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These days, almost every company down to the smaller mom-and-pop retailers understands that its website is important. For many of your potential customers, your website is your front door, display window, the face of your business, and the source of a crucial first impression.
But however appealing and attractive a site is at first glance, what determines its effectiveness is how well it meets the visitor’s needs as the visitor moves through the site. A website needs a strategy.
But not just any strategy. If you go into the process blind, you’ll waste your time and money on things that don’t work and don’t build the kind of relationship with your visitors that both of you are looking for. A website strategy needs a rock-solid foundation. That means first developing a clear sense of who your visitors are, backed by data and research. And it means creating a well-defined plan for how they will move through your site. The right strategy will give focus to your goals and help you meet them.
1. Set and Refine Your Goals
The first step is a thorough goals assessment that involves asking and answering some important questions:
What business objectives is the company trying to achieve?
This requires examining your goals on several levels:
Looking at these sets of goals individually can produce an in-depth understanding of your universal business goal.
Where does the company stand today in relation to these goals and what has been happening recently?
Answering this question involves reviewing metrics from the past six months. Is the company getting closer to meeting its goals or moving further away?
In terms of the next quarter, where do you need to be to make sure you are on track for reaching your goals?
This step includes documenting the following goal information:
What are our specific website goals?
Here’s where you really nail it down. Start with things that can be measured and then add some important mission goals. Frequently, this kind of goals list will include the following:
A good first step in creating a portrait of your primary audience is asking and answering your staff a series of questions about the person who will most likely be visiting your website. These questions should include:
Now it’s time to back up your findings with real-world examples. Aim for five people here, drawn from among current customers, former customers, prospects already in the pipeline and people who have never heard of your company but fit the persona you have developed so far. Look at the same factors you explored internally.
These exercises are likely to yield multiple personas that can be considered potential customers.
Select the Key Personas
Once you have completed the preceding steps, it’s time to create the first version of your customer personas, which you can improve on over time as you get new data. A few pointers:
Decide what you’re going to say on your website and how you say it based on these 10 factors:
Using the visitor personas you’ve created, picture each one’s experience before, during, and after visiting your site. A customer journey map lays out the process a customer or prospect goes through to achieve a goal with your company. You can use this map to fine-tune your sense of your customers' motivations, needs, and frustrations. Consider the following:
Once you have a clear picture of your key customers and the journey you want them to take with your company, it’s time to start planning the specifics.
This list can help you focus your website and maximize its success. If you want to learn more about creating the most effective website possible, schedule a meeting with the Spot On team.
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