Your website is your storefront, everything should be in tip top shape, all your links should work and be up to date, and you shouldn’t have any typos. This is your public face.

Have you considered the customer’s experience?
Take the time to go through your website as though you were your customer, can you get where you want to go from any page? Is it easy to purchase and go through the checkout process? Are there things that get in the way or aren’t clear? Make it as easy as possible every step of the way.

Is your website working for you?
Your website is your most valuable marketing tool, put it to work. Make sure it tells your whole story. Do you have a kickass about page? Have you gotten press? Make sure to share those links. If a blogger or writer were to land on your site would they find enough information to get them excited? Can visitors sign up for a newsletter, find your Facebook page or Twitter account? Think of your website as home base for all things business. 

Also remember not to get stuck in analysis paralysis. A brand and business can and should grow and mature. However, doing the absolute best you can at every stage is a great business practice. There’s always room to step it up a notch.

Genevieve Brazelton endlessly researches the newest ideas in creative and social media marketing so you don’t have to. Genevieve’s strength is her keen outside perspective and sometimes infuriating logic that puts structure to dreams and lays out paths to goals. She is also the business side of Lightbox SF. Read more about her here.
Connect to Genevieve via twitter or facebook.