Here's the First Thing You Need to Do to Fix It
We all visit hundreds, if not thousands of websites every year, and we can probably name five or ten that really captivate our attention enough to visit them regularly. The rest are a mindless blur of five to fifteen second experiences, lost in the noise of the hundreds of thousands of other digital interactions we have every year – web sites, emails, text messages, social media interaction, news feeds, etc. It’s all mostly just noise.
Some simple facts:
If you want your site to stand out from the legions of competitors who look just like you:
Here is The First Question You Need to Ask
If you are confused about the purpose of your website, then your customers will be too. I ask our clients this question all the time: What is the purpose of your website? Typically, I get a variety of responses from senior executives within the same organization. Again: If you are confused, your customers will be too.
The most important thing you must do to fix your web site is answer the fundamental question: What objectives are you trying to achieve with your site?
Here are four common web site strategies employed by business to business organizations today:
The Product Brochure – Transactional companies commonly use this style of web site to provide in-depth information about products or services. If your target audience is someone who already knows what they need, and you are simply trying to show that you have the product or service they seek – this is a good approach.
The e-Business Platform – Enabling customers to easily purchase products or services is the next logical step for the Transactional company. e-Business platforms can help customers buy products on line and solve service issues more efficiently than traditional offline, people intensive methods. This approach can also facilitate additional product sales by using simple “customers who bought this – also bought that” tools - which are available on most e-business platforms.
The Sales Support Tool – Industries that are Sales Centric (i.e. they require significant human interaction to navigate the sales process and close deals) often use their web site as an information repository, enabling sales representatives to refer prospects to specific pieces of content. In this model, sales teams can use the web site to create “next steps” for the prospect... in order to further discussions that were started during a sales call. For example, sales representatives can formulate follow up steps for the prospect, such as: “I’m going to send you a link to a self-assessment tool” or “I’d like to send you a link to an Issue Brief that will give you more information about how companies are solving the problem we discussed."
The Demand Generation Platform – Identifying individuals who are potentially entering a buying cycle – and nurturing them to the point of lead qualification – is the next logical step for the Sales Centric company. Demand Generation programs enable the top of the sales funnel to be filled more efficiently than traditional cold calling activities. This approach requires two things: great content, and the technology to track user behavior and automate responses.
Each of the four web site strategies listed above are valid, but each also requires a level of clarity and commitment to be successful. Gaining consensus around the role of the site, and the objectives you are trying to achieve is critical – because without this clarity, website design and maintenance tends to be haphazard. If your site is a dumping ground for information, then your audience won’t gain any value by visiting your site. And this is the crux of the matter: Your site must provide value for your audience!
Once you have figured out what you want to do with your site and gained consensus in the organization about its purpose, then the rest is relatively straightforward: Build a plan, execute the plan, and measure.
If you look at your web site and think “our site doesn’t really represent the value of our company,” then you might also be interested in our recent blog discussing how to Stop Wasting Money on Marketing.
If you would like to see how Butler Street can help you with your web site and marketing programs, visit http://www.butlerstreetllc.com/marketing-solutions.
And if you just want to talk to an expert – then give us a call or send us an email here.