Welcome to the REDISCOVER YOUR BRAND podcast. My name is Jason McCoy, I’m going to be your host today and this is EPISODE # 3.
Today, we’re going to be discussing the importance of combining web and print for marketing success.
But first, I want to let you know we’re planning an upcoming question and answer podcast episode that will feature your questions. If you’d like to submit your question to be featured on our upcoming Q & A episode, go to our website PODCAST.ARTVERSION.COM, again that’s PODCAST.ARTVERSION.COM, to submit your question and we will include your question in our question and answer episode which we’ll be doing in a couple of weeks, and we’ll be happy to answer your question…
Web marketing seems to be taking over the world, and for good reason. A solid web site and web marketing campaign can do more for a business than most people realize. However, we’d like to suggest today that a campaign that uses BOTH web and print can make an even stronger statement.
By combining the two mediums, you can play off one another’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, web articles need to be shorter and have more white space and only use specific fonts to help the eye from getting overly tired. Therefore, print would be a great way to put out longer pieces of information, such as a long brochure.
Putting information on the web means that it’s available to potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It also doesn’t have a mailing cost, and you can allow customers to easily download PDFs of brochures and forms.
The key is to be totally consistent in your design. Having different colors, graphics, or messages from print to web will only confuse customers and devalue your efforts. The images and ideas that you have on your website should naturally flow to any print.
However, by mailing marketing materials to customers you are making the statement that you are invested in what you do. You are legitimizing your business. There are so many pros and cons to both print and web. While web is definitely the place to concrete most marketing efforts, incorporating a print campaign can add authority to any marketing efforts. Lets explore the benefits and weaknesses to both and then why it is a good idea to combine the two.
As you already know, websites are essential for any company. Not only are they a source of information for customers, they are also a inexpensive way to market. There are some key elements that need to be kept in mind in order for a website to be successful.
Designing a good website is about more than picking a color scheme and slapping on a header. The truly great websites have a few elements that need to be top-notch in order for the website to wow.
1. Web Content
A website without content is just art. Therefore, content comes first. Good content breaks into two groups.
The first part is: the content needs to be well written, easy to read, and it should achieve its goal. Whether that is to sell products or communicate a story, if the content doesn’t achieve what it set out to do, the whole website is a bust. Web content is the most important part of a website. It informs readers of the information that they came to find. Key ideas or important facts should be easy to locate and stand out on the webpage. Main ideas should be clearly stated with supporting ideas kept to a minimum. Having too much unnecessary text has the potential to turn off readers. Web content should be written in an easy to follow manner. When possible, try to avoid using abbreviations. Use familiar words in web content and avoid the temptation of using terminology that is not common knowledge. Readers should feel like they can easily understand what is being said without having to stop to look up the meanings of words.
The second part to content is the way it is arranged. It needs to flow so the eye naturally goes to the next sentence, paragraph, or page. The first sentence in each paragraph should house the main idea. Paragraphs should make sense and transition easily from topic to topic. Hey- Weve all been there. You go to a website trying to find out a little more information and within minutes are so disgusted with the organization that you are turned off. Who has time to spend trying to decipher what a company is saying? You don’t, and neither do your customers.
2. Web Usability
Good website design means that visitors should be able to go from point A to point B by following a natural path that requires no heavy thought. Keep it simple. Some websites choose to have many, many tabs, which can be confusing. However, there are good ways and bad ways to navigate these tabs. As long as they are organized and logically move from one to another, using a lot of tabs can be a great way to organize information.
Lets look at two examples. Our first example is Bank of America. Their website is designed to keep it simple. Immediately upon visiting their site you are faced with the most promanite feature in Bright red (echoing the company colors) is their online sign in for their website. This is an excellent choice for an attention grabber, considering most visitors are probably trying to check on their accounts. But lets say that they aren’t looking to log into their account, but rather another reason. No problem. There are 5 main tabs that would be hard to miss. Bank, Borrow, Invest, Protect, Plan. That pretty much sums up what Bank of America has to offer its customers, and doesn’t leave the reader searching for longer than needed. Within minutes a current or potential customer has the access to open a new account, refinance their mortgage, invest their money, or look at insurance options. Their website is simple, easy to navigate and draws attention where it is needed. There is not a lot of added or unnecessary text. If I customer is not interested in life insurance, they do not have to navigate through several paragraphs on life insurance until they find the banking information. By keeping the tabs simple, the customer chooses what they would like to see.
For our second example, let’s look at Citigroup. Unlike Bank of America, Citigroup has designed their website to attract not just individuals, but also investors, and corporations. It has multiple dimensions to it, so naturally it is not quite as simple. Keeping this in mind, it is still rather easy for a reader to navigate their website. Citigroup presents its readers with rotating visual display that showcases its most important attributes. It has a section for the individual looking to logon to their account, a business trying to up their cash flow, as well as corporations.
Both of these companies, deal with banking, and are successful fortune 500 companies. Their approach to the websites are different, because they are marketing to their target audience. Both companies do a good job keeping their site navigations rather simple.
