How much website do you need? – 1st of a series

That question is shorthand for, "How good does the presentation have to be to make the desired impression on a prospective customer?"

Here is the short answer:

The technical quality of the presentation has to be good enough that it creates an emotional impact, but doesn’t get in the way of the message.

Any more than that and the presentation draws attention away from the message.

It can be overwhelming to make choices about the technology and the quality of the presentation that can be used to market your product on the Internet or anywhere else. If we start with the message to be communicated and the audience to be reached with this message, then the choices of technology and presentation quality are somewhat simplified.

If you spend time developing your message and your product to meet the needs of qualified buyers, your choices of marketing presentations will become clearer.

For specific examples on how this might apply, keep reading after the jump.

Here are a few scattered examples:

1. Serviceable handmade artifacts for use in the home – $25-$100 – the
primary buying trigger may be the rich color combinations and the
tactile sensations of holding and handling the articles. The benefits
are obvious and the unique value proposition is that this article can
only be obtained from this artisan and each article has a certain
unique quality.

These products can be successfully displayed on clean crates in a
marketplace or on a simple website with lots of close-up images and an
easy way to select products and order them. The website needs the
personalized information about the articles that would normally be
provided by the artisan in the marketplace.

2. High end furnishings for use in homes and offices – $500-$25000 –
The setting and the presentation are targeted to set prospect
expectations on how the acquiring of this artifact will enhance their
lives. The benefits of owning these articles are closely related to
acquiring the accouterments of a certain lifestyle. These artifacts
make a statement to others about the prospect’s vision and level of
culture and taste.

The presentation of these artifacts requires a great deal of thought. A
physical presentation must be tasteful and complement the quality of
the artifact. An online presentation must have high quality graphics, a
sophisticated appeal to the sensibilities of the target public, and
should provide the inside information that makes the prospective buyer
certain that they are making a knowledgeable decision.

This is the area you see the greatest excess in web design.
Breathtaking slide shows, video extravaganzas, and interactive sites
that are obviously created to win awards for the designer. If you have
deep pockets, feel free to indulge yourself! It’s your chance to be a
big-time producer. You can even hold a website launch party!

On the other hand, if your desire is to make money to feed your family
and grow your business, you can achieve this by tailoring your
presentation to your product and the target market – and make sure that
the presentation does not get in the way of your message.

3. Real Estate – desirable location, price, and amenities seem to be
the determining factors. Presenting these online provides endless scope
for creativity. Again, do not let your creative juices overflow.
Prepare a presentation that gets your message across and gets qualified
prospects out to the site with checkbook in hand.

Summary:

Get help from someone who has helped market products like yours and discuss your business model with them.

See if you can develop a plan that makes sense at several stages of
growth. The best plans will scale from where you are now to the bright
future. Generating income  should be a huge part of your marketing plan. If
you lose sight of that in the frenzy of creating a masterpiece of web
design, your business will not survive.

Take it by steps and remember that the technical quality of the
presentation has to be good enough that it creates an emotional impact,
but doesn’t get in the way of the message.  Any more than that and the
presentation draws attention away from the message.

Oh, and that means
that you need to have a message that communicates exactly what you
intend. More about that later…

UPDATE: There are now three other parts to this article:  Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

UPDATE 2: Since I began this series of posts, I have begun providing webhosting
services as well as website design for several clients. If you are an
artisan or a startup business in SW Virginia and you are looking for a
site design that is customer-centered, I might be able to help you out.
Send me an email.

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