Marketing Basics: Is your website working for you?

These days most people consider a website to be all important.  Some businesses do still get by without one, admittedly, but the general consensus is that to have a successful business you need an online presence in the form of a website.

So if you do have a website the question is: Is it working for you?  (If you don’t have a website that is a different matter entirely and one which I can help you resolve.)

So, is your website working for you?
The first issue with that question would seem to be: how do you know if it is working for you or not?  How can you tell?  This just leads to more questions I’m afraid:

What is the purpose of your website?
I.e. why does your business need one and what are to you trying to achieve by having one?

Answers to this might include: selling your products online more quickly and easily than by mail order or by brochure or in a shop.  It could be that you want to be able to direct potential customers to a place where they can get more information about you so that you don’t have to spend lots of your time on sales calls or sending out expensive brochures.

Or it could be that you want a site that exists for the benefit or your existing customers, so they can interact with you and your business and access your products and services without needing to engage directly with you, therefore cutting your overheads and increasing their convenience. I am sure there are more answers to that question but those are the main three (in my opinion).

So which answer is it for you?  Make a list about what you want your website to do and achieve – be as specific as possible as this will guide you in making sure it is doing what you want it to.

Secondly, you need to consider that if it isn’t working for you – what to do about it.

Without going into too much detail, let’s take each type of website in the example answers above and go through key information they should and things to consider adding to your site to improve it.

The brochure site.
This is the most simple and most commonly used type of site – in terms of strategy.  It exists to purely and simply to provide information to potential customers and to get them to contact you if they haven’t already.

Key information to include on a brochure site includes:

  • Home page: this should contain you core marketing messages – telling people what you do and why they should buy from you.
  • Services/products page: you must tell people what you can do for them – so a list of products or services is key – including the benefits of those products or services to your customer.
  • About us page: people want to know who they are doing business so often overlooked this is page is key.
  • Contact us page: your potential customers if interested will want to know how to get in touch with you.

There are other things that are advisable to include on a brochure website and you can have as much information on your site as you – want the key is to get people to read it.

Even though a brochure site is informational it should still be designed to get visitors to take action.  You need to encourage visitors to get in touch touch with you.  One popular way to do this is to offer a free report or ecourse etc to get them to sign up to your mailing list.  Once they do this they have effectively given you permission to begin a relationship with you – one in which they are more likely to become a customer.

So KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for a brochure website include:

  • Number of visitors to your site (you will need a statistics tracking device for this – Google Analytics offers a particularly good and free one).
  • Number of people signing up to your mailing list – out of the number of visitors to your site.
  • Number of people contacting you as a direct result of having been to your site.

All of these involve a wonderful but nevertheless much overlooked marketing tool called tracking.  It can be sophisticated or it can be as simple as asking where your customer heard about you!

If you can track these figures then you will know if your website is doing its job.  Even if you are only getting one sign up per week or one call per month – the purpose of your site is working – not great at those levels obviously, but it is.

So the key is to get it working ever more efficiently and that is where some of the other 17 ways to generate leads for your business come in.  (More in later issues.)

One thing to remember is if you are going to make changes to your site, try to do them one at a time and then track any changes in your results.  Then you will know whether it has been an effective change or not.

E-commerce sites
OK… so the other two types of site are ecommerce sites (ones that sell products online) and customer or interactive sites (ones that provide your existing customers with a forum in which to engage with you).

These are more complicated types of sites, but still work under similar rules to the brochure site. The key is to get people to your site, keep them there and then get them to complete whatever goal you need them to complete to become a customer. With most online product sites – once your potential customer is there, chances are they were looking directly for you or they are ready to buy the type of product you have and perhaps need convincing or are doing price research.

Interactive sites
The last type of site – interactive – tend to be the most complex sites in terms of the technology used behind them and also in terms of objectives, content and management. An interactive site is designed to provide your existing clients with additional value to your products and services or as part of that product and service. Interactive sites are highly bespoke but offer the best return on investment.  It may be a higher investment initially, but if it effectively keeps your customers with you then the returns are longer lasting than a one-off purchase from an e-commerce site.

Both the e-commerce and interactive sites will require more analysis and consideration as part of your business and marketing plans, but again their basics are the same as any website:

  • Key business and benefit information
  • Contact information
  • Converting visitors to prospects, prospects to customers and customers to loyal customers through a variety of techniques such a free reports in exchange for their sign up

This is obviously a fairly basic, but, I hope, info-packed, view of how a website can work for you and to make it do that.

If you have any questions or, of course, comments then please get in touch by emailing me on alex@justtoobusy.co.uk.