3. Web Design
Web design is very important. A bad design can ruin a website and cause visitors to turn away. The design needs to look professional and have a theme that runs through the entire site. From the header to the footer to the sidebar, the look should be cohesive. Your website should show the companies theme and purpose right away. It is a place for character of your company to shine through, as well as to reinforce branding. A website should feel like a complete unit with no missing elements. It should be interactive, and engaging. In todays multi-media world, it takes a little more to get our attention. We are used to being entertained by multiple dimensions and getting our information fast. Your website should reflect that. Give your viewers a reason to want to return time and time again. Give them a sense of purpose, and encourage them to feel empowered. They should leave your site feeling better than they did when they arrived.
Let’s look at another example. Wal-Mart. Love them or hate them, Walmart has been ranked #1 on the fortune 500 list two years in a row. Coincidence? Not really. Successful companies are successful for a reason. This is evident even when you take a look at their website. You are instantly greeted with the highlights of what they are selling. This week for instance, is all about summer fun! Pictures of various outdoor items are displayed, as well as items for taking a summer road trip. Tires are on sale, portable DVDs, as well as GPS systems are all featured. There is an advertisement for Kraft featuring a famous summer pastime- SMORES! And towards the bottom of the page you will find a college summer checklist. Walmart knows what a customer has on their mind at this particular moment. Their goal is to be prepared and to be one step ahead of their customers. They want to be ready when their customers are looking for their summertime items. And if they haven’t started thinking of it yet, Walmart wants to get them started on it. Not only is the Walmart layout familiar to the returning customer, it evokes a positive feeling and a sense of purpose. Perhaps you were just visiting to see get pictures printed, but now you are instantly aware that summer is upon us. You having been meaning to go camping with your family at that lakeside retreat a few hours away, especially before your oldest child goes off to college. You really should get tires on the car before you leave, and it would be helpful to have a GPS system to navigate the trip. You can’t have the campout without a tent and of course it goes without saying that you need to get the necessary ingredients to roast Smores. Good thing you can accomplish all of these tasks under one roof. Walmart knows how important a good design should be. And because of it, they reap the rewards.
Ok. We have seen the benefits of having a good web design, and making sure your content is informative and effective. But what about print? Is there a place in today’s world for good old fashion print? The answer is yes. Print can be a powerful advertising tool. Advertising in a newspaper, allows you to reach an enormous amount of people without being intrusive. In addition it is usually a lower cost method of advertising. Going with a magazine allows a company to focus in on a specific target audience. If your target audience is sports players, then advertising in sports illustrated would make the most sense. Likewise if you are trying to target teenage girls, advertising in Seventeen Magazine would capture a large amount of your target audience.
Most magazine readers are loyal subscribers. Seeing your company advertised in their favorite magazine will help add to your credibility with the customer. Another bonus of magazines is that they have a long life span. They will often be passed on to friends or family, or even sit in a doctors office where hundreds of people will read it. In addition to magazine or newspaper advertisements there are other types of print. A brochure or another similar kind of print suggests that you are credible. You are investing money into your company and that you are more than a fly by night business. It also helps to reinforce your product, inform your customer, and persuade them that they need to do business with you. It is a familiar source of information for most people.
This being said, lets take a second to discuss the negatives of print. It is expensive to print brochures, advertisements and flyers. Not to mention the cost of postage can really ad up. In addition it is not easy to change print if you happen to discover a mistake or want to go in a different direction. Web marketing on the other hand is very inexpensive, and as we have already discussed, is a very successful way to market. But what about combining the two?
There are many benefits of combining print and media. It is important to understand why a company needs to be consistent in their message and their branding. A customer that feels comfortable with a company is likely to come back time and time again. When faced between a company that they don’t know well and one that they are familiar with, they are more likely to go with what is familiar. That being said it is very important that whatever information you put out, it stays the same. Your company message, colors, logo and fonts should stay the same regardless if we are talking about a letter head, a website, or a brochure. Going back to our Walmart example, when a customer gets the Sunday paper and looks at the Walmart advertisement, they already can relate because it has the same look and feel as their website. Both the print and the website use the same logo and colors and all of the other marketing materials put out by Walmart. Because of this, the customer knows where to look and where to be directed, therefore giving them a sense of security and familiarity. The message is the same no matter if they are looking at a print or at a screen, “Always low prices, Always Walmart.” From this example we can see the importance of consistency. Keep it simple, keep it consistent, and you will keep your customer.
…That’s it for EPISODE #3 of REDISCOVER YOUR BRAND. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a minute to rate the show on ITUNES.
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Don’t forget about our upcoming question and answer podcast episode where we’ll answer your questions. To submit your question and have it featured on our upcoming Q & A episode, go to PODCAST.ARTVERSION.COM, again that’s PODCAST.ARTVERSION.COM, to submit your question and we will include your question in our upcoming question and answer episode.
Next time on the REDISCOVER YOUR BRAND podcast EPISODE #4, we’ll be going into detail about the many factors you need to consider before embarking on a website redesign. And we’ll also explain user interface design. That’s next time, until then, Thank you for listening – I’m Jason McCoy helping you REDISCOVER YOUR BRAND.