Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Marketing
marketing insights: Re-imagining your website


Is your website static or a two-way conversation with your customers? If your website doesn’t promote this week’s specials or exciting new menu offerings then chances are it’s more like a brochure. Maybe the hours of operation are listed? Phone number and location are great pieces of information, but you’re missing a great opportunity to visit with your customers every day if that’s all your website is highlighting. In return, they’ll tell you what their lives are like. An up-to-date website can allow you to converse with your market more effectively than any other tool.

Is your website static or a two-way conversation with your customers?
If your website doesn’t promote this week’s specials or exciting new
menu offerings then chances are it’s more like a brochure. Maybe the
hours of operation are listed? Phone number and location are great
pieces of information, but you’re missing a great opportunity to visit
with your customers every day if that’s all your website is
highlighting. In return, they’ll tell you what their lives are like. An
up-to-date website can allow you to converse with your market more
effectively than any other tool.


The Audit

Look at your site through fresh eyes and if possible ask about six to
10 respected friends and associates of various ages and genders to
visit it too. Are the fonts, colours and graphics a bit retro?
Especially if you’re targeting a younger consumer, you’ll want the site
to have a trendy vibe. Is there too much copy for visitors to wade
through? You want to think in terms of bullet points and five word
phrases. This isn’t the time for lengthy prose. Visitors to your site
are in search of information not the next great Canadian novel. If you
have a fancy flash introduction with music and flying graphics, you’re
probably best to lose it. While the special effects may delight the
techno-geeks in the crowd, they slow down the average visitor and
that’s the kiss of death. Is your website URL easy to memorize? If it’s
too long and cumbersome, here’s your chance to come up with a web
address that’s catchy and easy to recall. If you use Google Analytics
to measure web statistics, take a look at the dashboard reports from
the last six months. If the average length of visit and percentage of
returning visitors has decreased steadily, that’s compelling evidence
that the site is not being updated frequently enough.


The Rebuild

There are many talented webmasters available who charge reasonable
rates to create very professional sites. Find one and then work with
them to identify exactly what the website will need to accomplish. If you don’t plan to
have online ordering then your site will probably need to work hard to
drive traffic physically to your operation. Therefore, customers won’t
be buying online but they will be shopping on your site. If the
website’s job is to inform consumers as to what products and prices you
offer and then to convince them to pick up the phone and call to place
an order or reserve a table then you’ll need to make this clear to your
web developer. Your developer should give you a flow chart which shows
how the site will be sectioned off and how each section will address
key segments. Keep in mind that visitors don’t always land on your
homepage first. It’s widely believed that websites are like houses
where visitors politely come up to the front door and enter only that
way. In reality, if a website were a house, visitors would crash
through the windows, the back door and even the chimney. It depends on
what search terms they use and by reviewing the Google statistics from
your old site you can identify the most popular key words used to find
your site. These are great clues to assist you in developing the new
site. Make it easy to link your site to social networking sites such as
Twitter and Facebook. You may not be using these social networking sites
yourself but many of your customers likely will be and they may want to
share your site with friends they’re conversing with online. Make it
easy for them to do this. If your site’s main job is to drive traffic
to your store then put your location information, hours of operation,
e-mail, phone number and map up front and bold. When the site is almost
set to launch, send the link to those same friends who audited your old
site for you. Ask them to kick its tires to indentify the bugs or
glaring typos before it’s unleashed on the world.


The Launch

First do a soft launch of the site by having it go live without a big
splash. Once you’ve lived with it for a week or two, promote the new
look. Perhaps t-shirts with the web address on it (give one free with a
purchase of six pizzas) would be a great way to promote the site and
induce some sales? Put a “visit our new website” splash on delivery
boxes, vehicles, menus and advertisements. Make sure you monitor the
web statistics for the new site closely. It’ll be interesting for you
to compare the traffic patterns from the old site to the new. You’ll
likely see more visits, more repeated visits, more time on the site per
visit and hopefully increased sales.

Finally, make sure you’ve appointed someone to be the website champion.
If not yourself, then choose a technologically adept team member. If
you keep it fresh and keep it at the top of your mind, your new website
should give you great “word of mouse.”


Michelle Brisebois is a marketing professional with experience in the
food, pharmaceutical, financial services and wine industries. She
specializes in retail brand strategies.


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