WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Some of you may be hearing Roger Daltrey intone that headline, but my goal isn’t to tap into your brain’s storehouse of long-forgotten lyrics. Instead, I’d like to explore an issue that has long puzzled me: why do companies think that rolling out a new website will excite their audiences and incite them to visit en masse?

I ask that because I’ve so often been asked to develop ads and other materials that essentially proclaim, “We have  a new website!” So? What’s the big deal?

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I understand that finishing a new website is exciting to everyone who contributed. They invariably involve more time and work than most people realize, and sewing one up is an accomplishment. But most of the time, it’s a big deal only to those who were involved and others within the organization. For customers, prospects, and even the media, it’s essentially a non-story. Nice, but no big deal.

I think the approach is an outgrowth of that crusty retail technique of using a remodeling as an excuse to encourage customers to visit. “We have new carpeting, and we want you to smell it!” “Our receptionist has a new desk chair, and we want you to look at it and buy stuff!” “You haven’t bought from us in a while, but now our walls are blue!”

Would any of those things make you rush into their businesses? Then what makes you think that your new website will make everyone jump up and down? Promote it by all means, but do it realistically. Talk about the benefits to your audience … perhaps new capabilities or resources … rather than the cool new design. And don’t be dismayed when you don’t see a huge spike in business.

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