March 9, 2017 Michael Bickerton
Building or updating your website? There are many things to consider before you begin. Your website should provide the firm 3 basics functions:
1) Leads – it should focus on producing leads from people who visit the website
2) Ecommerce – it should be viewed as a cash register (any way to convert sales – if possible)
3) Information – it should provide basic information about your company and services
One of the most important characteristics of your website should surround “organic search”. What we mean by that is that the website should be built with user search in mind. In order to best achieve this thinking, it’s best to consider your prime prospect (the person who is most likely to be your best customer). This post will help you to define your ideal customer.
Once you have defined your customer profile, the next step is review, the finer points of your service, what sets your organization apart from competitors, what would your firm like to be known for online. We normally suggest 3 to 7 areas that differentiate your firm from your competitors, and ultimately we ask a number of questions:
What do you want to be known for online?
What sets your firm apart from the others?
What services do you offer that a customer or prospect would search for online?
What services do you offer that are unique and of interest to your target?
What keywords and key phrases are associated with that that service?
As an example, if your target is using a comparable service, what would be the areas of interest or concern that would cause them to begin a search? Basically what are the flash points that might cause a target to search for a vendor with your special services? (ie. A logistical transportation company offering refrigeration – a target is using carrier A, but has had some trouble with refrigeration trucks – what would that target search for if they were searching for a new firm with refrigerated trucks, are there any service standards, etc.)
What you are really looking for is a doorway for your target to find your service via organic search. We’d like to have 3 to 7 points that we would focus on, and then build webpages within your site that speak to those points in an effort to build organic rank. The process is a bit of trial and error, as you have to define your customer and define your point of difference (or services you feel are the most profitable or easiest for your firm to provide). We then build web pages to reflect those points of difference, utilizing the keywords and key phrases that you feel (as an expert in your field) will help find those areas of opportunity.
When you go through this process, you will find competitors, you will find firms you were previously unaware off and you will know what firms are using what keywords. Much of this will tell you if you are on the right track, if your competitors are running ads you can be fairly sure that these keywords are valid in terms of search.
Ultimately what you want to do is find “pain points” – areas from your target that also set your company and service apart from the competition. You want to build the website around those pain points (search terms) that reflect what your target is searching for, all this naturally with an eye on what services are best suited to your firm (ie. what services you offer that provide either the most volume, the most profit, or the most leads) that meets your marketing strategy.
Keep in mind many companies have approached website development more as a landing page strategy, each page of the website is focused on a specific product or service. Here is something that came in my inbox today that points to this – number two on the list of 5 Outdated Marketing Strategies is content-rich websites:
“The silliest myth of the information age is that information is so valuable that a company is doing customers a favour by providing as much of it as possible. That’s why so many business websites are chock-a-block with content. The hope behind such sites is that customers will use that information to become more educated and thereby become convinced that they must buy what’s offered. In fact, customers are overloaded with information and resent being asked to dig through more. Smart companies only provide information when it’s clear a customer wants it, and then limit that information to the minimum useful amount. Today’s most effective websites show a single screen and request one action, like signing up for a newsletter.”
The takeaway is to not overload your customers and prospects with information, instead, tell them what you want them to do next.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd., March 2017