So often we hear from our prospective clients that they “need a website”, and that they believe if we provide one, something magical will happen for their businesses.
However, using a digital presence as a marketing tool is actually a three step process, and building your website is only one element of it.
The First Step
The first step is applying a strategic planning process that details the objectives your business is trying to achieve, and that also lays out how the website, as a marketing tool, will help increase the likelihood of achieving those goals.
Without this phase of the planning process, the website design and messaging can look disjointed and unfocused. Or, your website can turn into a vanity project that doesn’t consider your target audience, and therefore doesn’t result in increased sales.
The plan for exactly how your website will be used as a marketing tool for your business should be robust and well thought out, not skimmed over or ignored.
The branding, positioning, calls to action and navigation that make up your website will all be determined by the road map that comes out of this planning process. It will give the website design process direction.
The Second Step
The second step is building the website and making sure that the structure, flow and messaging will speak to the desired target audience.
This step also involves building a navigational structure that makes it easy for them to find the information they are looking for, and creating an overall enjoyable experience for them while they are visiting the site.
The Final Step
The third step is also critical. Once the website is launched, you’ll continue to make adjustments and tweaks, based on feedback, so that it becomes even more successful over time. This is the monitoring and data collection phase.
Larry Anderson’s Post-Launch Metrics
Larry Anderson, Founder and CEO of Larry Anderson Consultants, spends a lot of his time with his clients on all aspects of the website projects he is involved in. He believes that refining the message over time, after the site has been launched, can be the most rewarding part when it comes to growing your business.
Larry looks at these 5 metrics when assessing the success of one of his clients websites:
- Bounce Rate - Are the visitors to the website leaving immediately when they visit?
- Time on Page - How long do visitors spend on the key message pages, and do they even get to them?
- Clicks on the Calls to Action - Are the Calls to Action driving the intended behaviours?
- Content Creation - Keeping information fresh and relevant so visitors return
- Translation into Sales - Do the messages and calls to action actually lead to higher sales volumes?
When Larry and his team make these assessments over time, based on the real behavior of visitors when they come to a website, they can make adjustments in real time that help that website perform better. That will lead to deeper visitor engagement and increased sales growth.
More to it Than “Just a Website”
The 'we need a website' process is a little more involved than than simply posting up a new design and hoping people will find you.
If you want your web presence to really drive your business forward and help it grow, an intentional approach is required, one driven by on-going feedback about how your digital marketing tool is performing – both before and after launch.