Designing a new website is a primary goal for many of the clients we speak to as part of their overall marketing objectives each year. While updating a brand or website is often a great place to start when thinking about ways to drive new business and increase visibility for your brand, many clients miss the “why” behind these endeavors.
For some, building a new website is done because it is simply time to do so. They feel their site is long in the tooth, outdated, or has been assigned to them as part of their duties for the upcoming year. But, simply building a new website does not always mean that your objectives are met or that it will yield fruit for your business.
When approaching a new website build process, It is important to first uncover what the core objectives are. Work with your stakeholders to uncover the main purpose of beginning this journey and align everyone’s expectations.
For many people we speak to, the “why” behind building a new website and/or brand update is to establish credibility and to ensure their potential customers have a sense of comfort with their brand.
The new website becomes a checkbox in the due diligence period that they hope makes their potential clientele feel they have a modern usable website that is as good or better than their competition. For example, these companies are already driving significant opportunities via their day to day operations, outbound sales, and marketing efforts and they need their potential clients to feel comfortable when they are doing their research. They don’t want an outdated website getting in the way of closing a deal. They need a modern website that reflects their brand and position in the market and does not deter the sales process.
That said, a growing majority of folks we speak to now realize their website can drive new leads and opportunities for their business. They want more qualified leads and opportunities and want their website to attract these opportunities around the clock and drive qualified leads to their sales teams and through their sales stages with automated nurturing. In short, they want their websites to drive new business.
To achieve this goal for our clients, we must first understand the role a website plays in the lead generation process. One does not simply launch a new website and qualified leads and or sales start flowing in automatically. That is unless the approach is strategic.
A good lead generation website will include key landing pages that are an integral piece in the marketing machine. Modern brands need to be strategically architected as part of a well-planned and executed digital marketing strategy to provide the desired return on investment for clients.
To help our clients achieve this, we have nailed down five questions we ask each client to ensure their new website is well-positioned from day one to drive new leads, opportunities, and ultimately conversions. We work to ensure their inbound marketing best practices are working in symphony with their overall business growth objectives.
As you consider your next website redesign, ask yourself these five questions.
1. What does success look like? This is a very important step in the initial discussions. We ask this question very early in the site build process and it goes a long way to align our team and the client’s expectations. It is important to understand what the purpose of the new website is in the eyes of the business owner or stakeholders. We reiterate these goals and make sure every decision we make is reconciled against these initial answers to ensure we are headed down a path that aligns with these success objectives.
2. Who are we speaking to? This is so important. So often we see websites that are too focused on internal terminology and organized around internal departments that mean very little to the outside customer or user. It is important to break down your customer/user audiences into personas and decide what the ideal journey for each customer persona should be. Understanding how to articulate the problem and solution your business offers, and ensuring the information speaks to customers in a straightforward manner, goes a long way in guiding them along the desired path to conversion.
3. What do you want people to do? What does a conversion look like to your business? Is it a phone call, a form fill, a purchase, or a booked meeting? ? In some cases one or many of these goals is available. It is important to look at what the calls to action will be throughout the site and ensure they are not buried below the fold and are easily accessible with clear messaging. It is important to make sure you align these actions with your website tracking and reporting, setting up goals or goal URLS in analytics to track exactly how many users are meeting the desired goals for each of these desired outcomes.
4. Is your content and user journey relevant to each customer group? If you are speaking to many different audiences it may be helpful to include some marketing squeeze pages or landing pages that speak directly to individual audiences. These can all use a similar structure, but you can create custom content targeted to individual customer types or industry types. Example - you wouldn’t speak the same to customers that skew older and are in different industries compared to customers who are younger and are in one specific industry. Your solutions may have unique benefits that align differently with different groups or industries. Take the time to think about and document how you articulate these differences. This exercise will go a long way in giving different folks content that speaks directly to them rather than catch-all content that speaks the same way to everyone. Think about ways to encourage different groups to find the content most relevant to them when planning the new website’s sitemap and information architecture.
5. Is your website optimized for mobile use? Mobile usability means business. These days the majority of website traffic comes from mobile devices. All too often clients miss seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to mobile usability. Think about what mobile users need access to quickly while on the go. Many users simply want a phone number or a large button for directions or a simple way to add products to their cart. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired customer base and think about ways to make your content and calls to action easier. Remove any friction in their website experience. And always make sure you are tracking mobile views of your new website in your website analytics platform.