At this point in the evolution of the web, if a company doesn’t have a web site, there is a great deal of confusion on the part of the potential customer. Did I not spell the name correctly? Did they change their name recently? Did they go out of business? The possibility that a website for a particular brand, company (and in many cases, even individuals) doesn’t exist is simply unfathomable. Surprisingly, many small businesses – as many as half in fact – do not have a web site.
Even those that do have a web presence often view their website as more of a “check box” – we have a website and it has our contact information on it, so no need to ever update it again! If you happen to be Warren Buffet you might be able to get away with that, but for the rest of us, a well designed, frequently updated website is a key marketing initiative that will help garner new customers and provide specific information for current ones.
At Shift One Labs we work with clients to help them build a strong online presence. A website is only as useful as its CMS (a database application that provides website text, images, and multimedia content). A well-implemented CMS system is just like the person at work that everyone turns to for help. Their title or official role may not be lofty, but they are the ones that can get things done quickly and painlessly. CMS systems are vital to a company’s marketing efforts since they help create a consistent customer experience across an organization’s online properties, as well as provide internal messaging for employees. Allowing both customers and employees to have a consistent, specific concept of your company is one of the easiest ways to distinguish yourself from your competitors and build brand visibility.
One of the long-term trends that will continue to make a significant impact for customers and employees going forward is the increasing use of mobile devices to access information. Whereas not having a web site used to be an issue, the lack of a mobile-friendly site is increasingly becoming a red flag for potential customers. Over time, this trend will accelerate even faster with additional non-desktop options becoming more common – including tablets, wearable devices (such as the forthcoming Apple Watch) as well as embedded and “constantly connected” devices. Furthermore, younger generations are increasingly accustomed to accessing vast amounts of information via their phone and using desktops only for homework – Millennials, for example are the largest group of cell phone owners and the adaptation rate is still growing. In order to properly leverage all of these changes, small and large companies alike will need to create a powerful content management system that not only takes your current needs into account, but is designed with future technologies and uses in mind. Combined, these tools offer companies a powerful marketing outlet that will have a significant impact on your marketing efforts and help increase ROI. In essence – if a potential customer is looking for you, make sure you can be found.