I want to talk about monetised destination sites that have fluid user experience, and that reel in the absolute ceiling in conversions. What`s interesting is that even if the site/action/services are complicated, the structure and feel of the site makes short work of them.
It`s not unusual to order something online – book a flight in South Africa, find a book that`s actually in stock, ask for more details on a number of services – and for it to be a struggle. Immediately I think that the company in question doesn`t particularly care about their reputation or about the sale; it`s the equivalent of walking into a store and being ignored by a shopkeeper, and then treated to a grudging exchange of my money for their product. The point is, as Read Write Web so eloquently states, “Users perceive all elements of the service (online) as the service itself (offline).” Which, I`d say, also goes for the company`s brand, no matter on whose platform it appears. If I have a difficult time finding information on Facebook about a company that has a brand as its avatar, I`m still going to associate that user experience with the company`s services; as illogical as that may be.
So, going back to the monetised destination site: it`s extremely valuable if you get it right. I think the extrapolation of that counts, i.e. the more platforms you`re able to create optimum user experience on, the higher your traffic/income. I`m no teccie; I admit that freely. But I understand the thesis that any service that is transactional or advertising-driven, will benefit from appearing on a number of interfaces or platforms. And if you have the resources, the energy and the ambition, you have no excuse but to do whatever it takes to reach the audiences that reside on those platforms. And that does not mean over-optimisation, content duplication and generally sucking at SEO.
I think it`s important to keep a tight leash on your brand and who has access to write/speak/appear under it. At the same time, it`s important to channel your efforts wholly into a select few potent platforms, as opposed to a number of “lucky dip” popular social media platforms. Just as fire`s fickle friend is destined only to be ash, so will social media`s careless users. So which platforms are the best to use? It depends who you are and what you want for your business on the web. Create a strategy for each platform and assign management, development and testing to it, as you would any traditional advertising venture, and you`ll succeed. Just remember that each time someone finds you online, it`s as if they`ve walked into your flagship premises, and it`s best to be approachable.