Visitors to your office?  At a networking event? How do you treat clients and prospects in person?  Do you run up to them, stop 1-foot from their face, and start telling them ALL about your services, your products, your latest media-mention, your senior management, your stock price, blah-ba-blah-ba-BLAH!  I hope not – because if you do people probably hate you! :-(  No!  You probably approach them warmly and with respect, a smile on your face, a greeting, “Hi!  My name is …  Nice to meet you.  I’m so glad you’re here.  What brings you here? ….”  And then they talk for a while, don’t they?  Don’t you listen, ask clarifying questions, make sure they are in the right place at the right time, and make sure they feel safe and secure and can thus share information freely?  Aren’t these, like, fundamentals of business etiquette?  If the answer is “Yes.”…

Then why don’t Web sites, in general, do similar things?  A Welcome video greeting the visitor (with a cookie so it doesn’t come up for repeat visitors),  clear calls-to-action or sign-posts or an interactive tool that asks a question like “Why are you here?” and then suggests a destination – “You’ll find more information on ___ in our ___ section.”  How about a tool that says, “Did you find what you were looking for?”  How about an interactive chat tool with a REAL PERSON that pops up and says “Hi!  My name is …  I work for ____.  I might be able to save you some time.  What brings you here?  Here if you need me…”

I might be out in left field on this, but it just seems to me that the next generation of Web sites will be more like Google – a simple landing page, a brand image, a few links, but the main thing is the MAIN THING on the page.  You know your audience, right?  You know why they are there?  So deliver what they are looking for – quickly, simply, and easily.  And  oh btw, along the way, you will ENGAGE them and isn’t that the point?  If you are serving too many audiences for that, then break up the Web site into more focused sub-domains or micro-sites.  If you don’t want to do that because it takes too long to develop a new site, or because it’s too hard to manage multiple Web sites, well, CONTACT ME BECAUSE IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY if you have the right architecture in place.

What do you think?  Am I out in left field on this?  Please comment.  Tweet this (@mikewise07).  Link to your own blog and write your take.  Let’s kick it around a bit.

Oh yeah, I’m taking a poll in Linkedin: http://polls.linkedin.com/p/23227/fxkrc

Based on your experience (or perhaps ask someone in your office), estimate an appropriate PER-PIECE savings in converting from a paper process to an e-process for a form with A LOT OF DATA (e.g. an insurance enrollment form, an agent contracting form, etc… obviously non-scientific, just looking for a data-point…) (See this story for background.)

Hope to see some of you at the PIMA Annual Meeting next week.  Pumped for Phoenix and my old stomping grounds from when Diane and I first got married and had little tikes.

For those of you new to Twitter, here are a few useful links:

I’ll be tweeting the PIMA conference with #PIMA.  Love tweetdeck – Thanks to Rick MorganGreat Blog, by the way.

Cool!  Found my blog listed on an insurance industry site – Click “Blogs” on the left… Sweet! Got a few click-throughs.

Picture:

My daughter is on a billboard in Cleveland!

Kelle Wise, middle, took the picture, too.