In an age when many consumers turn to the Internet to research a major purchase before ever visiting a store, it’s crucial for lighting showrooms to not just have a web page, but to have a well-designed website that engages potential customers.
Dave Clark, President of Clark Communications Group, has helped design websites for many lighting showrooms, and says the biggest mistake people make is not keeping their content current. “People think they can just create a website and then be done, but it needs to be a continually updating part of your store,” Clark says.
Read on for more of Clark’s tips:
DO Show Product: “What the customer is looking for when they go on a showroom website is product, so it’s critical to have access to a good database,” Clark says. Showrooms can access lighting product databases through subscription services like LightsAmerica, FazTrack and XOLights.
DO Gather E-Mail Addresses: “E-mail is a very effective way to get the message out because it doesn’t cost anything,” Clark says. He recommends offering incentives to get people to sign up for e-mails, such as a coupon or raffle, and then sending information about sales and seminars using e-mail programs like Constant Contact or iContact.
DO Inspire Customers: Posting a slideshow of beautiful rooms “lets people see the whole picture,” Clark says, and is very popular with customers. It’s also not hard to create, as most lighting manufacturers are happy to provide photos.
DO Harness the Power of YouTube: Many showrooms are creating their own YouTube channels, which they use to post commercials and other promotional videos. Clark recommends also posting informational videos on hot topics like LEDs.
DON'T Forget About Your Website: “If you built a web site eight years ago and you haven’t touched it since, it’s time to rebuild the whole thing,” Clark says.
DON'T Use Music: “Put music on a site and people will ultimately end up looking for the button to turn it off,” Clark says. Go Overboard with Text: “Use too much text and no one will read it,” Clark says. “The web is very much a photographic medium.”