When you’re about to build a new website (or even if you’re giving your existing site a big overhaul), having a clear, smart website strategy is everything. This is your big chance to refocus and consciously steer your online presence to attract what you want. And strategy has to start with knowing yourself. Do you know what you do, and do you know who you are? Don’t laugh. Sure, as a small business owner, you know what you’re selling, and you roughly know the kind of customers you have, but you might not know much else. But don’t beat yourself up about it, you’re so caught up in ‘doing’ business and paying your bills, it’s totally understandable that you’d never get the time to take a bird’s eye view of your business. Well, today is your lucky day! I’m going to walk you through all the big questions you need to ask yourself BEFORE you build a single web page. Answer every one, and guess what?
You’ll have your very own website strategy… DIY style!
OK, enough of the talky-talk already. Let’s get to the doing!
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” — Simon Sinek
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- WHY do you do what you do? What do you believe in? Why are you passionate about it? Why did you start your business? (this will be your main story. Tell this well, tell this succinctly, and this will be the reason your customer will buy from you and not your competitor next door!)
ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
What are your goals for:
- Your brand?
ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER
This isn’t just who you have now, but who your ideal customer is going to be. Remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers… so look deeper at your customers. Who are your most profitable customers right now (that will be loyal, repeat purchasers who aren’t high maintenance), and then work out what their desires are? Is there a common denominator? Create a profile of that perfect customer/s. Then keep that profile at the top of your mind every time you make a decision on your website. Now ask yourself specific questions about the demographic and psychographic profile of your perfect customer.
Demographic profile identifies the characteristics of someone who NEEDS your product. Psychographic profile identifies the reasons why someone WANTS your product.
Demographic questions What does my ideal customer look like?
- What is their age?
- What is their gender?
- What is their location?
- What is their income/job?
- What is my current relationship with them?
- Are they experienced in the internet?
- How would I summarise this group/s? (e.g. 40-50 year old balding, yuppy men in the Sydney metro area.)
- What do they actually want? (e.g. to look good, feel sexy, free of pain, etc.)
- What problems can you help them solve?
- What are their fears and concerns?
- How do they feel when they don’t get what they want? (e.g. frustrated, stressed, etc.)
Important: Understanding and working with psychographics really improves the success of your sales message, so don’t skip this one! Now here’s the big question…
- What do you currently do (or what could you do) to solve their problems, fears and concerns?
Remember people buy what they WANT, not what they need. They buy based on EMOTION, then justify it with logic. Hit your web visitor’s hot buttons so they pay attention to your message.
ABOUT YOUR WEB VISITOR
Once you know who your customers are, and what you’re offering them, the next step is to map out their ‘buyers journey’, basically covering every stage of the buying cycle, as your visitor moves from discovering a problem, then working out the possible solutions then to selecting the best solution for them (hopefully that’ll be something you do or sell!). These stages have a number of questions that your web visitor is wanting to find answers for. So YOUR job is make sure your website covers everything your visitor might want to know before buying. Yes, I said everything because the more answers you have, then the more chance you’ll have a perfect web page that matches exactly what they’ve just typed into Google… and that means more traffic. But it also means you’re grabbing people who are already on your site. Make sure you provide answers to these sorts of customer questions:
- What does this business do?
- Why should I care about what they do? What’s in it for me?
- How does becoming a customer of this business compare with what I’m doing now?
- What are some typical results for my type of situation?
- What are the trading hours of this business?
- Do they have a shop or office I can visit? How do I get there?
- How can this business benefit me?
- Is there a phone number I can call?
- Does this business offer any specific products / services that might interest me?
- Why do I need these products / services?
- How do the products / services work exactly?
- What do you charge for shipping / freight? How long does it take for delivery?
- Do you have a returns policy?
- How do the products / services make my job / life easier?
- Are services available in my area?
- How much does the product / service cost? How does this compare to others?
- Is it easy to start with this service?
- What sort of signup terms or requirements do you have?
- How secure is my credit card and other information I give you?
- If I have a problem with the service how do I get help?
- Can I talk to a live person if I have any pre-sales or service support questions?
- Are there any deals / special offers available?
- How do I get more information?
- Can I talk to a live person?
- How do I get started right away?
- Do you have any printable material I could show my spouse / boss / colleagues?
DESIGNING YOUR WEBSITE FOR SUCCESS
Now you know what you can offer, what your customers want, and what your customers are asking… and you’ve prepared answered for each question, let’s think about constructing your new website. The 4 main webpages almost everyone needs need are:
- About Us
- Our Services/Products
- Contact Us
But you’ll probably need others as you try to address all your customer questions in the buyer’s journey. Converting visitors with the right call to action.
A conversion: getting your online visitor to perform a desired action.
