Terms like inbound marketing, content marketing, growth hacking, conversion testing, ROI, KPIs and “the Cloud,” SEO and my new personal favorite: Big Data.
Some of you may be familiar with many of them, and that is great, but many of you are just starting to grasp what a web presence can do for your business. The end goal of many of these buzzwords is quite similar, to get an internet user to find your site, be impressed enough at what they find that they either make a purchase – in the case of an ecommerce site – fill out a contact form, pick up the phone, or any other action that defines the visitors experience on your site as effective.
But while these buzzwords have similar end goals, they often aren’t the right tactic for the task at hand.
Too often, the goals for a website are poorly defined, or worse, they aren’t defined at all. It becomes easy to start looking at the buzzword du jur as the magic bullet that automatically fixes the problems.
When this happens, the buzzwords become a pain point for clients. “We built a website a couple years ago, it isn’t doing us any good, and we keep getting emails that we need to invest in SEO or Social Media, or Content Marketing. Can you guys do this?”
Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions about your online business:
- What is the number one goal of your company website?
- What have you done in the last 6 months to make your website achieve that goal?
- Do you know what your conversion rate is?
- Are you considered an expert in your line of work? Do your clients and prospects know this?
- Do you know the demographics of your prospective clients?
Identify Your Business Goals
The simple fact of the matter is that most businesses are hard pressed to come up with an answer to the first question.
Despite the commercial web being nearly 20 years old, you would be surprised how many times I hear the answer “I don’t know; everyone told me I needed a website.”
Would you hire a new employee and just expect him or her to just sit there? Usually there is a full blown job description listing the responsibilities of the job that lays out what is expected of a new hire. You should take this same step when thinking about developing (or rebuilding) your website.
Whether or not you become a Corporate 3 Design client, being able to talk to your web developer and say “the goal of our site is this: _________________” you immediately define an expectation of success and give your web developer the ability to be razor focused on the project before them.
Here are some sample goals to get you started:
- “I need this website to be a bridge between my existing clients and myself, automating many of our shared tasks to make us all more efficient.”
- “I make blue widgets, and I need this site to sell x amount of widgets every month.”
- “Our company isn’t well known, but we are experts in our field. I need our site to help expose our credentials, get the word out to a larger audience, and get them to fill out our contact form.”
- “We are a restaurant but need help reaching our customers. We want to grow our email list so that 1) we know who our customers are so we can market to a similar demographic and 2) build a better relationship with them by offering rewards via email.”
Feed Your Site With Original Content
When was the last time you added something new to your site?
The simple fact of the matter is that for a website to successfully reach its goals, it needs to be fed. It doesn’t have to happen all at once; in fact, it would be better if didn’t.
Taking the analogy of treating your website like an employee again, it needs to be treated as a living entity.
Launching the website was step one, now you need to expand the size and depth of your site by:
- Creating new content on a regular basis.
- Checking Google Analytics to find out what visitors are clicking on
- Following current events in your industry or region
It doesn’t have to be done daily or even weekly, but take the time to put together a content calendar that gives you an outline and time-line for when you should be adding new content to your site.
Find fresh content for your website
Do you blog? Do you have dynamic individuals on staff that could be the focus of video? Do you have talent on staff that could maintain a podcast?
Content can come from anywhere. Look to your staff for the people who are already doing it. Here’s a tip, if you have more than a few employees, I’ll bet that you have someone on staff who is already blogging on their own time, and more often than not, blogging about your industry.
Make Sense of Your Conversion Rates
What do you think is the better opportunity: Thousands of web visitors a day or a small handful?
Do you know your conversion rate – those who complete an action on your site that fits with your site’s goal? If you don’t, you may be surprised on the correct answer. More traffic isn’t always the pathway to success. Now let me ask you this: Would you rather have 15,000 daily visitors that results in 10 people completing your goal action or would you rather have 100 visitors and 30 completing the goal action? Want to change your answer to the first question now?
The simple fact of the matter is that in most cases, going after more traffic is often a wasted effort. But unless you know your conversion rate, you can’t be sure. Google Analytics is a great place to start!
Leverage Your Thought Leaders
Somewhere in your company you most likely have someone who is a thought leader in your industry.
These types of people can be invaluable to bringing the spotlight to both your company and your website. Thought Leaders are ideal as blog authors, press interviews, podcast and video interviews and more. These people are also ideal on social media networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
Putting a face to the knowledge and making them available, is a key method of getting in front of new prospects. They should also have some sort of featured element on your website, so don’t forget them when planning a new site architecture.
Use Demographics For Targeting
Do you know the demographics of your customers and prospects? Learn how to find your audience with the help of social media or analytics.
If not, how can you begin to plan on how to reach them. Nothing sends a worse message than expending your resources in one direction only to find out your prospects aren’t even there. For example, companies who, even to this day, insist on having huge, complex sites filled with technology that breaks where it is needed most.
I’m looking squarely at you restaurants. These days, most visitors to restaurant sites are visiting on a mobile device, and they want one of three things:
- The Phone Number
- The address
- The menu
Yet I still see it on weekly basis, a restaurant sitting there with a website built in Flash, completely unusable in the mobile space.
The next time you go down the path of designing or developing your web presence I hope you take the time to ask yourself these questions. Regardless if you ever become a Corporate 3 Client or not, having an answer to these questions can determine if your new site will be a success or a failure.
Unsure about your company website’s performance? Contact us today for a FREE website assessment to discover your potential for growth on the web!