Your website belongs at the center of your marketing strategy. It’s about connecting with customers, an activity that’s the core of every marketing effort.
Designing a website can be a real challenge. Design it well. Write less with informative content. Test it on a variety of platforms. Maintain it. Keep the content current.
A company that wants to develop a customer-centric website must develop a website strategy and development plan that takes into account your brand, customers, objectives and strategy.
Questions to Address
You need to know and understand your brand. What is compelling, attractive and unique that you are offering? What is your company’s image and reputation among its important stakeholders? How can these strengths be leveraged? What goals do you want to accomplish? How do you want your customer relationships to change?
What do you want your site to do? Be Informational, sales-based or lead-generating? Or, a combination of these. You need to know your site’s purpose in order to structure it.
If you have to answer the above questions, it will assure that your web strategy is on target. Then and only then, you’ll be on the road to having the website that you envision and an effective marketing tool for building your brand and awareness.
Organization to Use
You need to organize your website so that it will be easy for your customers to accomplish their goals. Don’t confuse them by organizing it by what you like.
Consider your website like you do your office building, such as its location, frontage and interior. To ensure you reach your customers, you need a website that has curb appeal and is easy to navigate. Maximize your layout. You only have a few seconds to hold your customers interest or they’ll leave and not return.
What about the copy? Your website must have powerful words to keep your customers reading it. Address their problems, interests and the type of service that they will receive. And, take action; a call to action is a crucial to have. You need it to motivate a customer and to convert them into buying your product or service.
Be smart about your web design and navigation. Consider the pros and cons of elements and features that make it harder for search engines to index your site.
There are many other questions to consider. Where will the site be hosted? Are there any technology limitations that need to be considered? How many pages? What types of content is needed? Do you need any forms? Contact, request information or request a quote? Do forms need to be dynamic or an email forms? Does your site need to interact with an ordering or fulfillment? Once a form is filled out, does it need to automatically send an e-mail notification? Does the site need content management? Who will write the copy? Will you use in-house or stock photography? What about search engine optimization? SEO is important for ranking well on searches and to keep ahead of your competitors?
An Investment in Your Brand
Think of your website as an investment in brand marketing, creating customer awareness. Know your strategy. Create good content. Lay out your site’s organization based on your target audience. Develop simple and intuitive navigation.
Ultimately having a great site is only half the building. You must drive traffic to your site. Optimize your site to boost your traffic and have a lead-capturing mechanism. Concentrate on getting motivated prospects and valuable customers to visit your website.
A few simple informative key messages can increase your clicks and conversions. What about keywords? Are you using the right ones? If you do, you’ll attract visitors who will convert and not just thousands of random visitors.
What about updating your site and maintaining it? Your website can get old very fast. You must regularly put fresh content on your site. Take down old products and services, keep press releases current, and provide fresh and relevant information.
The key to developing a winning website is to clearly identify your goals and know what you want to accomplish. You should also consider working with a website firm that understands both the front end (what people see – the design and content) and the back end (what makes it work – building and development). And, if the firm is well grounded in brand marketing, even better!