Is your website an active participant in helping your company reach its growth objectives or is it a passive bystander? With more than 75% of buyers beginning their product/service research online, your company can’t afford to neglect your website’s ability to attract quality prospects and directly impact sales. As buyers and consumers become savvier in their ability to screen companies in – or out – ensuring that your website remains up to date and relevant to your target audience is essential to sustainable growth.
Think Strategically Before Working Tactically
It’s easy to begin the work of site development in terms of design and functionality. A sustainable website, one that grows with a company, is one that is aligned with business goals. Skipping the strategic integration step is one of the most common – and expensive – mistakes that companies can make. It’s important to consider the site in terms of what your brand’s strategic growth objectives are, from customer acquisition to cost reduction. Attend to design and functionality when you’re fully prepared to address how the site will help your business engage prospects, save time, and drive home your key brand differentials better than competitors.
Attract the “Right” Audience…Not Just Any Audience
If you’ve seen site traffic analytics that report the number of unique visitors to your site, but are wondering where the real inquiries and sales results are, you know what we’re talking about here. A site that impacts sales is one that is relevant to its target audience(s) – the prospects and customers that are perfectly aligned with the brand offering and are prepared to receive the brands’ valuable message.
Many businesses understand their target customers well enough to develop services and products that are desirable. But this knowledge does not always translate into a website that 1) attracts the right prospective buyer, 2) connects with the buyer, and 3) moves the buyer from interest to inquiry. Take a step back and consider your buyers from the “interactive” standpoint.
How do buyers interact with your type of offering? What are their search patterns? Are there processes that you can bring online that would enhance the user experience and predispose buyers to select you? How web savvy is the audience?
Once you understand these key points, original, high-value content must be created so that your business can be found digitally. Depending on your audience and goals, methods such as keyword research, geo-targeting, paid-ads, blog posts, meta-data, and social media, should be considered. The key with SEO and SEM is alignment between the buyer intention and your delivered content along with a compelling incentive and a measurement point.
A site that delivers measurable results is one that clearly connects to the user experience and audience preferences.
Reduce Buyer Objections
Part of understanding the user experience is understanding buyer objections (whether consumer or B2B) and addressing those objections online in a way that builds trust. Your web content must address buyers who have misperceptions, are price sensitive, or have any of the other objections relevant to your target. It is crucial to align your value with buyer’s needs and points of pain. From there, you must develop a strategy using engaging educational content that convinces prospects to covert. Educational content shows buyers that you understand their objectives while adding credibility (it also helps with SEO).
On and Offline Integration
Technology plays a critical role in growing sales. While it is crucial to optimize your digital tactics, there is still a time and place for print medium. When used effectively, the two go hand-in-hand in developing an interactive user experience. Depending on your audience, there is an opportunity to use a print magazine article, direct mail, brochure or other form of print media that can lead prospects to your website.
Measure Website Effectiveness
When measuring website effectiveness, it is important to consider the user-experience. How are your users going to visit the site and what do they want to see? Digital connectivity gives businesses the ease of accessibility when analyzing program effectiveness. Regardless of the tool you are using (Ex: Listrak, Google Analytics, Moz, Hootsuite) there are back-end analytics that allow you to check how many impressions, views, clicks, etc. your site, blog post, download, or email is receiving. By establishing goals and understanding how customers interact with your company, you can see what works and what doesn’t in order continuously improve your results.
Future Considerations: Mobile Web Development
Mobile traffic has surpassed other forms of web traffic, including desktop. Mobile integration will optimize the user-experience and keep your web presence current.
There is an ever increasing paradigm shift in shopping habits and buyer behavior. Consumers and B2B buyers have the ability to search, compare, and purchase with the touch of a button from almost anywhere. Don’t get left behind.
Jennifer Peterson, President and Co-Founder of Wavelength Marketing (www.wavelengthresults.com), specializes in strategic marketing planning for companies seeking measurable growth, regardless of industry, and in competitive positioning for brands that are in highly competitive or commoditized markets.
This article is also featured on Business Woman PA magazine in both print and digital February 2016 editions.