Websites are relatively new, but the purpose they serve and the principles governing them are the same as the oldest marketing medium – the mail order catalogue. Let’s look at all the good things a catalogue does and whether they apply to the internet, and more importantly, if you could use these principles into transforming your website design into something much more customer-friendly, easier to use, and overall deliver a more pleasurable online marketing experience.
Give people what they want. The success of the mail order catalogue stems from making it more convenient for people to get what they want from choice of products they may prefer to buy. Catalogues are less threatening than going to a shop and give the customer a greater feeling of being in control. This is exactly what websites do, except that the technology has already made it simpler and sped up the process with just a press of a button. Online services are not only quicker, they are even better because of the ability to link users to a vast array of knowledge, and in turn, educate marketers on their preferences.
Lure your customers in with enticing offers. How do successful e-commerce companies build their databases? They do so by advertising their appealing offers. They keep making offers and in turn keep people’s attention. Look at any good website catalogue, and one thing you will always find a special offer, a discount or some sort of incentive to prompt people to act. These are always almost placed on the front cover and on the mailing form, for visibility. Again, you can use this principle to attract people to your website. Offers attract people. Bringing your business online gives you and the customers the advantage of speed. Just as you can offline, you can fine tune your targeting and make more relevant offers to your customers, based on the information your website can give you.
Label things clearly. Is it easy for customers to find what they want, and do so quickly? The best website catalogues allow for both busy and relaxed people to browse.
Sell more while they’re browsing. Marketers know that it’s a great time to sell when somebody has just bought from you. That’s why in website catalogues, you’ll always find offers bundled together. When you receive your order, you’ll find more offers. Amazon has mastered this trick by showing you similar items, items from the same group, etc.
Make browsing a pleasure. The more that people browse through, the more likely they are to buy. The same applies to a website as you can use a variety of tools to engage people in a pleasurable way. But remember that technology should help you, not hinder you, so don’t show off too many tricks and beware of using too much jargon. Make sure everything on your site works, not just for people with fancy Macs, but more importantly, for people at home who browse on their PCs.
Keep in mind different people use large or small screens, and different web browsers. The advanced technology designers will be itching to use is not in many people’s homes. So consult with your web designer on what kind of content could work best for you.
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