How important is your online identity?

It can raise serious credibility concerns.

By Vincent Gentile      www.avminternetsolutions.com

There are several considerations in preparing and evaluating your online image. Statistics show that over 80% of consumers will research a product or service online in considering most decisions. Today’s consumer will research online, at home, prior to making a decision to buy a product, order a service,  or even making a decision to meet.

In other words, eighty percent of the time, a company’s online image is the very first impression a potential customer will have of that company. In years past, it was acceptable to just be online and the overall web image and experience wasn’t as critical. This is not the case today, users expect a different experience and the internet provides tons of options to its users. Users are knowledgeable and immediately evaluate a company by the quality of its web presence. Furthermore, it can raise questions about the company.

Do they not care about how they look online..?
Can I trust their ability to provide a service or deliver on commitment..?
How friendly will they be to work with..?

A website identity should capture the user during the initial 6-7 seconds on the website. The user should be able to identify what the company does and who they are; quickly giving the user the option of driving deeper into the site or moving on to another option.

What do you want the user to do upon visiting your website…?

Is this site an informational website, or used as a selling tool for the sales department.

Will a product be sold on the site..?

Is there a clear (CTA) call to action providing the user a reason to participate..?

The goal should be to capture a user and driver them deeper into the website; to purchase, or drive the prospect into the retail store or business. An unfriendly, dated web presence can raise real creditability concerns. Would a retail store or restaurant allow a visibly worn carpet, curtains and entrance to go unattended for years?  If they did, it would certainly raise concerns, right!

The most critical aspect for a company is having an opportunity to nurture a prospect. The prospect can be nurtured by having a web presence that brings the user back to the site, drives them deeper into the site or drives them into their brick and mortar location. Companies that lag behind in their online presence run the risk of never having the prospect visit the site or business again.  Since 80% of consumers will research online (prior to moving forward with a company), the initial visit to a company’s website is becomes very crucial.

What is a new customer worth…?  I have several clients where a new customer is worth a minimum of $30-$40k. For these clients, it is absolutely critical to have an online image that is captivating and current, with a CTA directing the user through the website and into their business. When you consider the cost of re-design for these clients was in the $15k-$20K range. They would be foolish not to consider a regular plan for maintenance and re-design. Over the course of a year, will the company nurture one new prospect that becomes a client/customer because they were initially captivated by the company website and needed more information?

Check back for more identity topics.

About Vincent Gentile

AVM Internet Solutions, a leader in the website design, Internet marketing and web services industries, was born in 2007 when founder and entrepreneur Vincent Gentile took his experience in business marketing and direct sales and applied them to helping others become visible on the web. Rapidly taking its place at the forefront of the industry, the firm grew exponentially in the online marketplace. Featuring a wide range of clients in a variety of industries, AVM Internet Solutions specializes in custom web design development and online marketing on the versatile WordPress platform.