Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The importance of keeping your corporate website up-to-date.

Always keep your website updated.
In spite of the recommendations that professionals who are dedicated to the world of marketing, advertising and social media offer their clients about keeping their corporate web pages updated, there are still many companies that pay little or no attention at all to this subject.

For today’s post, I will exclusively be referring to your corporate website, because I’m going to be sharing with you a story I’ve been going through recently and which could be, if you can picture yourself on it, very important for the growth (or not) of your business.

It all starts with the search.

I know it's something you should be familiar with, however, assuming you have a website. If you don’t have it yet, then read the following story I’m about to share with you.

Per my new job, I’ve to make contact with business prospects through Central and South America making use of listings and specialized directories published on the Internet. In the simplest of cases, these directories contain the name of the company, a phone number and corresponding website.

My first task is to gather information about the company I’m getting in contact with to make sure the company’s profile is compatible with the product we’re trying to sell. If there is no website, I take the phone and call the possible prospect, with the hope the person on the other side will explain me what the company is about and, on the best scenario, indicate me whether or not the company has a web page so that I can check everything myself in more detail and at my own pace.

If it doesn’t have a website, your business doesn’t exist.

Although it seems a very radical statement, it’s certainly true. Think for a moment that the Internet has created a true global village in which any business, no matter how small it is, may have a presence, if they want to do so.

In my case, what happens with the companies that don’t have a website and I can’t reach them on the phone? It's very simple: I delete them from my list of prospects to call and move on to the next one. It's that simple. No matter what size the company may have, or its relevance within the industry.

It’s about using time efficiently. Please note that for me (or your potential customer, if we were to think about it) all your company’s information is unknown until he can have access to it.

How am I (or your potential customer) supposed to know that your vintage car shop is the most recognized one in your country and has won four international awards, if there is no way for me to gain access to such information?

Your corporate website is (should be) more than a business card.

Your corporate website offers the perfect complement to enhance your sales people’s job. Why is it so? Because through your website you can showcase all the information you want about your business, your achievements, awards, products, catalogs, and all the information you might consider relevant to your customers, your industry, society and the world.

It’s not just a place to put a phone number, a physical address and a generic type email address such as info@thisismybusiness.com to which you will not even respond when someone submits a request.

There are thousands of ways to capitalize on your website and you will find many specialists on the web who can tell you what to do. The important thing is to take the most advantage possible out of it.

How does your customer know your page hasn’t been updated?

Your client may find that your website hasn’t been updated in many ways. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The footer that says "Date Last Updated" indicates some day five years ago.
  • The telephone numbers on your website are not current phones and it’s impossible to reach your company using them.
  • You have a tab for "News" and the last one published is dated three months ago.
  • When moving from the home page to any page, your potential client gets the “this page under construction".
  • You are still listing as contacts people that no longer work for the company.
  • If when filling out a contact or request form, your client receives a reply three weeks later, or simply does not receive any response at all.

And surely there will be many other ways in which your customer can see that your page is not updated.

The problem is not how much money you would have to pay to keep your website updated or not. The really complicated impact is the perception you can create in possible business prospects visiting your page.

Why should you keep your website updated?

In my case, for example, a company that I cannot contact by phone and has no website, or facebook, or something, disappears. The reasoning is simple: There are many similar companies in any industry and if the company hasn’t given importance enough to proudly communicating who they are, what they do and why we should do business with them, then they probably don’t have something important or different to offer or say, and become one more on the pile.

Although it may seem unfair, it isn’t. If a potential customer visits your site and it’s outdated, he could simply think your company is no longer in business, and will take his business somewhere else with a competitor.

And in this case, your competition is not necessarily the bigger company, or the best one. It could simply be the one who has paid a little more attention to maximizing the benefits that can be obtained from their webpage and using it to showcase what they do to the world.

So take advantage of it! Don’t let your customers visit and leave your website wondering what your company is about, with a clear misrepresentation of what your business is.

Make the most use of the space you already have and use it proudly to show what you do, what makes you different from others, and offer your customers many reasons to do business with you.

Related post: Relationship Value: What can you expect from social media?

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