Is Your Company Working Without a Net?


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When the circus aerialist wants to up the ante he tells the roustabouts to remove the net from down below—in tonight’s performance he’s working without a net, thumbing his nose at the possibility of imminent danger.

Businesses join in this same foolhardiness when they launch the company website without a strategic plan.

Putting a plan together is not difficult. It requires time and thought. What’s the hang up? Why do many businesses opt to close their eyes and hope for the best from the Internet?

Before you have to disclosure your lack of planning to your peers, let’s go over what it takes to put a strategic plan into action so the company website produces positive results—let’s forego wishing and hoping.

We don’t have time here to discuss both branding and strategic planning so let’s assume you have already gone through a branding exercise and have clarified the company’s brand and image.

A simple website strategic plan might look like this:

Have Objectives

Define the reasons for expending all that time, talent, resources and monies. Make more money, yeah we get that goal. But the website objectives need to be specific and customer-centric. Common website goals include: community building, marketing, sales, business support, reducing support requests, along with educating and informing. If goals for the website have not been established, take time now. Make sure everyone on the team knows them by heart.

Size Up The Competition

It’s easier than ever to spy (substitute the word “discover” if it makes you feel better) on the competition these days—one can visit their websites, attend their webinars, download their white papers and follow their social musings. The competition’s tactics are pretty much out in the open thanks to the web. Put a spreadsheet together that lists all the features on their websites along with a column for the company. See how the company website stacks up, then make the necessary changes and additions.

Know The Market

No, every person does not want to purchase your products or services. Sorry if feeling are hurt. Businesses need to know their niche. Where are the un-served audiences, the underserved groups? Where are the gaps the company thinks they can fill? Know the market or you’ll reach no market.

Stay Visitor Focused

Yes it’s the company’s website, but the potential customer needs to be the focus. Visitors are coming because they have problems they want solved. They’re trying to find out if your company has the right solution. They’re also interested in the derived benefits. Stop expounding on the bells, whistles, features and functions. Talk about what the visitor receives. How are their lives improved?

Give Your Customers Value

Companies can never deliver too much value. There is one hitch value needs to be determined by the buyer not the producer. Customers evaluate a product’s worth by how it improves their situation not by how much companies spent on R&D. Always cast the product or service in light of how it makes the consumer’s life better.

Make The Calls-to-action Obvious And Overt

Don’t take for granted that people know exactly what to do to purchase your products or services. Help move the decision-making process along. A couple of well placed calls-to-action, textual or images, sprinkled throughout the copy helps move the ball.

Decide On Meaningful Metrics

Metrics help define success or failure. Success does not mean one sit’s on their laurels. It means you tweak, tweak and tweak some more. Why settle for a 15 percent revenue bump when 25 percent might be achievable? Failure does not infer quitting, it means you adjust, alter, fine-tune. A great cost-per-conversion might be $105 but can it be driven down to $70 or $80? New customer acquisition numbers may be at 100 to 125 per month, but can that number be increased? Our last element in the planning process, “Track Your Success Rate”, helps answer these questions.

Track Your Success

Tools such as Google Analytics helps identify how visitors navigate a website. Do they go to the Contact Us page but bail before filling out the form? Do few visitors find their way to the Products or Services pages? Does the lion-share of first-time visitors hit the home page and then promptly leave? Analytics serve as a monitoring tool to help the company understand why website visitors do what they do go where they go and leave when they leave.

Want to be revered by your customers: Over deliver on value, exceed expectations and always be available.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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