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Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on November 22, 2010

Seattle to Waterloo - Web Design is Just the Beginning

Seattle to Waterloo - Web Design is Just the Beginning

Can proper website design "Make" your business?

In a word - no. A properly designed website is only one facet of your business, and even when it is properly put together it must be properly utilized to work to it's full potential. Over the years I have met with numerous business owners that have a great concept, idea, or product; one of their biggest mistakes is the thought that simply HAVING a website is the answer to all their marketing needs. While a proper website design with integrated tools and features like blogs, location mapping, and comprehensive staff profiles is key; HAVING the tools is really only the beginning; using them and using them correctly is key, and then perhaps even more crucial is what happens next. This point was best illustrated to me on a recent trip to Waterloo, Iowa to consult on the upcoming website design and development of the Flowerama floral franchise.

Waterloo; Website Design brought me, the people will bring me back

I got off of the plane at nearly 11pm and from the moment I set foot in the quaint little town to the moment that I left several days later, I was “welcomed” to Iowa. It seemed as though every person that I met on the course of the trip was eager to share something with me about this hidden gem in the Midwest. After only a couple of hours I’d been given a briefing on what made Waterloo unique; about how people would come from all over the world to tour the John Deere factories, that I'd never really had a steak until I'd had one in Iowa, and that Toads Bar & Grill was the best happy hour in town. It astonished me that I heard so much from so many people in such little time, but more than anything it struck me that nearly every conversation ended almost exactly the same “Enjoy your stay in Iowa”. It seemed as though every person that I'd come in contact with had personally taken it upon themselves to be an ambassador for Iowa. There was a genuine excitement and conviction in all the people I had the pleasure of talking to that portrayed there was no better place to be, an excitement that I found to be contagious. After my meetings with the Flowerama franchise had ended and it was time for me to make my journey back to Seattle I realized that my experience had all the elements that really drive a business – Knowledgeable people that are easy to talk to and give a genuine excitement and enthusiasm to their product; in this case, Waterloo itself being the product. Before my trip I had no particular awareness of Waterloo and no real interest in making a trip to Iowa, but my experience is such that I can honestly say I will return, merely for pleasure.

A Focus Beyond Website Design

A great website design with specific calls to action and SEO will definitely attract more potential customers to your store front, but what then? One of the most important parts of having a successful business is to keep in mind that getting customers to your store, that driving traffic, or selling goods is only the beginning; it’s often what happens AFTER your relationship begins that will make the biggest difference in your business, because that is what will bring consumers back to you. How will you know if you are making the RIGHT impression on your customers? Below are some indicators that can help give you an idea of the impressions your business is leaving on people.

Referrals - Most business is done through referral, and in many industries up to 80% of all new business comes from the recommendation of another person. If the majority of your business is coming from outside sources it might be time to look internally. Email marketing can be a great solution for referral campaigns, but will always show the greatest results when coupled with friendly follow-up by a staff member.

Level of Service and Competitive Pricing - As the marketplace has become more and more competitive over the last several years the majority of consumers have become frugal and are trying to get more for their money. If you are seeing large amounts of traffic to your brick and mortar store OR your website, it might be time to evaluate your level of service and establish that your pricing is competitive. This can be ESPECIALLY critical to eCommerce since there are thousands of store fronts only a click away.

Expect to Hear Something - Too often there are business owners that live by the saying "no news is good news" - in business though, this is rarely true. A recent study showed that for every complaint that is formally filled out or bad review that is written there are seven people that had a similar experience but did not share it, on the flip side those numbers nearly doubled for people who said they had a positive experience. What does this mean? PEOPLE ARE TALKING! If you aren't hearing anything from your customers then they just aren't talking to YOU. Encouraging customer feedback can not only give you points to improve on in the future, but more importantly testimonials to what you are doing that keeps people coming back.

Thank you to the Cities of Waterloo and Ceder FAlls, Iowa

Blackhawk Inn - Waterloo, IAI would like to take a brief moment to thank the Cities of  Ceder Falls and Waterloo for their hospitality and especially my host James Rozendaal at Flowerama. If you do ever find yourself in the area the people at the Blackhawk Hotel (pictured) are great and Toads Bar & Grill is a phenomenal place to grab a drink and get a bite to eat. If you would like to know more about the Ceder Falls and Waterloo area click here.

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