Advantages

Case Study: Personal Touch

This promo product expert needed a new website for her small company – and fast.

The Pro

Name: Beth Ann Parnell
Title: Owner
Distributorship: BAP Agency LLC (asi/131912) in Albertville, AL

Case Study: Personal Touch

The Website

URL: bap-agency.com
Initial Cost: $3,500
Model: E-Commerce and Lead Generation

Beth Ann Parnell has nearly 20 years of industry experience in various roles, and finally decided to launch her own distributorship in July 2016. She needed a well-designed website quickly, and while attending the ASI Show in Chicago last summer, she spoke with ESP representatives to discuss available website services.

“Circumstances were such that I had to act fast,” she says. “Companies have to have a web presence now. It gives them credibility. I knew I wanted a site that was beyond standard offerings, which don’t represent me or my brand, and the staff in Chicago assured me a custom ESP Website would be truly custom.”

When Parnell got back to Alabama, she sent all copy and information she wanted to include – including the all-important About Us, Contact Us and Product Search page tabs – to the ESP Websites team, and they sent back mock-ups and proofs for her approval.

“I want my site to be an idea source,” says Parnell. “So prospects take a look at the products, get some ideas and then contact me, though they can buy directly from the site too. I focus on the consultative side because I’m passionate about it, and about promotional products, marketing, building brands and advertising. I don’t want it to necessarily be on them to pick a product; if you choose a pen, it should have a purpose and a plan.”

To maintain the personal consultation feel of her services, Parnell had ESP Websites include an image of people brainstorming as her main homepage image, overlaid with a concise explanation of the services she offers. “It represents me as a people person,” says Parnell. “I reiterated that over and over when we were building the site. I wanted it to feel very personal, like I’m sitting at a table with the client. And then they can navigate around very quickly.”

Parnell does use SEO keywords to drive traffic, and has even considered paid online advertising. But she continues to weigh her options, recognizing that her clientele is mostly in her home state of Alabama. “Usually I’ll network in person and leave prospects with my URL, like on a business card, for example, and then my site lends me credibility,” she says. “It’s a little bit of the reverse approach compared to larger firms that drive a lot of business from their sites.” Furthermore, in Parnell’s rural area where her company is based, people still appreciate a personal touch, which requires in-person networking events and efforts.

“People call me to get the products they found elsewhere,” she says. “It’s a vast industry, so I encourage them to visit the site, view the products there and then contact me for a consultation. I want to make sure they know they don’t have to spend time searching for a product, that I’ll take care of that.”

Takeaways:

  • Look into affordable options for a custom site.
  • Include your URL on all marketing materials.
  • Use personality when putting together the design and content.
Key Terms

SEO: Short for search engine optimization, the process of ensuring a webpage appears as one of the first search results for specific keywords.

Google AdWords: Paid online advertising services offered by Google.

Google Analytics: A free tool that allows businesses to analyze website traffic and measure advertising ROI in order to develop optimal marketing strategies.

Web builder tools: DIY templates for building websites using drag-and-drop functions, without the need for coding.