Many companies we speak to complain that their website does not really add value to the business, or that its not meeting the objectives they had originally envisaged. They get persuaded that its now out of date, and needs a revamp. In fact if you analyse the most successful websites they hardly ever get revamped (google, twitter, facebook, ebay), sure they add functionality, but the fundmental look and feel is straight forward, uncomplicated, and constant.
Many branding agencies and web designers focus on delivering a site which the client likes (i.e. looks great), but theres a whole lot more that they could be doing in the field of educating clients about maximising the return from the website, which after all is the purpose of the website.
The argument against doing a business plan is: its 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 but 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 it ?
Step 1 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?
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).
We use those phrases to analyse who the competition is, their strengths and weaknesses.
Step 2 Great Website & Social Media
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. 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 your products or offerings. The more you know about your visitors the better chance you have of enticing them to buy. So visitor and customer intelligence tools is 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.
Step 2 Develop targetted content
The research undertaken in Step 1 enables the writing of effective landing pages to target those phrases searched for in our target geographies. We are not going to expand on what makes an effective landing page here, but suffice to say it's an evolving art.
Step 3 Analyse performance
Using tools such as google analytics and 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.
Step 4 Increase our market share
We now know the market size, our share, the number of conversions from visitors to clients. We can now set targets and implement strategies both to increase our share of the search and conversions, develop new products that people are actively looking for, or move into new geographies because we know there is a need.
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