Nowadays, websites have become a requirement for every business. However, many businesses will spend the money to get a website and end up disappointed by the results. “We expected it to have more of an impact on our business” is a complaint we hear a lot from clients who want us to rebuild their websites for them. For many companies, this lack of performance usually boils down to a misunderstanding of a site’s real potential as a marketing tool.
1. Target your target market.
It’s seductively easy to want to talk about ourselves. But sometimes, you need to look past your own nose and consider your site from the customer’s angle. This impacts everything from the information on your homepage to the tone of voice throughout the website.
Consider the advertising trick of “marketing personas.” These are fictional characters, created with a combination of marketing data and educated guesses, who embody the essence of your customer base. So a Michigan plumbing supply company, rather than try to market to a spreadsheet full of nebulous data, might instead market to “Bob,” a 38-year-old plumber from Waukeegan, MI, who’s married, has his own small business, and responds to emergency plumbing calls at any time, day or night. Even though “Bob” was created out of whole cloth by looking at customer data and extrapolating, by placing ourselves in his shoes, we can start to imagine exactly what he might require from the site:
- Navigational structure and responsiveness – How quickly and easily can Bob find the level of detail he needs? If he’s in the field and only has his phone with him, could he still order the right part?
- Type of content – Text, images, video, etc. What appeals to him? How much would he care about your corporate history or the awards you’ve won? Do you think he would sit still for ten minutes while you explain things to him, or read through an enormous ream of text? And with that said, if he really needs specific technical information, how intuitive is it to get to it?
- Tone of voice – Friendly or formal, it should engage him at his own level. How would you expect all the “Bobs” out there to speak?
- Your offerings – Focus on solving their problems, not touting your solution.
2. Go find your audience.
You’ve redesigned your website and even paid a little bit of attention to optimizing for keywords that are all about your business. But the right people aren’t finding your site.
You talk in terms of solutions you provide, while your customers talk about the problems they need solved. The pain and the solution may match up, but they wouldn’t find you if you only optimized your website for your own idea of what you are.
It’s critical to structure your website redesign about the language your prospects use. It’s equally important to not assume that they’ll magically appear on your site. Find them through search engine optimization, but also through targeted social media engagement to add value to their time online. Don’t underestimate the power of traditional advertising to draw visitors to your site, either.
3. Capture your sales leads.
Your website redesign is flawless, but if you have no way to gather any contact information from your customers, you’re losing valuable sales leads. A visitor may not be ready to buy immediately. They’re probably just a little earlier in the purchasing process.
If you have helpful resources that your visitors care about, it should be simple to start generating leads from your website. Help those folks through the educational phase of the sales cycle; the trust you build will give you a huge advantage when the time is right. Start implementing calls-to-action, landing pages, forms, thank-you pages, and email follow-up right away.
4. Follow up with your audience.
Even if you’ve targeted the right people, optimized your website redesign, gathered leads, and measured everything, you could still be throwing away thousands of dollars because you never follow up with the database you’re building.
Get a system in place to capitalize on your website redesign by nurturing your leads throughout the buying cycle. Gathering email addresses and names is pointless unless you follow up and can grow your business because of those lead generation efforts.
5. Measure your return on investment.
A website redesign alone won’t get you anywhere if you’re not measuring the results to learn what works and what doesn’t. Put a system in place (Google Analytics is our go-to method right now) to measure the traffic generated through your website. Take the time to review those results and constantly tweak the system to improve it. Remember, completing your website is only the first step; much like planting a garden, letting it go to seed doesn’t help anybody.
At the end of the day, your existing website may have a lot of potential, and with the proper care and energy put into it, it can still generate plenty of sales and/or attention. We at Matcha Design know how to convert a less-than-performant website into a finely oiled machine. Contact us today. We’re always happy to help.