April 2015

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Building a Better >> EASY WINS STEVE CALECHMAN Focus on the customer and the benefits come back to you. W hen compared to social media, the website can seem antiquated. e reality is that it remains fundamental because that's what people will search for and check out first. Constructing one that's easy to use and provides practical service might be the factor that wins you new customers in a competitive market. Rich Brooks, president of Flyte New Media, a web design and Internet marketing firm in Portland, Maine, has some suggestions about spending well and gaining an advantage: Assemble a team. A well-constructed site generates business, so instead of an expense, look at it as an investment, one that requires a professional designer who not only can make it look good – there are many of those – but also effective – not as many. You want someone who knows about search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing, and will incorporate an analytical program that provides details such as how a page was found and how long it was viewed. Rather than guess what's drawing attention, now you'll know. The designer should also build your site so you can update the content on your own. Finally, you want to invest in a content writer, and, if not a professional photographer, then high resolution photo- graphs. Both will ref lect on your attention to detail and free up your time for what you do best. Narrow your focus. Even with a talented designer, you control the message. Determine what your main priority is – selling products, offering content, being reachable – and make it obvious. To that end, you want to be consistent with: one font for headers, one for body type, no more than six home page navigation topics and one specific color for clickable items. e first three will make your site cleaner. e last will train people to know what to look for and what to do. Expand your reach. Just like with your social media campaign, include a blog. As long as you're consistent, there's no rule for how oen you should post. Along with offer- ing expertise, make videos, upload them to YouTube and link to them. By talking about customer needs, you'll further your credibility, and, since the pages will be searchable, you'll increase your visibility. Make it about them. It's fine that you've been around for decades and that you're involved in the community, but your content needs to be less self-promotional and more customer-centric. An example: Instead of boasting 24-hour phone service, it should read that you're available to answer any questions whenever needed. ink small. Many customers and would-be customers will be searching for you on their smart phones. Your site needs to be mobile- friendly, with page sizes optimized to the smaller screen and fonts that are readable. And the essential information – phone number, hours and directions – should be displayed in pop-ups that are easily clicked by people who out in a car or jobsite. ose little details, and the convenience they provide, can be the tie-breaking elements for getting business from a competitor. n STEVE CALECHMAN is a freelance journalist in the Boston area. He's a contributing editor for Men's Health and his work has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, The Old Farmer's Almanac and Delta's Sky magazine. Instead of an expense, look at it as an investment. 56 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | April 2015

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