IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School
The Internet is a permanently ongoing conversation in which people recommend, redirect, provide links, etc. The value of your website depends on how involved you are in this conversation.
One of the main advantages of a solid Internet presence is its capacity to serve as a subject of conversation. Today, everything is about conversation. A campaign, a product launch, the publication of findings, or an appearance on the news, are only worth as much as their capacity to take center stage in a permanently ongoing conversation in which we all participate.
Technology has lowered barriers to entry in the publishing sector to the extent that today an enormous number of people are now able to be constantly involved in that particular conversation. The consequences of this are clear: the value of your brand is directly related to the extent to which it features in said conversation.
Contrary to what company directors may think after decades of unidirectional marketing, the conversation cannot be controlled. The most you can hope for is to be one of the voices taking part. If your web presence is good enough, the people talking about you will have a place to link up with each other when they do. They will be able to include a link to a relevant part of your website in their comments, where it is possible to find information that is permanently available (nobody wants to provide a link to information that disappears after a certain amount of time, and only serves to bring up a message saying “Error 404: not found”) and interesting references (information on products, photos, logos, comment, reactions, etc.).If you do it well, the first place where you can see what someone has said something about you will be in your own website entry figures: there you will be able to see immediately not only that you are the subject of a comment, but also its impact in terms of traffic, or where it was posted. You will have succeeded in becoming a subject of conversation.
Go into your website and look at it. Does it provide information that is worth putting a link to? Or is it just a static and boring brochure with no value? Is it designed to inspire links to it, to answer questions and invite participation? Could it be the subject of a conversation? If not, it’s time you redesigned it!