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Once upon a time, publications like the Yellow Pages were the single greatest marketing vehicle for any small business. However, times – and technologies – have changed rendering the eight-pound leafy behemoth to irrelevancy. Today when prospects and clients seek information on a potential partner, they go straight to the internet. This is why a company website is the single most effective marketing arrow in the quiver of any company.
However, it’s not enough to simply have a website – it must be engaging, relevant, easy to navigate, and work on multiple device platforms. For a website to perform as a strong marketing tool, it must do the following:

  • Tell Your Story – In the promotional products industry, far too many websites are focused on product – the very same products that are sold by the competition. As I wrote in my last DistributorCentral article, when the focus is on selling products the results will never be exceptional. People still buy from people – and brands – they know, like, and trust. Tell the audience your story. When the audience understands the “why” you are in the promotional products industry, it will go a long way to building that ever-important relationship necessary to fuel growth.
  • Share Success – There are few things that convey success more than testimonials. They not only build credibility with potential customers, it allows your clients to participate in your victories. Keeping testimonials up to date on your website creates a depth of professionalism that a mere online catalog will never generate.
  • Work on Multiple Platforms – If your website is not responsive, meaning that it won’t work across different platforms such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets, your traffic will suffer. Last year, Google began filtering results by website responsiveness and punishing those sites that were not responsive to mobile platforms. For example, the DistributorCentral created websites work across any platform giving them a let up on the competition.
  • Drive the Audience via Social Media – When you have something exciting to announce: a new testimonial, a great case history, or the winning of an award, post it on your website in a news section and promote it by linking the specific page on social media platforms. Doing so will drive people to your website and allow them to get to know you on a deeper level.

Clients in the promotional products industry don’t want to see another website that is solely product focused – they can, and do, get that anywhere. While an online product catalog should be an important part of any website, the real focus should be on allowing the audience to get to know the entire sphere of your organization, not just a tiny sliver. This gives them the idea of the experience they will have beyond a simple product sale – and that is what will lead to longer lasting client relationships.

Bill Petrie

About brandivate
Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.
A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.