Get the message!

Sep 14 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Senior executives are failing to pay sufficient attention to the messages put across by their company website and as a result risk making critical mistakes that could impact on their bottom line, a new book has suggested.

A new book by web content management expert Gerry McGovern will argue when it is published in November that better management of the content on an organisation's website is now a crucial driver of business.

McGovern, who includes HP, Pioneer, Directgov, UCLA, Aer Lingus and Microsoft among his clients, says that there needs to be a rethink in how marketing and business strategy is decided to take more account of new forms of technology.

Companies also need to look much more carefully, and think more robustly, about how websites can better promote brand loyalty and improve customer service.

Airline companies, for instance, often mistakenly focus on using the term "low fares" on their websites when, particularly in the UK, potential customers are much more likely Ė 6,500 times more likely in fact Ė to be searching for "cheap flights".

Similarly, Microsoft changed one word in one heading on its website and saw a 300 per cent increase in the number of people who clicked through.

Another client of McGovern repositioned a link on a webpage and saw a $70,000 jump in sales over the next two months.

For many customers, a company's website is increasingly their first point of contact with the organisation. But if organisations can't grab their attention in a matter of moments then they would move on, McGovern argues.

Organisations also need to remember that it is as easy to have words that turn potential customers away as it is to have words that attract them.

The book, Killer Web Content, further predicts the creation of a "new office class" to deal specifically with web content management.

For this to be successful, it must not be merely an offshoot of the IT department or a task passed to a junior member of the departmental team.

It must be a senior management position with input at board level and with the power to shape how the company communicates successfully with its customers.

This new class of senior managers in charge of web content would revolutionise the way board-level decision makers understood the importance of the internet to the profitability of their organisation, McGovern says.

Technology has also changed the way managers manage, he points out, with the "walking and talking" style of meetings and phone calls now largely replaced by e-mails and Powerpoint presentations.