Earlier this week I was conducting research for a client who has (smartly) decided to use newsletters to connect with his clients. As part of the overall development of his print and email newsletters, I begin the project by researching what other companies in his industry are doing. Specifically, I was looking for two things: 1) whether the competition uses a print or email newsletter (or both) to connect with their customers and 2) if they do, what response mechanisms are on their website to encourage visitors to sign up to receive the newsletters.
The good news for my client is that what I discovered wasn’t impressive. Truth be told, what I found on most of the websites was actually embarrassing.
First of all, every website I visited was dated. Every single one. How was it dated? Event calendars listed great sounding events and promotions … from 2007! And even the company “news” sections had announcements from 6-9 months ago.
When you have outdated information on your website, it screams to the visitor (i.e. your potential customers) that you aren’t paying attention your website. And if you aren’t paying attention to your own website, it leaves the visitor wondering if you’ll pay attention to them.
Secondly, in my research I was only able to find one website in the two dozen or more that I visited that had a current issue of their newsletter available for the visitors to read. All the others had a newsletter sign up form, but without a compelling reason attached to the sign up form (telling me why I should give you my email address and how often I’ll receive your “stuff”), there is probably a really good chance that these companies have seen little to no growth in their newsletter distribution list. I could be wrong – but I’d venture to guess that I am right on the money.
So what’s your website say about you? In my next blog post I’ll share my website litmus test with you.
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