The Best Free Advice We Can Give about Your New Website is:
Invest a Few Hours Up Front in Pure "Thought"
At Schweb, we believe there's a different way and it's a really smart way to approach a new website or a renovation of your existing site. The best thing about this new approach is that it gives control of the website to the best person - YOU - the expert on your business and owner of the website.
Step 1: WHAT Do You Want Your Website to Do?
As obvious as it seems, at Schweb we practically insist our customers or even the folks who sit in on the first, free consultations answer this question. A few years ago, when so many were rushing to create a website, many lost sight of this fundamental question. The result today is hundreds of thousands of sad, ineffective sites that are out there, but they have no real sense of purpose. By discovering WHAT you want your site do for you, you'll be well on your way to creating a site that makes profit for you, or reaches another goal you have.
Here are some of the common reasons organizations want a website:
- To Generate New Leads through electronic advertising like Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click or Adwords.
- To Complete an actual transaction or to buy something online with electronic shopping carts, for example (ecommerce).
- To simply Convey an image or brand your product or service.
- To give very specific Education and information or news.
- To Convert or help close leads you generated somewhere else, like the newspaper.
Some Free Advice from Schweb:
We've had clients see great profit making success by not relying solely on their website but using what's called an "Integrated Marketing Strategy." That's really a fancy way of saying you want to increase sales and thus profits by using more than one method or media. Depending on your situation, we may recommend an "Offline to Online" strategy. For example, one of our most successful clients turned his website into a full time sales person that answered all the possible questions and addressed the most common objections a potential customer would have. That was the "online" part. But rather then invest (and his case, waste) money on Search Engine Optimization or Pay Per Clicks, we suggested he use traditional advertising methods like direct mail and newspapers and drive the prospects to the website (that's the "offline" part). The strategy worked. By listing his website with a strong call-to-action (a really compelling reason WHY people should visit the website) people read his website and took the next step. In his case, the third step was "offline" again- calling their office to arrange an appointment. By making his website a salesperson who worked 24/7, the prospects were able to read up on him and his industry- on their own time without feeling any pressure to talk to an actual sales person. In fact, we've found that the more expensive your product the more time it takes for someone to decide. And the more time it takes to decide, the more "conversion" is the critical strategy. And if conversion is critical, a website designed to answer questions, to educate and address objections, can give you the website owner an astounding return on your investment.
Step 2: WHO is Your Website For?
So many times we see websites that completely ignore this important step, that's why we make sure our clients understand this first and foremost. Because depending on WHO you are writing for, will affect and could drastically change elements like the navigation, the copy (the words or text), the key words (or care words) used- even smaller details like graphics and colors.
Start by selecting a broader category you will create a website for. Here's some possibilities to get you started:
- Retail Customers who want to buy online
- Retail Customers who want to shop online, but will come into your store to buy
- Retail Customers who are considering a large, expensive purchase and need to "read up on you"
- Retail Customers who will search or "Google" the Internet to find a site to buy from
- Wholesalers or Dealers or franchisees who are considering you to be a supplier
- Students or Internal team members you want to effectively communicate to
- Existing customers or dealers or franchisees who you want to serve in a way that's easy and effective for them
- Potential employees who want to learn more about you online
Thom Finn, a local consultant with Action Coach tells people to start with a "make believe customer."
"Give some thought to the customers you already are serving- and assuming you want more like them, try to get your head around your market's demographics and psychographics. This step is essential for any kind of marketing you are doing because if you know - truly know - how your potential customers act, think, react and buy, you'll be able to craft a better message to them and finally select the wisest media to reach them."
Examples of Demographics:
- Married / Unmarried
- Household Income
- Children / Children Ages
- Home Value
- Education Level
Examples of Psychographics:
- What are their hobbies?
- Do they work?
- Are they busy or time starved?
- What's more important to them- price or convenience?
- How educated are they on your industry?
- How do they view your industry?
- Does someone else influence their decision when they buy from your industry?
- What's their biggest frustration with your industry?
- How long do they think about your product / service before they buy it?
- Do they shop around a lot when considering your product / service?
- How do they learn about your product / service?
- How do they use the web?
- How has the economic recession or presidential election / inauguration affected them?
- Do they make impulsive buys or are they more thoughtful?
- What is their Biggest Problem that YOU can help solve?
Step 3: HOW Will Your Market Use The Website?
Now that you have given some thought to WHAT you want your renovated or new site to do, and you have considered WHO you want to market to, the next step is to plan for HOW these people will be using a website.
In some cases- this may end your journey. You see, if your market will NOT use a website, save your money! In a recent No Obligation Web Consultation we did, this was the case! As much as we would have loved to do business with Jake- we discovered that his target market rarely used the website or the Internet.
But different people will use the website in different ways for different products. See if these examples can help you figure out HOW your market will use the website:
Will use the Website to...
|30 year old mom / wife||A storage shed||get prices
learn about any choices or options she has
|40 year old dad / husband||Spare parts for his truck||make sure he is ordering exactly what he needs
find out about delivery
|A 35 year old business owner||A new website||learn about what makes a good website
find out what it will cost
learn about what he should / should not focus on
get some free advice
|A Student||A College / Secondary Education||what she can do with the education?
how much tuition is?
what’s the school social life like
Need some help with this? Contact us for you first Free, No-Strings Consultation on your website where we always start with these thought-provoking questions. We have found from the outrageous success of our customers that this work is a MUST! We can have our 30-45 minute meeting at your place or over the phone. Click here to get one set up.
Can you see the importance of knowing what your readers want to do on a website? Before you even put the first word on a website...
Step 4: What Are the Specific TASKS that Your Reader Wants to Accomplish?
This could be the single most important step you take as you think about your website. We wish we could take credit for this step but we owe it to one of the world’s best web consultants, Gerry McGovern from Dublin Ireland . We are pretty sure he coined the phrase “task management” when it comes to the website. On his website, Gerry says, “Task management is based on the idea that your customers come to your website to complete top tasks as quickly and simply as possible. It measures success by how quickly your customers can complete these tasks. “
So what will your customers want to do when they come to your website? What task will they want to accomplish?
When working with our clients, we spend a lot of time on this part. Once we at Schweb understand what your customers will want to do on your site, we can go back and design a website that will give them what they want- and what they don’t want. We think that this approach is actually pretty radical and pretty important and makes us very different from a lot of other web guys out there. Not to mention we’re the first ones locally who advise our clients on this- even here on our website for all to see.
Now, coming up with your customers “task list” is very customized, but to get you started, here’s a possible list.
Your Website Customers DO want to accomplish...
...and they DON’T want to accomplish
As you list the tasks your web reader wants to accomplish- try to rank them in order of importance. Don’t worry about how long the list is. We can worry about how to arrange it later.
By having a crystal clear idea of WHAT your web readers want (and what is going to just waste their time and peeve them) you can give invaluable input to the people creating your new site, regardless if it’s us at Schweb or somewhere else.
Preliminary SEO Information.
It is imperative, as soon as possible, to define Long-Tail Keywords which are those few word phrases that are very specific to your business' products or services.
Why are Long Tail Keywords so important?
- Highly specific multi-word phrases (long-tail keywords) tend to be much easier to rank well for (in search engine resultes) than the more general single keywords.
- People who search by using such long-tail keywords are far more likely to become buyers or clients!
When a visitor to your website has reached your website with such a specific search phrase, they have come looking for exactly what they are going to buy. Naturally therefore, such long-tail keyword searches are much more likely to convert to sales, clients, or leads than the general search terms that consumers typically use to search prior to their buying decision.