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Stuck Building Your Own Website? Try these Website Building Ideas

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Consider these branding basics to build your own website

Are you stuck trying to build your own website?  You're not alone! A 2014 Altimeter Group study suggests that you know the importance of moving into digital, but have no idea where to start. Of the executives studied, 88 percent say they have begun a digital transformation, but only 25 percent say they have their customer's digital experience mapped out. In other words, they don't know what exactly to do, and how to successfully use the website and other social media to meet their goals.

Where do you start and what website building ideas are out there? Joerg Niessing, Affiliate Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, suggests that before you make the plunge into digital marketing, make sure your brand follows some basic principles. 

1. Customer Orientation - Make sure you know your customer's wants and needs. Who do they want to be? More than presenting a customer with a product or service, your website should make the customer feel positive about your company, positive about doing business with you, and assured that your company represents their own lifestyle choices. One famous example is Apple's "Think Different" campaign, which associated computer choice with a lifestyle of creativity, innovative thought and not fitting in with the general society. Other websites focus on their customers' love of music, sustainable or green lifestyles, or desire for community. Niessing quotes the sales director of Harley-Davidson, who said, "We sell lifestyle and give away free motorbikes." Look for ways your customers want to express themselves. It is just as important now as it ever was to follow the lead of your customers--this requires both listening and empathy. Be aware of not only what the customers need, but make intuitive connections with consumers and how they want to feel. 

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2. Segmentation - Specialize for your customers--create a niche. Many retailers and manufacturers who believe their products benefit everyone end up pleasing no one. Only monopoly companies can afford to talk about "average" consumers or products. Everyone else must think seriously about which consumer segment to focus on. Niessing says that the "mass market" approach is tremendously dangerous in the digital era, "Brands should be constantly assessing and re-assessing their audience." Take, as an example, two vitamin companies. Each manufactures a daily multiple just for women. One has a website that focuses on the ingredients in the multiple and how each one benefits women of all ages. Another has a website that is for young mothers. Along with the benefits of the vitamin, it has blogs on motherhood issues, health tips, recipes for baby food, lifestyle articles. Which website has the more committed followers? You already know the answer. By segmenting your audience, you may lose the interest of some of your customers, but you'll make fervent fans out of others.

3. Integrated branding at every consumer touchpoint - The brand identity has to translate across various media, communities, and technologies. This is where the help of a full-service marketing team can help you the most. The messages you're conveying across various media platforms must be aligned. From something as seemingly small as an online special being recognized in-store, to the overall voice and tone of the entire brand and corporate message, all must be consistent from one medium to the next. Your website must be consistent with your overall branding message, which is reflected in packaging, the interior design in your store, print collateral, advertising, and social media.

As consumer trust moves away from paid messages (TV or print ads) and gravitates towards peer-generated reviews, there are many challenges to face, but more than anything, Niessing advises to make sure you have thought through the basics--customer orientation, segmentation, and integrated branding--before you invest in digital marketing. To learn more, contact us.

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