I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing replaces your website – especially not social media. Your website is the marketing hub of your entire operation and it’s where people go to decide whether to make a purchase. What amazes me is how many businesses design a website as an afterthought, with no strategy in mind – creating nothing more than a digital brochure that means nothing if it’s not being handed out. This often creates problems instead of solving them. When creating a website, the first question that needs to be asked is, “What problems do we need to solve and how can a website help?”
When a website is designed with no strategic goal and well-thought out tactics, it creates problems for a brand. These problems then affect other areas. Business managers then often misdiagnose the situation and start troubleshooting symptoms, not the root cause, costing them money in time, lost sales and branding.
For example: a poorly designed website can cause customer service issues, tying up valuable resources addressing things which could have been handled on the website. Since the impression given is subpar, it affects newsletter/blog subscriptions. After all, if the site isn’t very good, how helpful could the information shared be? A newsletter and blog is how you build credibility and trust, and help fill your pipeline for future sales, by building a marketing database.
The two aforementioned issues then cause a hit on the branding of the company. Remember, branding is NOT a name and a logo, that is what people remember if you’ve done your job well (read Branding is More than Just a Logo and it Makes Google Love You). Branding is everything that touches your customers and public. It’s all about the totality of the experience with your company. When your brand takes a hit, you’re on a downward slope.
When I speak with a client, I pepper him or her with questions, looking for problems that need to be fixed. However, since writing this article, I am now blatantly asking, “What problems are you having that need to be fixed?” This gives me a different perspective of their project, wrapping my mind around their problems and the goals they wish to achieve.
This now leads the design and functionality thinking. What colors should be used? Color has meaning. What images should be used? How should navigation be handled, to make sure what we want found is found simply, not overloading the experience? What functionality should be added? Maybe a quiz or questionnaire to meet the prospect where he or she is, so you can take them where you want them to go. Maybe it’s a live chat feature, so you can handle questions and objections, before they have time to take root and destroy an opportunity – while also handling customer service requests in real time.
There are so many more options depending on the need. However, until one can identify a problem that needs solving and share it with an experienced website marketer/designer, who can pinpoint how technology can handle these issues, you won’t have a problem-solving tool that is giving you a return on your investment.
If you’ve not done so, get a website analysis from a professional NOT affiliated with your business. You see, you can be too close to the problem to be objective. Moreover, if website marketing and developing is not what you do, you may not know what you don’t know. Then take that information and think well how it can help solve problems and what it would mean to the success of your company.
Don’t ignore this very important asset, your website. Take the time to analyze it and see if it’s working well or can it be made more effective. It will either identify issues and alleviate problems, or give you peace of mind knowing you’ve done your job well.