Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Give Them What They Want on Your Website

(1:00) In today's world websites are critical to the success of any business. Small or large, product or service, high-tech or low-tech, customers expect to have access to the information they seek 24/7/365. By now most marinas have a website and that's great. But is your website providing potential customers with the information they seek?

(0:52) It is not uncommon to find a site that contains no real information, outdated information, hard to find information, or just the wrong information. For your website to have the impact it needs you must provide boaters with the information they are looking for, regularly update that information, and present it in a way that is easily accessible and pleasing to use.

(0:44) Take some time and think about what types of information a boater is seeking when they come to your site. If they don't find it there but they do on your competitor's site, you are making it easier for them to go elsewhere. I have heard the argument, "We want them to call us instead." It's not about what you want. It's about what your customers want. And today they want access any day, anytime.

(0:35) There are two mistakes I see on many marina websites. The first is sites that are rarely or never updated. Seeing an announcement for an event that is months or years old on your homepage is a very bad sign. It tells me I can't trust any of the information I see. And it tells me you are not thinking about what I need. Update your website regularly. Depending on your focus, that could mean daily, weekly, or monthly updates. For example, if you compete on fuel prices you had better have your prices displayed and ensure they are up-to-date daily - and show the date. If your marina is in a popular tourist location you may want to update your website weekly with events.

(0:19) The second mistake is not providing the information I want. Your site needs to tell me what you offer: services, amenities, local attractions, etc. Then I want to know what it will cost. Do not hesitate to include transient slip pricing, fuel pricing, your rates for repairs and services. How much business do you think Amazon would get if I had to call to obtain prices?

(0:11) Some marinas are hesitant using arguments like, "My competitors will get my pricing." or "What if they think my prices are too high?" A good competitor will know your pricing anyway and if your prices match your services you needn't worry. Let's be honest, eventually, your customers will discover your prices. Making it hard for your customers only increases the likelihood that they will go elsewhere.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.