Not all website designers are ready to do your marketing.
Have you heard these complaints about websites? “It is taking so much time to complete my website!” “My website has no information on it.” Or “the information on my website is inaccurate but I can’t get the web designer to change it.”
The questions above are not typically the result of flaws with the web designer’s specific talent. Often they are the result of lack of communication or marketing skills. Many web designers started designing because they had computer science experience or were good with computer programming. They loved that they didn’t have to communicate a lot with people and could work alone. But it is their very lack of communication and marketing skills that causes some of the problems with website design.
Why should a website designer need communication and marketing skills? Typically, a business would have the marketing materials to provide. The marketing material is a big part of what they would need to replicate your businesses marketing approach online.
Before you hire someone to design your website, understand exactly what you will need to do to have the website you want for your business. Yes, you will need to do some things. Many people seem to have the thought that they can hire a web designer and poof! They have a great website. No matter how much knowledge and experience the web designer has, they cannot create your brand or your image with a magic wand. They need your vision and your marketing plans.
What Do You Have to Design Your Website?
Everything and anything in the marketing of your business can be helpful in designing a website. If you are starting or own a small business, you might not have much marketing material. You may not have the detailed descriptions about your company and services in the form of various brochures, press releases, statement of qualifications and more that larger companies have.
Or you might have been in business for years surviving off of referrals. I have come across many clients that have never had a brochure. They have never done any advertising so they do not have ad copies. They have never needed a biography or company profile. And they never needed to visually show information on their products or services.
That is fantastic if you have been able to do business by word of mouth! But have you ever gotten testimonials from your customers? Have you ever taken photos of your products or services? Have you ever thought that maybe someday you might need…something…besides a logo and a business card?
Of course you have thought that you would need something else! That is why you are getting a website. You just didn’t think about your marketing until now. And now you find out that you need a lot of marketing material to use in the design of your website. How else will the web designer know about your company? How else will they know about your products and services?
The unfortunate truth is more and more start-ups and small business people are turning to these cookie cutter websites that are already written for specific industries. They are cheap and quick to get. The problem….you get the same website content as everyone else who wants that cookie cutter website. And you might not even realize it!
Cookie cutter websites are the product of too often a web designer not being able to get the information from you to properly design a website that is representative of your business. So it has no real information or is an inaccurate reflection of your products and services. And if you have a web designer who is not using cookie cutter websites, she is either stuck waiting for you to provide the information, moving on because it has taken too long to get what you do not have, or piecing together information from competitor’s sites.
Have a Marketing Plan First, Your Website Second
One thing you can do to make your website the best it can be is to work with a marketing consultant before you work with a website designer. The marketing consultant can help to bring clarity and focus to the vision of your business and then align that vision with your short term and long term goals in marketing. A marketing plan can then be prepared that describes the aligned vision and marketing goals.
For more about your marketing strategy on the internet, see our prior post What is Your Internet Marketing Strategy?
It is the marketing piece that is most often missed when people approach website designers. If the designer has communication and marketing skills they may provide marketing consulting services with the design of your website. It is that very piece of having communication and marketing skills that is critical to creating your unique brand, providing the message you want people to hear, and appropriately showcasing your products and services.