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Through featured editorials on media sites, trade magazines and specialist sites InMyShoe will educate and inform you and the wider communities in which our business operates. Clarity of content and purpose will continue to shine through in all mediums and impressive and compelling design is important for a variety of reasons including brand identity and establishing credibility.

HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE WEBSITE

Taking advantage of new technology can open up to new marketing opportunities where you can reduce costs and increase profits through market communications, sales and customer service online explains Sindy S Birkelid of InMyShoe Design Consltancy.
Published: April/May 2007

Websites are strong marketing tools that drive traffic and bring companies with new customers and a 24 hour shop window at relatively little cost. By developing appropriate marketing materials and a website will also help build awareness of your brand and customers will remember you when they are ready to buy.


Extending your brand image and values:

A brand can be a valuable tool that allows you to communicate with your customers and encourage their loyalty to your product or service. A wellmanaged brand is clear, distinctive and appropriate to your target market. Brands are just as important for small businesses as for big multinational companies. Small businesses still need to operate in a competitive market, whether local, national or even international. A small specialist company can become a leader in its field, and a strong brand can help them to be more successful regardless of their size.

Your market research should establish who and where your customers are. Different advertising strategies may be appropriate depending on whether your target market is consumers, B2B or the public sector. Develop appropriate marketing materials to build brand awareness. Your campaign should be in line with any other marketing activity you are running and should work together to promote a consistent message.

NBCC

InMyShoe designed and developed Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce new website March 2006.

NBCC’s website is attractive, easy to navigate, quickly to load and provides an easy-to-find resource to members and potential new members.


www.norwegian-chamber.co.uk

Your brand image and values can be extended further into your business, and be communicated by way of your stationary, PR, newsletters, advertising and a website. At this level, branding is not just about the brand name or logo – it is about the sum of the customer experience. By taking communication to a higher level through strong marketing communications as the Internet your word spread quickly your brand is recognised by loyal consumers and viewers who direct others to your site. Internet is a tool to improve cost and efficiency and for it to be effective you need to identify the right market and plan it with care to ensure it is interesting and relevant to both potential and existing customers. Through the Internet you can also improve the supply-chain operation and have the ability to build business partnerships with business customers and suppliers. Internet plays a large role in customer relationship management (CRM) where businesses should try to attract customers to their website by offering them useful information and services.

Prominent navigation structure, usability experience across the site and a clear representation of the home page works well. The user should be able to see what the site can do for them at a glance and the site should deliver what it offers. Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce website is a good example where it provides an easy-to-find resource to members and potential new members. The online member’s registration is linked to their CRM system and email-invitations to their events are also sent out.

Email is widely used and should be central to the business’s Internet marketing strategy as it can help you into meaningful and rewarding relationships with people and your customers. Email marketing through regular newsletters also helps develop mutually beneficial relationships through regular contact. Remember your customer service is a key part of your company’s brand, enhancing trust and building sales.


Website - a marketing & sales tool:

Companies are often content to let their website be little more than a brochure. Both small and large businesses are realising the importance of an effective website and it is important to get the site functioning as both a shop window and an information platform. People are now at a stage where they want to turn it into value and make money out of their website where the marketing process of getting people to your site is followed by the sales process once people have arrived.

For a website to be worthwhile it needs to be used as a marketing tool and people must be able to find it. Traditional retailers like Tesco and travel agencies like Travelbag may find it easier to market their products and services online then smaller and less established businesses.

Bluhe

In January 2007, Bluhe launched a new range of luxury men’s swim shorts and their new Online Store designed and developed by InMyShoe was launched in February 2007.

“Bluhe’s simple strategy is to create a stylish, quality branded product. The prints are designed especially for Bluhe and made from fast drying fabric. They are printed using a unique process that brings the print to life.”


www.bluhe.com

A new business which does not have pre-existing customers and does not have an easy outlet to market itself needs to run PR campaigns and advertise in conventional media, TV, radio, billboards and newspapers to raise customer and brand awareness of its existence. Also remember the importance of a linking strategy so publicise the website URL through other media and marketing materials and ensure that the URL is included within all available documents.

Search engine optimisation, ranking and submission is not a one off task. Always check to see if the search engines are still including your website and whether they have indexed all the pages. If not you will need to re-submit your website. Most companies understand the basics of Search Engine Optimisation and Google Adwords and pay per click can provide more targeted traffic than standard search engines because you have more control over your keywords and rating.

Many dotcom companies like bluhe.com which has just launched a new range of luxury men’s swim shorts, are trying to recreate a similar shopping experience offered by the traditional retailer. Through sound, moving images and interactive product demonstrations transcends the two-dimensional nature of e-commerce and is known as e-tailing.

Visitors to your website are the lifeblood of your online store so you need to make sure that you do it right. Simplicity is everything and it is important with relevant content and easy navigation to get across the right messages. You also need compelling content and frequent updates as you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and if you fail they are gone. It is advised to offer a more personalised service to your customers by giving them the retailers contact address and a customer centre to deal with common questions on a FAQ page.

Customers also expect instant gratification and service like prompt delivery of goods. The website needs to give enough information about the service and give a proper description of the product to the customers. There should be a sign saying if the goods are in stock or not and the customers want to know when it can be delivered. If there are other benefits to be offered to the customers then these benefits also needs to be made clear.

