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Why Website Strategy Before Design Means More Profits for You.
Your Website is Going to Increase Sales. Really? It Is? It MUST.
All too often I meet business owners who realize what they really needed from their website, after they’ve launched their site. If you want your website to help your business increase sales, you must start with a solid Web Strategy.
This behavior also holds true in many areas of life. I was having a chat with a friend when suddenly she had this panicked, deer caught in headlights look on her face as she said, “Now that I have been married for a year, I finally know what I need in a husband, and he is not it.”
We never want to see that shocked look on our clients faces, so at MarkNet Group we always propose that you first invest in web strategy consulting, then dive into your website design. In our years of experience, we’ve found that when a clear web strategy is implemented the ROI of a website increases dramatically.
Mapping out a web strategy is exciting, and we love doing this for our clients. The end result provides amazing clarity and direction that sparks business ideas beyond the website. We love to Make It Happen for our clients, but we get even more excited when our clients are inspired, own the strategy, realize their vision, and the website’s sales funnel is rocking.
Here are six things to consider when establishing your website strategy:
Know Your Hyperactive, Profitable Customer
Your hyperactive customer is the one that always buys from you. You understand them, they rave about you, and you give them amazing results at a profit. Your website is for this ideal customer; not the bottom 20%. During your web strategy sessions you need to focus on the details of their needs, challenges, inspirations & frustrations, and believe it or not, pay attention to the the hobbies they enjoy. A great web team will then take that knowledge and create a website that appeals to your ideal customer. This means more profits, and stimulating work for you.
Remember, there may be more than one ideal customer for your products. Think about it. Microsoft appeals to both business owner with their Office Suite, and teenagers with their XBox community. The key is to understand ALL of your ideal customers.
Start Backwards From Your Most Profitable Product or Service
I can’t begin to tell you how many times a client comes to me and they want to build a website that focuses on a specific product offering. I assume this must be the most profitable product right? Not Always.
After I get to know my customer and they trust me with their financials, I quickly realize that I was planning to build a website that would drive customers to purchase a product that is break even at best. This is fine, ONLY if you’ve created a sales funnel to upsell them your profitable products, after they buy your loss leader.
Take your most profitable and sustainable offering and work backwards. Let’s say your ideal offering is called “Gizmo”. You begin to craft a sales funnel that naturally leads the buyer to purchase Gizmo either outright or as an obvious upsell. To do this you need metrics. For example, in our business, specific marketing services are very profitable. I can make a fairly accurate prediction whether or not someone will purchase our marketing services, based on the type of website they purchase. Based on this information, you now have an opportunity to either discount their website, or provide them with the marketing services they need at an exclusive discount. These are the benefits and added value of becoming a residual customer.
So this means your web team should either, feature Gizmo, or lead with the lower priced offering that naturally drives them to buy Gizmo. This is where having a web strategy team that understands the psychology of call-to-action and conversion optimization is critical. You don’t need to master it though. Your job is to make sure your team has gathered the right information to get you optimal results.
Re-brand to be the Brand Your Customers Desire
This is self explanatory, but let’s just say sometimes you need to re-brand yourself. If your business is growing and evolving, you may have outgrown your brand. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your company, the evolution of your business and your current portfolio of clients. Take a step back and ask yourself, “does my brand accurately convey my true identity, and does it still resonate with my ideal audience?” If you’ve done Tip #1 above, you can easily answer this question. If the answer is yes, it’s time to revisit your brand.
Our Creative Director, Dana is brilliant at this. It amazes me how she can take inventory of a brand, completely visualize its greater potential, and then comes back with something epic. If you don’t have the gift of branding, the understanding of how colors, fonts, visuals, and messaging impacts buyers, then hire someone. Don’t cheap out on your brand. Be the brand your customers desire and the profits will follow.
Establish Your Goals ~ AGAIN
Notice I did not make this your first step, and this is the reason why…
I find that after you think through the first three tips, you begin to have a bigger vision, and then you modify your goals. Now you may want to jump into a whole new market. Or, now that you’ve run the numbers and isolated your most profitable product, you now want to shift your focus. This is the time to revisit your goals. Your customers goals, your company’s goals, and how your website will fulfill those goals.
Your website is an interactive sales funnel. The architecture, design, user flow, and messaging must reflect these goals. You also need to quantify what success looks like, and set up the proper metrics to measure that success. The types of data you want to capture is a factor in the sites architecture. I can’t tell you how many times we inherit a website that is structured improperly; this makes it impossible to capture the proper metrics. A great web strategy team knows how to optimally structure a website and arm you with the metrics you need to support your marketing decisions.
Go Beyond Your Website. What Have You Done Lately?
It’s no longer enough to have a great website. A money-making website must have layers; search engine optimization, digital marketing, social media, email marketing and offline marketing activities. What you’re doing off the website affects what you do on the website. For example, if you’re planning to be active on social media, you need to publish content, and you’ll want to drive some of the content back to your website.
Where will they land? Your blog? If yes, how will your blog drive them to respond to your call-to-action.
Are you speaking at events? How about a page to showcase videos of you speaking at events?
Are you going to pound the pavement, phone lines and wholesale to retail stores? How will they see your wholesale prices, and where will they go to download the wholesale application form, or get the latest inventory updates? You do NOT want to do any of this manually. We have worked with many eCommerce businesses where we set up wholesale portals to support their offline retail relationships.
It’s important to understand the thread of activities that connect Point A to Point B, C, D, E, etc., and then implementing the proper tools, techniques and technologies that will make you more efficient, productive & profitable.
Identify The Content That Will Fulfill Your Sales Funnel
Content can be painful for business owners. There are never enough hours in a day, and customers are always a first priority. This makes it next to impossible to schedule time to write, or hire a qualified writer that clones the voice of their business. Here is a copywriting tip; have a plan and a content strategy. Once you’ve completed the aforementioned steps, you’ll be able to map out the flow of web pages and content. You can then create a sitemap, user flow and a simple outline. Before you start, just make sure you have a blueprint for how your copy and supporting design will get users to your primary call-to-action.
The Moral of the Story
Don’t get married until you know what you really want in a husband.
Your website is there to support you, sell for you, and it’s usually the first point of contact a prospect makes with your company. If it’s not done right, it may be the first and last contact they make with your brand. If it’s done right, it can be your best salesperson, brand ambassador and marketing tool. To effectively achieve this, you need a web strategy, then you need to hire a team that knows how to take that strategy and Make It Happen.
It’s unfortunate to say, but not every web team understands strategic design, and some of the most beautiful sites are ineffective. They’re just another pretty face.