I see a lot of business owners set their websites up to disappoint them.
Many people only see their website as an item on their to-do list, as if checking off – create a website – on their list of business building tasks is enough to generate sales.
But your website is actually much more complicated than that. In fact, unlike most traditional forms of marketing, your website can play many different roles within your business.
This flexibility has a downside, in that when you aren’t clear on what your website is supposed to be doing for you, you risk creating something that simply cannot fulfill on your expectations. It’s like hiring the perfect job candidate and then putting them in the wrong job!
The “job” your website does for your company can be distilled down to one of two broad categories:
In the Outside Sales role, your website is responsible for bringing in new business, either via organic (free) or paid search results. This type of website is highly focused on what the prospect is currently thinking and feeling and lays out what you provide – service or product – as the best solution to their problem. Keyword usage and search engine optimization are important to an outside sales website. This type of website is the first contact your prospect has with your business. And like your outside sales people, your outside sales website is focused on finding new prospects, to the exclusion of current customers/clients.
The extreme of this role is the one page sales letter. Click for an example.
In contrast, in the Inside Sales role, your website is usually the secondary contact your prospect has with your business. Traffic is driven to your site via other means – yellow page ads, direct mail, television advertising, all of your traditional marketing methods – not primarily search results. This type of website is all about continuing the relationship that you have established with your prospects and current clients; sales are a result of a deepening of this relationship. The extreme of this role is the brochure website. Artists, in particular, like this kind of website, and my friend Joy is no exception. Check out her site — www.joyrome.com — for a beautiful example of a brochure website.
While the best sites are often a combination of characteristics of both categories, it is important to understand what the primary role you are expecting your website to play really is. Because this role determines how the website fits into your overall marketing plan and what you need to do in order to make your website successful.
At this point, you understand that your business must have a website. But just having one isn’t enough to guarantee that it will be successful. Before you sit down to design your website, think about your overall marketing strategy and what role you want/need the website to play in that plan. Then, from this understanding, choose the best type of website design to suit that role.
Don’t make the mistake of setting yourself up for disappointment. Designing a website is a time consuming task and can be quite expensive. Make sure you are setting your website, and yourself, up for success by choosing the right “job candidate” for the job of being your website.
Okay, so what if you already have a website? Learn how to do an performance appraisal on your website to determine how well it is working for you.