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Building Blocks

Jul 15, 2009 12:00 PM, By Don Kreski

Creating a new website for AV TechSource.

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The new AV TechSource website (previous design shown below) was designed to make the company’s target market--integrators and contractors--clear and to show how the company is unique in its market.

The new AV TechSource website (previous design shown below) was designed to make the company’s target market—integrators and contractors—clear and to show how the company is unique in its market.

So you’re ready to upgrade your website, or perhaps you’re ready to build a site for the first time. You have a lot of ideas, but how do you go about making it happen?

This month, I thought it would help to look at a website-development project I’ve been working on recently to illustrate the process. The site is for AV TechSource, a company that outsources skilled labor to AV integrators and contractors. Principals Gary Harling, Ben Barry, and Tom Harm hired me this spring to upgrade a website they had built on their own with the goal of bringing in more business.

Redesigning a website

The AV TechSource website before the redesign.

Step one: Define the message

AV TechSource is unique in our industry, but I believe if you look closely, any company has its unique aspects that its marketing program needs to define.

When we started this project, I knew the principals all had extensive backgrounds in AV industry service departments, which they had been offering their clients for about three and a half years. Their original website, however, did not make their target market—integrators and contractors—clear. My first task was to nail down exactly what they were trying to accomplish.

“Our feeling is that we can’t prevent end users from finding our site, and in fact, it’s a feather in our caps to hand a project off to one of our integrator partners,” Harling says. “But [the website upgrade] helped us to state that we will serve these end users in partnership with an integrator or dealer.”

In any web project, defining your focus is a high priority. You can’t be everything to every possible customer. Even if you’re working for a large company with a wide variety of markets and skills, you need to define what you are best at in a very simple way. If you don’t, you risk confusing potential clients and failing to give them a good reason to call you. I boiled down our conversations to three simple ideas. First, AV TechSource is all about labor. Second, its primary customers are contractors. Third, it is interested in users—corporations, schools, and government—and the company is able to bring in one of its contractor partners to supply equipment and help complete the project.

Step two: Define specific marketing goals

I asked Harling what kind of business he would most like to see develop if this project were successful. He told me he felt he and his people had done a good job calling on the AV integrators in their core Chicago/Milwaukee/northwest Indiana area, but that there was a lot of potential for work from out-of-state companies when they needed a subcontractor in their region. That work might take the form of installation labor, warranty service, service contracts, project commissioning, or user training.

In addition, Harling said AV TechSource had high-level skills such as AMX and Crestron programmers, that selling more programming should be a priority for the site, and that programming was practical to offer to clients anywhere in the country. We thus determined that we would need to market the website on a national basis but include geographic keywords in pages talking about installation and onsite service. We also decided that control-system programming would be a special priority for our search-engine efforts.

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