Contact information is important in order to link through to an email and keeping in touch with people. The customers often expects a 24 hour service and e-mail enquiries to be dealt with promptly and by having a sign up page for news and alerts allows you to build relationship with the people using your site. You need to be talking to people in a timely, relevant and valuable way so you need to create your own opt-in list by adding a subscription box to your website. Use your list to keep your products in the minds of your customers by sending our regular newsletters by email.

By offering your customers the facility to create their own user account with username and password and by sending out direct marketing campaigns you will make your site more active and engaging in what a business is about. You can also view specific sales lists and web statistics on visitors to your site to see response per day, week or month. This also turns your website into a useful sales lead for a sales person to follow up.

Mamut-Worldpay

InMyShoe has an Introducer Agreement with Mamut. Mamut’s shopping cart solution allows customers to quickly find their way to the products they want, enables you to accept payments by credit/debit card and to undertake online transactions via WorldPay

Internet solution tailored to SME’s:

To provide accurate information and fast delivery an e-business need to integrate custom purchases with a back office system with stock control and inventory. Mamut Business Software covers all elements of the value chain of the business and represents the markets most complete finance and information system and Internet solution tailored to SME’s. It is a system for sales and contact management, finance, logistics, payroll and e-commerce all in one solution.

Mamut has helped thousands of SME’s get more out of their employees, free up more time, focus on cost and generate higher revenue. Mamut has also won numerous awards for its functionality and user friendliness and the implication of time and training on the system is reduced to a minimum.

The Mamut database is modified directly online and your customers will receive their order status by email. When an order changes status, for example once it has been invoiced the customer is given a personal order page on the Internet containing their order status for current and previous orders. This means that the online store is fully integrated with the order, product and contact modules in Mamut.

A business that chooses online transactions need to set up a merchant account with one of the major banks and need authorisation to accept online card payments over the Internet. Businesses need to be sure that the customers are who they say they are when orders are taken and that they are not using a stolen credit card. By signing up with WorldPay, a secure online payment service provider will take over the responsibility for credit checking and settlement.

Your website needs to be approved by WorldPay before you can activate your account and enable you to complete live transactions. WorldPay ensures that security is maintained by preventing fraud as it manages the entire transaction process when a customer in your online store wishes to pay by credit/debit card.

Through Bank Direct package you can accept payment from a broad range of payment options traditionally provided by several card schemes and banks. You can add other WorldPay solutions to the Bank Direct package including billing, Internet terminal, multi-fraud and fraud protection solutions.

The legal aspect:

For web traders there is a constant stream of regulations to deal with as well as contractual and other precautions. Whether trading or no-trading online you will need terms and conditions governing your legal relationship with users of your site or you will have little protection if sued. If you sell online you must have these trading terms and conditions available for your customers to read and to accept (not the same as website terms and conditions) as you will be entering into contracts with them.

As a web trader you must also register with Data Protection Registrar as you will be collecting personal data via your website. You will need a disclaimer if you rely on other information when linking to other sites, and a copyright notice and address intellectual property in your websites terms and conditions if you are concerned about someone copying your content.

WorldPay requires that you have a return policy on your e-commerce site as the Distance Selling Regulations give protection to consumers who shop by phone, mail order, via the Internet or digital TV. The protection includes a cool of period with the right to cancel the contract for the purchase at any point from the time of ordering until seven working days after delivery.

Your competitive position:

You can improve or retain your competitive position through a strong brand identity, high-level marketing design and by taking advantage of new technology. It is crucial that your brand and your website reflects your business’s goals and core values as this allows you to improve credibility and to create a reputation within your field.

Get feedback from your staff, customers and suppliers to ensure your online marketing campaign is worthwhile and can be improved for future activity. You can ensure customers response to an online survey by offering an incentive like entering them into an online competition and by giving out a prize.

Analyse, test and review your results as the more you develop the site the more successful you are likely to be in creating an effective website. By improving trade relationships and reducing cost of servicing online you can directly increase efficiency and profitability; and this is the key to a great marketing success.

Valuable Tool

About the Author

Sindy S Birkelid came to UK from Norway in 1993 to study BA (Hons) Communication Media and Master of Arts in Time Based Media with Electronic Imaging. She has experience in brand development and creative solutions for the Internet and Interactive TV since 1998 and has run her own Design Consultancy called InMyShoe Ltd since 2004.

Sindy S Birkelid
Director/Consultant

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I used InMyShoe to design the website for my company, and I was extremely pleased with the end result.
IMS listened attentively to my brief and went the extra mile to ensure that the site was exactly as I wanted it to be.

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We have enjoyed the collaboration with InMyShoe. They have been extremely creative, and their attitude has been fantastic, always meeting our ever changing needs...

NBCC General Manager
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I needed a website that was visually attractive, easy to navigate, yet simple.
InMyShoe has a very good understanding of design and how website should reflect your business and fit into your overall branding...

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We wanted something visually strong that would set us apart from the competition. InMyShoe's animation skills really came into their own, when they designed a totally unique website that appealed directly to our target market...

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InMyShoe worked on the design for our new company and created something that fitted with the direction and style of the business, whilst being distinctive and original...

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We found InMyShoe to be flexible, innovative and effective. You are also very responsive and we will come back to you with a new job asap...

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