While there are many aspects to developing an integrated internet marketing strategy, everything begins with a well-designed website. Think of it as your home base, your store if you will – the place where prospective clients can always find you, 24/7, 365.Having said that, it is not necessary to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars hiring a website designer to create such a site for you. In fact, you can actually contract for a great website, built on WordPress, for something less than $2000. WordPress is easily the largest content management system (CMS) in the world, and is also the most Google-friendly approach to setting up your website. Believe me, that has value and cannot be ignored.
7 Elements of a Successful Designer Website
A basic website will require three pages: Home, About, and Services. It should also have a Blog, allowing you to post regular updates and/or important information that enables the search engines to see your site as relevant, timely, and informative.
- Home Page – Yes, first impressions are still important and, since approximately 60-65% of your visitors will land on your Home Page before any other, your content must make an impression on them. It must be benefits-based, and must also compel them to action: whether scrolling down or clicking through to more information, opting-in to your mailing list, or clicking a link to contact or to hire you, your Home Page copy must lead them into further action.
- About Page – Here is where visitors will begin to get to know you: your training and experience, your motivation, your skill set, and your desire to help them. As they learn about who you are, you’ll begin to create interest and build loyalty, two crucial aspects of the copy you post here, and an absolute necessity for overcoming the impersonal nature of internet marketing.
- Design Services Menu – Here is where you begin to display and reinforce the benefits your visitors will enjoy from working with you as their designer. Create and display design packages that illustrate your understanding of their needs, as well as the specific solutions you offer to satisfy their pain points. While some prospects may be amenable to a “Click her for an estimate” appeal, most will want to see something they can identify as meeting their needs. If you haven’t already, create something that offers such a resolution.
- Compelling Images – It should go without saying that images of previous work will be important to your success. Sprinkle pictures of rooms you’ve designed for others throughout all of your pages, allowing the imagery to do much of your work for you. Identify any high-profile work you’ve performed, as well as smaller jobs that you believe speak most clearly to your target audience.
- Interesting Videos – Nothing is more compelling than video for marketing. Using before-and-after video of the rooms you’ve reimagined for your clients may be your greatest tool in landing new contracts. With current technology, creating a clear and compelling video representation of your work has never been easier. If you can include a few comments from the satisfied client – even better.
- Client Testimonials – Client testimonials are the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. When combined with compelling copy and beautiful images, praise from satisfied clients boosts confidence in prospects and enhances your reputation as a creative – dependable – designer who can be trusted. Hard to imagine anything more effective when you're marketing your design services online, is it?
- Blog Page – Gone are the days where simply putting up a cool website and waiting for the clients to hire was possible – if those days ever existed. (Hint – they didn’t!). Modern internet marketing requires an ongoing flow of fresh information, if you hope the search engines will take notice of your site, that is. If the key to successful retail is all about location, then the key to successful online marketing is content – fresh information that appeals to an identifiable audience. This is where your blog becomes your ultimate tool for long-term success. Post regularly and offer good stuff!
With the right help (and we’ll get into where to find that help in a later post), creating an effective business website is not as daunting as it may seem. As long as you keep in mind the 7 elements of a successful website outlined above, you should have little trouble finding a niche to fill.