Once you start thinking about your web pages, everything you do should have your ideal customer in mind, and how to CONVERT your ideal customer into a real one. You need to know two things:
- What is the primary action you want your visitor to do? (e.g. buy something, ask for a quote, request a consultation, etc.)
- What is the secondary action you want your visitor to do? (e.g. signup to your newsletter, download your free eBook, etc.)
Then, later when you’re creating your pages you make sure you’ve put that call to action on each page. Remember: never be afraid of telling your visitor what to do next. And never be afraid of asking for their details in exchange for something (like an eBook). They like it! Know how you’ll capture their details.
Lead capture: a way of getting your prospective customer’s contact details so you can stay in touch and build trust and credibility in your brand.
- What can I offer in exchange for their contact details?
- Is my ‘offer’ a good one?
- Do I know what I’ll do with the lead once I get it?
I talk more about lead capture pages and how important creating a good offer is on our blog at Web123; don’t be afraid to have a wander around as it’s totally free to anyone interesting in getting better at online business.
DESIGNING YOUR HOMEPAGE
White space matters. Web design is moving towards a cleaner, minimalist look, but your website has to be effective at engaging and then converting too. It’s not just about the look! When you start a new website your traffic will be low so every visitor is precious. You don’t want to waste a single opportunity to engage them and to capture their details if you can. Most visitors fall into set web browser behaviours, so you’re advised to design your home page to accommodate most (if not all) the types of web visitor. And here are the types…
User A: The impulsive butterfly: This visitor is visual. They’ll impulsively click on an option based on an appealing visual or heading – you’ll need visual branding and professional calls to action. This doesn’t have to mean a massive big banner at the top however (big banners are often a waste of important space anyhow).
User B: The follower: Interested in what other people are viewing, or in certain categories of spend type – if nothing else, you’ll at least need testimonials which might be hyperlinked to the product they’re raving about.
User C: The trendsetter: Wants to know what’s new – so perhaps have a ‘latest news’ box, plus make sure you run a list of products or services as new (if they are), keep your content fresh and make it obvious when something is new or improved.
User D: The lazy clicker: Ignores drop-downs altogether, they like all the links completely set out, they don’t want to search and click, they find something they like and click directly on that. If they don’t get that they exit your website. – so provide either visual click-thru boxes or text based hyperlinks perhaps on the bottom of your footer.
User E: The jetsetter: On the move, location-focussed mobile users. – Make sure you have a mobile version of your site available, or make sure your website has a responsive design that accommodates different web browsing sizes.
Each user type tends to attract a different kind of user journey but if you plan correctly they eventually reach the same destination… a conversion!
DESIGNING YOUR ‘ABOUT US’ PAGE
In the hundreds of websites I’ve studied over the years, this particular page often ranks #2 in the most viewed pages on your site. It’s your ‘About Us’ page. I wrote a blog about how to optimise your ‘about us’ page for better conversions, I guarantee you that you’ll improve your results if you follow my advice there.
DESIGNING YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES PAGE
Now this very much depends on whether you’re an eCommerce site, or an information type of site. But the main thing to talk about here is to make these points super clear:
- where they are in your website (showing breadcrumb navigational structure is important),
- what you’re selling in as much detail as possible (build confidence),
- how they can buy it (build security)
- shipping info (build peace of mind)
- returns policy (build trust)
- examples of happy customers (build more trust for good measure)
Oh, and please keep answering that ‘what’s in it for me’ question, over and over til you’re blue in the face.
DESIGNING OTHER WEB PAGES
Like I said before, you need to answer all the possible questions your visitors might have. Every question answered is an objection overcome. But, don’t overload your main pages. Try to keep it to one big idea per page. The great thing is that space is almost unlimited on the internet so you can build as many different pages as you like. The more quality pages you have, the more the Googles will love you. Just make sure you have unique content on each page or Google won’t love you so much! While we’re talking about extra pages, I’d also suggest you create a range of specialised landing pages for different types of buyers because your homepage shouldn’t (and won’t) be the only entry point to your website. I wrote a little tip about why you should create different landing pages on Web123’s blog. OK, NOW WHAT? If you’re just starting your web journey, or if you feel it’s time to take your website to the next level, NOW is the time to make sure you have the basics right. Now is the time to make sure you’re feeling confident you really understand what you’re trying to achieve with your website… and why. This sort of foundational thinking really makes a difference to whether you get online with a bang or a whimper, so please spend some time to absorb my advice, but try not to stress about it. It’s not rocket science truly! If you’re ready to improve your web confidence, I’d highly recommend you download my free website starter kit video series where I break a lot of concepts down into simple bite-sized ideas… and it also comes with a practical action plan. A lot of people have told me it’s really helped them improve their online results, so I hope it will help you with your website strategy too!