We were honored when China Mist Tea Company selected StringCan as their online marketing partner to create a strategic B2B (Business to Business) website and digital marketing strategy to help attract new customers for its restaurant tea programs. The website was launched earlier this month (October 2012) and feedback has been very positive, thanks to the successful partnership of China Mist, the StringCan team and Pinball Digital. Working with China Mist Tea Company on this project was very rewarding for us; working hand in hand with Bonnie Brown, the Director of Marketing for China Mist. From this experience we wanted to share ten tips to keep in mind when you are looking to build a successful website:
Tip #1: Build the Right Team: Having the right team is key to any project. Spending the time upfront to meet with and outline goals and expectations will save time, money and help create an overall better product. The Director of Marketing at China Mist Tea Company, Bonnie Brown did her due diligence and research when deciding on her team to undertake the important task of creating a B2B website, “China Mist Tea Company is in the midst of a major refocusing campaign aimed at expanding its market share over a relatively short period of time. StringCan Interactive and Pinball, were able to help us conceptualize the website and execute it in a concise, professional and timely manner.”
Tip #2: Do the Research: Before even starting the design process, it needs to be determined what content and features the site needs to have and how your competitors’ sites match up to those features. A useful tool for this is a Competitive Digital Audit, something StringCan completes for each of our new clients, in order to determine how to cut through the noise and help stand out from the competition. It is essentially a matrix of messages, features and online presence noting the opportunities you have to stand out. The process of studying the competition helps define the whole process, outlining clear goals and objectives you can be confident will lead to success.
Tip #3: Know your Target Audience: Without a target audience, your site can become too generalized and overall unsuccessful, because your target audience will not feel as though you are speaking to them. Ask yourself who is your site intended for? What are their points of pain? How can you solve their problem? Putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience will ensure you create a content strategy for your website that is relevant and interesting to your audience. For China Mist Tea Co. they understood that the target audience was focused on VP of Beverage sales for fast casual restaurants. Our team creates personas for each of our target audiences, which is a fictional representation of the ideal audience addressing that audience goals, motivations and desires. Through targeting this persona, China Mist was able to communicate in a meaningful way educating their audience that tea is greatly underestimated and can easily boost their bottom line with the right pairings and flavor profiles. We worked with Bonnie and her team to develop content and images that would speak directly to China Mist’s audience.
Tip #4: Understand Your Personality: Having a well-defined personality that comes through on the site is one of the key factors to helping a company stand out. China Mist wanted their site to be strategic and be business driven, more educational and ultimately making them the go-to beverage for restaurants everywhere. They wanted to show that they care and are focused on improving a restaurant's bottom line while providing a better tea experience for their customers.
Tip #5: Create an amazing visual experience: We were fortunate to work with a client that had a direction of where they wanted to go with the design and we were able to combine that with our digital marketing experience and usability knowledge, along with the endlessly creativity of Pinball to create a well designed, modern and engaging site. We decided the site should be easy to use, present informative content, yet short and simple with easy navigation and strong calls to action. We chose vibrant pictures that welcome the visitor and placed them throughout the site. When designing a site make sure you choose colors and a theme that correlate with the rest of your marketing so you enhance your brand. We made sure the website matched the look and feel of both on and offline marketing initiatives.
Tip #6: Keep It Simple and Easy to Understand: By keeping your navigation and site to only what is necessary without overwhelming the visitor, along with content that is to the point and clear, your visitors will remain on the site and engage with it. With all of the features of the site, such as ways to learn from the Special Reports or gain information from speaking with tea experts through the Tea Evaluation, if anything, it intrigues the person even more and helps make China Mist the go-to beverage company for their restaurants.
Tip #7: Creating Awareness Through Digital Marketing: Creating a targeted campaign that will drive the right audience is a great way to create traffic quickly after the site is launched. In order to generate awareness for the new site, StringCan worked with China Mist to develop a digital marketing strategy focusing on how best to reach the audience through search marketing, social media and other initiatives such as email marketing. Based on your target audience, we recommend you go where your customer is at. When doing your research from tip #2 ask your customer about what kind of sites they visit. Find out what social media networks they are active on. You would be amazed how much you can learn by just asking smart questions. This research will allow you to ensure each dollar and resource invested is efficient rather than a shotgun approach.
Tip #8: Analyze Your Traffic: Understanding traffic patterns to and from your site is imperative to a strong marketing campaign. In order to track how many visits the site has and where they come from, like advertising banner ad clicks, we utilize Google Analytics. It is a great tool and you can't beat its cost - Free! Based on your goals and objectives make sure upfront before launching a new online initiative you have key performance metrics in place.
Tip #9: Capture your Leads and Automate Communication: Infusionsoft is one of our preferred Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions we often recommend to clients to manage sales and marketing leads. It combines everything from high quality CRM, email marketing, e-commerce to social media tools and ultimately helps you manage leads, increase the amount of sales, and reduce time manually managing various tools.
Tip #10: Have a Reason for People to Leave Their Info: Provide incentives to make people want to leave their info. Offer visitors the choice of how they want to engage with you. Not everyone is ready to buy on the 1st visit; however, not capturing that information is a lost opportunity. For example, you can give users that might be interested but not ready to buy the option of signing up for a newsletter, or for those ready to purchase can have the option of speaking with a member of your team about the services you provide. China Mist’s website makes it easy for the visitor to trust that China Mist knows what they are talking about and can have the solutions to the visitors’ problems. This gives them a reason to leave their information, for example, they can hear from China Mist’s tea experts about their strategic tea solutions.
In order to have a successful B2B site the above tips should be considered. If you’d like to look at China Mist’s new site click here. Let us know if you have any questions or other tips you want to share!