Website As Platform
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Lots of companies think of their corporate website as the ultimate destination for customers. They tend to gauge success in terms of hits, visits, and time spent per visit. While these are important criteria, consider these user experiences that don’t include a visit to your website:
* User gets an email triggered from your web publishing system. The email contains a post about a sale on shoes that starts this Friday. She forwards the email to a friend and makes plans to meet for dinner at the restaurant next door to you. Result: 2 sales come Friday
* User subscribes to your RSS feed and keeps up with all your posts on his My Yahoo page. He sees that you have an expertise in construction law, and he tells his father— a foreman for a concrete company— all about you. The father calls 411 to get your number and becomes a key client
* User does a search for “Chicago dentist Logan Square” at Google. They see your ad on the right-hand side of the screen, as well as in the #1 spot in the search results. They call the phone number from your listing, turn off their computer, and make an appointment for next Tuesday
In each of these instances, your website led to more business— but no one ever looked at it! Moreover, the evidence of the effectiveness of your site won’t show up in the traditional measures.
Upshot: Your website is a platform for influence— the essential start to any online sales & marketing strategy. But there are a multitude of ways that your website can influence positive buying decisions other than a simple visit to your site.