Planning for Success
Many companies we speak to complain that their website (developed by others I may add) does not really add value to the business, or that it's not meeting the objectives they had originally envisaged. They have been persuaded that it's now out of date, and needs a rewrite. However, in fact if you analyse the most successful websites they hardly ever get rewritten, sure they add functionality, the fundmental look and feel is straight forward, uncomplicated, and constant. The lesson here, is get the right platform from the get-go, and evolve.
Many branding agencies and web designers focus on delivering a site which the client likes (i.e. looks great). Under the hood it's not put together very well and that's going to cause problems later on (updating the site, and getting good rankings). There's a whole lot more that they could be doing in the field of educating clients about maximising returns, which after all is the purpose of the website.
The argument against doing a plan is: it's a brochure website we don't need to go to all that effort, or we are not an e-commerce site, or how can we predict the numbers of visitors to plug into the plan. Well the answer is that you can and should develop a plan, it need not be complicated or long winded. It should set out the potential marketsize, forecast and initial market share and have targets for attracting visitors to the site and turning those visitors into clients. You can then develop targets for returning customers, financial performance etc. Cube have developed a methodology to maximise the return from websites - Traffic, Trust and Transactions ™
So how do we go about developing a plan for our website?
Research, set goals and objectives
The first step is to do research, to answer the following questions
- What are people looking for on the web in relation to my product or services?
- How many of them are there?
- Where are they located?
- Who is our competition?
- What would a visitor buy product from me rather than the competition?
- Is there still a role for traditional media advertising to promote the products/services
There are tools on the web, many of them free which provide accurate information on the exact keywords/phrases people are searching for, the number of searches for those phrases on a month by month basis, and where those people are located even down to the district in the town.
So now we know the web based marketsize on a month by month basis for our products. How do we determine the people who are browsing from those people who are ready to buy? Typically the person who is ready to buy uses a 4+ word phrase (so browsers use a single word, comparers use a two-three word search).
Those phrases are used to analyse who the competition is, their strengths and weaknesses. The research drives the plan of action, the design, and online marketing strategy.
Great Website & Social Media
It's important, that you do only what's necessary to achieve your goal - not skimp on quality, but not wasting effort on tasks that will produce little or no return; that's the key driver for the plan. The plan must be sustainable.The website platform and the design need to have all the features you need to showcase your products/offering, and convert visitors into customers or persuade them to execute a call to action. It's all about engagement. Take the best features of competitors designs, then improve on them. The design needs to be clear and uncluttered (clean design), responsive (presentation changes according to the device being used), and contain the most effective marketing and engagement tools so you can engage your potential and existing customers to buy/rate or comment on your products or offerings.
The more you know about your visitors the better chance you have of enticing them to your website and becoming clients. So visitor and customer intelligence tools are key to success.
Many businesses spend a huge amount of time on ineffective social media; our website platforms feature tools which enable you to make the most of social media with the minimum amount of effort. Cube Creative have tuned platforms for Wordpress, Joomla and Magento.
Hangout where your customers hang out
Your social media, and blogging + advertising(if you are using it), needs to be targetted to where potential clients spend their time
Many businesses spend a huge amount of time and money on ineffective social media; our website platforms feature tools which enable you to make the most of social media with the minimum amount of effort on your part. Remember, your objective on social media is to drive traffic to your website, so don't tweet your latest instagram photo unless there's a link to the product/service on your website!
Develop targetted content
Blogging and writing guest articles can be a really useful tool for getting known, and assisting your ranking, but it needs to have an objective and measureable goals.
The research undertaken in Steps 1&2 enables the writing of effective landing pages and product/service showcase pages to target those phrases searched for in our target geographies. We are not going to expand on what makes an effective conversion page here, but suffice to say it's an evolving art.
In order to maintain interest from search engines, prospects, and clients, the website needs to be refreshed with new content regularly. Newsletters are a really effective method of keeping clients and prospects engaged. Newsletters can be populated with articles/products from the website using drag and drop to reduce administration through duplication.
Analyse Performance vs Objectives & Goals
As an example of smart use of analytics, one of our clients noticed via his website visitor stats that a multi-national food company was searching for forklift trucks; he rang up the purchasing officer, got added to the tender and got the business for seven trucks and maintenance.
Using tools such as google analytics or statcounter, it's possible to see the number of people who visit the site, how they got there (what keywords were searched on what search engine, twitter, facebook ), their geographic location and if its a corporate user the company they work for. The pages they viewed on our website, how long they stayed on the site, the jump off point, and the number of times they have returned to the site. There's a whole load more to performance analysis, but we are going to save that for our clients. This information is used to tweak and improve the website and our social media presence
Cube can also produce monthly performance reports which analyse search engine ranking, social media effectiveness, and competitor analysis.
Increase our market share
Increasing customer engagement can provide the feedback needed to increase conversion rates, drive product innovation, and open new audiences and markets.
We now know the market size, our share, the number of conversions from visitors to clients. We can now set targets and implement strategies to increase conversion rate, our share of the search, upsells and cross sells; develop new products that people are actively looking for, move into new geographies.
The information contained in this article is only really a introduction to what should be done and what is possible, if you'd like to know more contact us