Before the Internet, most all advertising followed the pattern of a one-way street. Advertising was an extension of marketing, and information flowed in one direction—from the advertiser's mouth/hand to the customer's ears/eyes.
On the Net, advertising and marketing lines blur, and sometimes the two are the same. Furthermore, the Internet isn't called the information super-highway for nothing. If you don't open your website for 2-way communication, your competitors will pull into the fast lane, pass you, and take your customers with them.
Here are some easy ways to capture and service customers with your website. If your website doesn't have these basic features, it's time for marketing to make adjustments. Does your web site:
1. Give information about the products/services, the company, new products/services, improvements?
2. Provide visitors with easy-to-find company stats—(toll free) phone and fax numbers, e-mail address, mailing and delivery address, and any others that apply to your firm?
3. Make it easy for customers to move from one screen to another and back to the Homepage?
4. Look simple, uncluttered, succinct.? Does it use both text and graphics to make it interesting and to appeal to people with different learning styles?
5. Empower customers, allowing them to help themselves with a click? Examples are on-line banking, on-line shopping and ordering, and various how-to's, as they apply.
6. Offer a separate e-mail click to contact your company easily?
Don't be afraid to try something new, as long as it meets your company's marketing objectives. Everybody's looking for the next new thing. And remember, a key concept for success today is that knowledge breeds growth. Customers now want information and involvement. Keeping the customer happy means keeping the customer.