As soon as you decide to take a more active approach to website design and development, you'll find yourself ahead of many of your competitors. The most common phone call I get goes something like this:
Caller: “I need a new website with SEO. What does it cost?”
Me: “Why do you think you need a new website? What is your goal?”
Caller: “I think it needs to look better and do more cool stuff, like mobile.”
Me: “At the end of the day and after all that effort, what do you want to happen?”
Caller: “I need the phone to ring with more and better leads for my sales team. We need to grow our business and I need more qualified leads to do that.”
Me: “So your goal is to grow your business by generating more qualified leads for your sales group. How many new customers do you need to get in the next 12 months?”
The conversation starts getting on the right path at that point. I typically have to back prospects up to talk to me about their business first. What are their goals? What are their challenges? What are they currently doing that is working and not working? What is driving them to change what they are doing?
The most common business goals that we get from our clients are:
- Growing their business by x% within the next 12 months.
- Improving the close rate of their qualified prospects by x% in the next 12 months.
- Establishing the company as the industry expert for their ideal target audience or persona.
- Improving customer retention rate by x% in the next 12 months.
- Getting more upsell revenue from their existing client base.
There are other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that support these goals as well. The point is - your digital marketing efforts need to specifically target a key business goal. Today’s brochure websites that are rarely if ever updated cannot do that and executives are now figuring that out.
Think Beyond a Basic Online Presence
Having a website is a great way to let the world know that you're open for business. Unfortunately, all of your competitors have their own websites as well. If you don't differentiate your Web presence from theirs, you risk getting lost in the shuffle.
Like most other things in the business world, setting your company's digital footprint apart from that of the competition begins with careful planning and clear, constructive online business goals.
Your ideal target persona has certain expectations when they come to your website based upon their collective online experience. They have shopped on Amazon, they have engaged in Facebook and other social media, they have researched key health information on WebMD, they have looked for technology solutions on Apple. So your target persona’s online expectations are high.
You don’t have to spend the millions of dollars that these large companies have done on their websites, but you must step up your online image and engagement if you want to be perceived as a leader and engage your ideal target persona. Your ideal audience actually wants to learn and engage on your website and you need to embrace capabilities that allow them to do that with you.
Understand Your Website's Current Performance Metrics
After you set your business goals, you will need to identify current behavior or metrics that are tied to those goals.
For example if you need to generate more quality sales leads, you need to understand which aspects of your digital marketing efforts are already effectively drawing leads and facilitating conversions from your website. You also need to identify where you may be under performing in some key website metrics.
Establish your website's performance baseline by collecting these metrics:
- Overall site traffic
- Mobile traffic %
- Bounce rate (how many users navigate away from a page by hitting the back button)
- Average time-on-site per user
- Average number of pages viewed per visit
- Traffic sources by channel (such as Search, Social Media, Direct, Referrer)
- Most popular pages
- Least popular pages
- Number of conversions
- Conversion rates
- Conversion rates by traffic sources
These are the basic metrics but understanding your current baseline performance is important.
Identify the Tools Necessary to Develop Your Strategy
You can't set and execute your digital marketing strategy's goals without a little help. So once you've established your traffic and conversion baselines, use Google Analytics to continue to monitor and assess your site's performance. It is very possible that your Google Analytics will need to be optimized to better track important KPIs.
If your target persona’s “buyers cycle” requires a depth of information before they are comfortable contacting your sales group, then you should consider creating a lead nurturing program using content marketing delivered via a marketing automation platform that can:
- Significantly improve your marketing and sales capabilities and results.
- Enable you to test landing pages, content offers, and call-to-actions (CTA) to generate the best conversion rates.
- Automate your lead nurturing process and better qualify your leads.
- Provide a personalized experience on your website for returning visitors.
- Provide a more robust tracking and analysis of your conversions, scoring your leads, managing your lead lists and personalizing your website visitor’s experience with your website and social media accounts.
Research has shown that 97% of people use online media to research products and services, according to BIA/Kelsey (www.bia.com and www.kelseygroup.com). User View Wave VII, an ongoing consumer tracking study conducted with research partner ConStat, found that of the consumers surveyed:
- 90% use search engines
- 48% use Internet Yellow Pages
- 24% use vertical sites
- 42% use comparison shopping sites
To best understand the market demand for your products and services when developing your marketing strategy, and to reach your business goals, you’ll need to conduct a detailed market demand analysis that identifies ways in which you can maximize your firm's limited resources.
Set Achievable Goals
Using the information from your website performance analysis and the performance-enhancing tools available to you, set ambitious but realistic business development goals. These might include:
- Reaching a specific conversion rate within a set time frame
- Boosting your revenue per visitor by a given dollar amount
- Growing your panel of regular customers by a reasonable percentage
Regardless of the company-specific online business goals you've set, it's critical to focus on optimizing your Web presence for conversion. While having a set of goals for your company's growth is critical, ambition, knowledge and analytic tools alone can't help you achieve them.
In our next article we will outline the digital roadmap that you will need to implement your strategy and maximize your chances of success.