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Thinking About Redesigning Your Web Site?

Your website has become your most important marketing tool.  In the not so distant past, “push” marketing – communicating your marketing message using direct mail, radio, TV, newspaper and trade shows – was the only method.  Now consumers are internet savvy and are blocking out the thousands of forms of marketing that they consider interruptions.  They are seeking information from the web which is a quicker and more timely source of information vs. flying to tradeshows, reading print materials, etc.  However, before you start redesigning your site, consider doing so with clear objectives to maximize the benefits available to you.

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Achieve a Greater ROI.

1. Identify specific goals, and design with those in mind.

Clearly you want the redesign to enable you to achieve improved business results.  Focus on making changes that will generate more visitors to your site, create more leads and ultimately increase sales.  Every decision you make needs to be focused on improving these goals. If you do not have Google Analytics set up this is an important first step as it provides the following: visitors overview, visits, pageviews, average pageviews, time on site, bounce rate, new vs. returning, map overlay, length of visit and more.

2. Make sure you are effectively communicating your brand story.

Four elements are needed for an effective brand story. It must be clear, concise, consistent and compelling.  To begin, assuming you know your target customers, identify their pain – their problem that your business can solve.  Then determine what is unique that you, as opposed to your competition, can provide them.  This is known as your unique selling proposition (USP).  The USP communicates how a business is uniquely different compared to competitors in the marketplace.  Once identified, the USP can be effectively communicated within a business’ tagline, which in turn can serve as teaser to the full brand story.  The full brand story can then be conveyed on the web site.

3. Identify and protect the assets on your current web site.

Identify what your current site does well and use it in your redesign.  It may not be necessary to re-write all the content.  If you have keywords and links that continue to be effective, incorporate these into your redesign.

4. Spend resources on meaningful content that attracts and converts.

Most people are influenced more by content vs. design. While design is important, having more content will on average generate more visitors and thus create greater sales opportunities. And the more current the content is on these web pages, the better your results.  Develop a strategy to update and add more content to your website on a regular basis.  One successful strategy to add to your content is to create white papers. Our client, “The Mason Company,” developed a white paper identifying “The Seven Biggest Mistakes Customers Make” which required downloading to view.  This generated automatic leads, and their yield was 4 -5 leads per week.

5. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) strategy.

A Call-to-Action is an opportunity for your prospect to interact with the information on the web site.  It can be a trigger to download information (White Paper), a request to receive information such as “Request a Quote” or a simple statement like “Call Us Today.”  You do not want to have this appear as a hard-sell, so make sure to have the call-to-action be clear, yet understated.

6. Consider adding a Blog, a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and Landing Pages.

Adding these items is not expensive, yet they work effectively. A blog will enable both the addition of content and a direct dialog with your prospects and current customers. RSS allows some content to automatically be pushed out to prospects and customers, increasing reach.  Landing pages are single web site pages that are sometimes known as lead capture pages because their goal is to convert site visitors into sales leads. These pages are often linked from social media, email campaigns or search marketing campaigns in order to enhance effectiveness of the advertisements.

7. Invest in Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Without SEM, you risk your web site not being found.  If prospects can not find your site, they are landing on your competitors’ web sites. Therefore this is where you need to invest energy and money.  Hire an expert. Research. Find out what  phrases and key words people are using to find your site, if they are staying there and where they are going while they are on your site.  SEM is not difficult and it really works.

8. Enable conversion experiments.

There is great value in monitoring your web site conversion rate.  Knowing the number of leads vs. the number of visitors to your site is important. Then improving your conversion rate and number of leads is critical, and these come from improving the effectiveness of your conversion tools, which also means landing pages.  Being able to utilize conversion tools in a timely manner will allow you to experiment and make improvements to ultimately grow your customer base and sales figures.

9. Create a distinct brand look and design.

If you presently do not have a consistent brand look that is integrated into your marketing communications materials your web site is a good place to start.  A unique and distinct design that resonates with your target audience will help you stand out from your competition. Remember, it is critical to make it easy for your prospects and customers to navigate through your site successfully. Today, more and more businesses and organizations are building their web sites in content management systems (CMS) because it makes creating and editing of content simple and easy. There are thousands of CMS’s floating around on the web – several of the top ones are Drupal and WordPress. These software programs allow many content changes to be made without requiring an understanding of coding.

10. Measure results.

Circle back to the goals established and ensure that measurements are in place to determine if these goals are being met.  Make sure a base metric is collected prior to the web site changes being implemented.  Then, after implementation of changes are in place for a period of time, collect new metrics to identify if the changes have been effective.  A pretty web design is not the goal; an effective website that delivers business results is the measure of success.

Effectively Identifying Your Consumer Story

Please take a moment and ask yourself: How effective am I in identifying the ideal customer target for my business? The answer in most cases (if you are really being honest with yourself) is probably – “Not as effective as I could.” If this is the case, I understand. It is not an easy task for most businesses, and yet, it is so very important to know who your business is attempting to reach so that marketing strategies and tactics can be more effectively developed and aligned for business growth. There is a way, however, to more effectively identify the ideal customer target for your business and also better understand them so you can develop more effective marketing. I call this effort . . . . consumer storytelling.

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