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Winning Websites

(May 2009) posted on Tue Apr 28, 2009

Bettering your online presence can pay off.


By Gregory Sharpless

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Often a print provider's first customer contact point, your website has the potential to have a deep impact on sales. And in a challenging economy like the one we currently reside in, your site becomes even more critical to your profitability. Because of its innate ability to reach a worldwide group of customer prospects, your website is the most cost-effective means of advertising and promotion you have. And if you've previously considered sales leads from your website to be "icing on the cake," now might be the time to re-evaluate that marketing recipe.

One key element to website success is making your shop's site stand out in the crowd. But how best to do so? To help answer that question, we've tracked dozens of print provider's websites and provide information on some of their more intriguing features here. Each highlighted site has managed to differentiate itself from its competitors in one way or another--whether that be by emphasizing its home-page graphics, being unafraid to experiment with video or other multimedia, or simply putting a strong emphasis on key profit centers.

Home-page emphasis
Books have been written about the importance of a website's home page, but it's fair to say that one thing the page should do is quickly engage the reader. Just how it goes about doing that can vary, of course, and we've seen print providers take a variety of steps and actions to help this. But one thing that seems to make sense if you're trying to get across the idea of wide-format is: Don't be afraid to run large images on the home page.

OEC Graphics and Display (oecdisplay.com), for instance, uses a rotating slide show of stock images sourced from iStock Photo to emphasize particular aspects of its service: dynamic color, accurate color, exceptional value, quick turnarounds, value, precise detail, etc.

"The site is designed to very quickly communicate three things: outstanding customer service, beautiful graphic reproductions, and a great value for the product being purchased," says John Sweeterman with OEC. "We thrive in an industry where lead times are short, pricing must be competitive, and where the customer service experience needs to be exceptional to retain great business relationships."


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