A website without a strategy is like a canoe without paddles.
It’s a gorgeous summer day and you’ve rented a canoe with hopes of enjoying a picnic on a nearby island. You’ve packed your lunch, brought a book, and without delay the fine folks you’ve rented your boat from have helped launch you off the shoreline and you’re beginning to peacefully drift into open waters.
As you’re looking around, admiring these beautiful surroundings, you realize that the people who you’ve rented your canoe from hadn’t provided you with paddles!
If the winds are in your favor you may still drift to the destination you’d like to get to but it’s going to take much longer and there’s a lot more hoping and wishing involved.
To drop the analogy, a website can become a powerful tool that can be used to drive customers to your business, measure the ROI on your marketing (both online and off-line), engage with your customers, and even gain insight about the people who you do business with. To do this you’ll need a strategy, clear goals, tools to measure your progress, and perpetual optimization..
Every business is unique and each has their own goals so it’s difficult to say “this is what you need and this is how it needs to be done”. With that in mind, here are a couple examples of what strategy-based websites have done for my clients.
Gauge the Effectiveness of Print Marketing
When you buy an print ad or leave a brochure somewhere in the wild, how easy is it for you to identify how many leads those are generating? Are people calling you because the ad you placed in the local paper convinced them to get in touch or did they learn about you somewhere else?
There are a few different ways to track the effectiveness of print marketing, but the end results are similar; you’ll have a better understanding of what your return on investment is when you spend your marketing budget on printed materials. If your brochure is generating leads but the print ads aren’t, it might be time to pivot. This could mean adjusting your messaging or dropping the under-performers and increasing the budget for the higher performers.
Client Story: I have a client who has ad spots in quite a few different publications. We typically create similar layouts for these print ads and tailor the copy-writing to fit the specific audience. When we began tracking their effectiveness we quickly noticed that some publications converted far better than others and some hardly got any response at all. With this information, the client decided to renew their ad spot with the high performing publications, tweak the messaging on the ads in the middle, and didn’t renew those that had little to no effect.
Once these changes were made they were able to save money and still improve their results.
Increase Warm Leads
By analyzing and understanding how people move around your website you can learn what information is relevant to their search. Different segments of your website’s visitors will be looking for different things, but by understanding your users intent, you can greatly increase the usability of your site. The easier and more intuitive your site is, the higher the likelihood of your visitors making the actions you want them to take while they’re there.
At the end of the day the only people your website should be built to please is your prospects. It could have all the bells and whistles, be sleek and modern, and have that cool sliding background animation when you scroll down the page – but it’s all for naught if your customers don’t appreciate it (or worse if it aggravates them).
Client Story: A client came to me with a goal for her business: increase the amount of in-person training sessions at her gym. We tracked the user behavior on her website and discovered that the majority of people looking for services were having two problems. Users were bouncing from page to page— unable to find the information they came for. For the few who didn’t give up, they weren’t given clear direction on what steps to take next, which was leaving money on the table
I was hired to redesign her website, and with this information we reorganized the structure of her website to help her users quickly navigate to the content that was of interest to them. We also minimized and rephrased the content found on the page and created a clear call to action.
These, seemingly small, tweaks have made a massive impact on her number of bookings— which is currently full!
Understand the True Value of Your Website
With the right tracking you can see the exact amount each page of your website is worth in dollars and cents. You can correlate the value of the leads your website brings you with the path your visitors took to make the actions you’re monitoring. That alone is pretty neat, but when you see one page falling behind, or worse, creating obstacles for your visitors, it’s time to formulate a game plan – optimize that page with content your visitors are looking for or change the path they take to allow them to move around your site easier.
Client Story: A country club hired me to redevelop their website as it had started to look dated and didn’t function as well as it once did. At that time they were seeing around 65 – 80 membership leads from their website a year and were hoping a new website could perform better. The site was rebuilt from the ground up, focusing on user engagement and membership sales.
After developing a new site structure, optimizing user experience, and adding separate sales pages for Memberships, Weddings, and Events the website was relaunched. Their new website saw the average warm leads increase by 357.96% which translated to over $2 million in additional potential revenue – just one year after the new site was launched.
Whether you’re launching a boat or launching a website, it’s typically going to be a much smoother and meaningful journey if you’re equipped with the right tools.
Much like the first time you rent a canoe, however, you may not know what you’re missing until it’s too late – it’s up to the folks at the rental station to guide you and impart their knowledge in ways that are beneficial to your day out on the lake. Similarly, you’re not expected to know all the ways you can lean on your website to help reach your business goals, much of that should be imparted to you by your web developer.
If you have a goal for your business, even if you don’t think it necessarily ties into your website, I’d still love to hear it – there might be a surprising way we can track and reach that goal using your website.