December 2008 Newsletter
**** 4specs Quick Picks
Dr. Wilson has a great article on "4 Tasks Your Internet Ad Absolutely Must Accomplish" about why
"Too often, short ads fail to get the click-through." Ideas on attracting the architect or specifier to your website with your Internet ads.
[link no longer available]
Dr. Wilson also has a book on landing pages you may want to purchase:
[link no longer available]
**** The 4specs Perspective
Have you ever been frustrated by clicking on a link of interest or you saw in an ad and not being able to find the information you want to find on the web site? A landing page is a fast, inexpensive solution for your web site.
Once you get a specifier or architect to your website - from 4specs or Google - the next step is to encourage him or her to consider and evaluate your products for their project under way. You want them to find and use your CSI-formatted specs, CAD details and other design information.
Some marketing professionals are frustrated with their current web site in this regard. The navigation on their web site makes it difficult for the specifier or architect to find the information they are seeking. Just last week I was working with 2 new advertisers and had a very difficult time in locating where their specs and CAD details were on their web site. The specs and CAD details were - in my opinion - in non-obvious locations.
Web designers do not usually realize that design professionals rely heavily on the CSI MasterFormat classification of products. Some firms use keynoting where the products are identified by MasterFormat section number. As a result, web designers frequently develop the site navigation and organize the products and navigation in a way that is not logical to the specifier or architect.
Even when the problems are identified, the manufacturer may not have the budget for a complete revision or there are corporate considerations overriding the specifier's ease of use.
A simple, low cost - and fast - solution is to develop one special page on your web site where you want specifiers and other design professionals to start. This is called a landing page.
Companies paying for per-click advertising on Google AdWords understand the importance of having information relating to the link on the landing page. The cost to develop a single landing page, using existing graphics and linking to the existing site should cost less than $1,000 and - depending on the work required - perhaps as little as $250.
Quoting from the links below: "Landing pages from both organic search and paid search that don't perform well cost you big money in lost sales." For building product manufacturers this translates to lost specifications and not-accepted substitution requests.
[link no longer available]
I frequently have problems classifying companies when listing them in 4specs. I look over the home page and try to identify product groups they manufacture. Frequently I miss products because they are not grouped logically - at least to me - and are buried several clicks into the site, or they are simply not on the web site.
A visitor - whether from 4specs or a general search engine - needs to see all of your products logically displayed. The CSI MasterFormat system is the best way to group products. On the landing page work with the broadscope numbers, typically ending in 00 and lead into more precise product groupings on the next click in.
You can use as design examples for your landing page (1) the 4specs showcase listings to group your products and (2) the ARCAT profile pages. The big difference is that the landing page is on your site and there is not an annual fee from a publisher. Make it easy to understand what you manufacture and easy to get to your specs and CAD details. Below are two examples of sites that let the user know what you want.
Garaventa's landing page (see image below) shows the types of products they make. Simple to chose and go to the next page with more specific information about that product. The specifier and architect may also discover that Garaventa makes other products that may be useful on a future project.
CMI Waterfront's website (image also below) also provides a quick overview of the products they make - Seawalls, docks and piers and marine timber and piling - and a fast way to get to the information,
WebPagesThatSuck has a continuing display of terrible sites. There are only a few manufacturers with sites as bad as these architect's sites. Looking over these sites will help you start to understand what makes a site bad.
There are two good checklists on WebPagesThatSuck. "The mistakes in Checklist #1 are fatal. I'm not sure how many of the mistakes in Checklist #2 you can make before you kill your web site." The third page suggests what to do next.
Another link to WebPagesThatSuck. Quoting from this page:
"Write these two sentences where you can see them as you"re working:
- The only reason my web site exists is to solve my customers" problems.
- What problems does the page I"m looking at solve?"
From WebmasterWorld - check out the rest of WebmasterWorld while you are there. This is a site I visit several times a week for general information and the latest news:
25 Signals of Crap
Make your landing page link simple, such as http://www.example.com/specifiers/. [link not intended to work and used as an example] This way the landing page can be used in ads and brochures to direct the specifier where you want them to start..
Once you have your new landing page designed and ready to go, ask why this should not be your new home page and get rid of the one that does not work. Let us know when your landing page is online and we will change the 4specs link to your new landing page.
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.
Publisher - 4specs