Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Building a Customer-Friendly Website with 2.0

Trying to decide which new features to include in your site? Not even sure of your options? Look to your customer demographics to guide you. While all users will require an easy-to-navigate site, here are the key features valued most by demographic based on a recent analyst survey:

• Baby Boomers. Easy does it: Limited content and functionality.
• Boomers on the edge. Keeping up with the Joneses: User ratings, reviews, and price comparisons.
• Gen X. Talk about the passion: Discussion boards and profile creation.
• Gen Y. I like that: Games, quizzes and questions, profile creation, personalizing the site, and uploading content.

Overall, the preferences of Gen Y’ers (18-27) were the least requested functionalities within the study. So while you can’t please all the people all the time, your dollars are best spent incorporating the more mainstream technologies, plus the occasional special offer, if your market consists of multiple demographics and/or if you are unsure.

For best results, implement tools to collect primary market data, if you haven’t already, as this information will be a boon in driving all of your marketing decisions.

In additon to ease of use, consider applicability as a general guideline. Since most Internet users are seeking content—not e-commerce—regardless of your industry you would be wise to include educational/informative materials, even if this is not your primary product. If you are selling services, the production of content that positions you as an expert, including links to online articles you author, would be a good use of your time—and a no-cost marketing strategy to boot.

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