Many businesses, both large and small, are disappointed with the results they get from their web site. Although they get site visitors and even generate sales or leads, they haven't managed to extract their site's real potential. The reason is often a failure to:
- understand the wide variety of prospects that may visit their site;
- understand how to meet the varying needs of these prospects; and
- invest the time and the effort needed to make the site successful.
Make your site doesn't have to be complicated. And, there is no need for magic. All that's needed is the:
- willingness to understand your user population;
- the ability apply some common business sense; and
- a small dose of creativity.
In this article, we will identify some of the key things you can do to create and manage your web site to help you grow your business.
3 Steps to Building an Effective Web Site for Your Business
STEP 1. Before You Start : Know Where You Are Heading
You need to decide why you want a web site and what you really want to achieve. I would suggest that a good reason is NOT - 'because my competitors have them' or 'so we can put it on our business cards'. This makes for very expensive business cards. Some good reasons may include:
- To attract sales leads from new customers;
- To sell directly to new and/or existing customers;
- To enhance the customer experience and service for your clients;
- To provide new and relevant information about you and your products to potential customers and business partners;
- To improve your products and services by obtaining feedback from customers;
- To help recruit employees;
- To reduce the cost of sales;
- To improve your businesses efficiency;
- To lower your marketing costs;
- To expand your marketing reach; and
- To increase your profitability.
STEP 2. You Know Your Target : Plan Your Execution
The Internet and your web site is just another channel to your target audience. You may already be doing taking similar steps in your current sales and marketing process. Now, you just need to translate this to the new medium. Planning your website is a critical component of your overall marketing strategy. Now more than ever, consumers are researching purchases and shopping online. While key business decision makers are sourcing product and services using the Internet. To develop your Internet marketing strategy, you need to carefully define answers to the following questions:
- Who is your target? How can you segment your online audience to better understand their needs?
- What is your primary message? Not 'what are you selling?'. What value do offer?
- How can you begin to form a trusted relationship with your customer?
- What are you willing to promise? Will you deliver?
- What marketing channels match your sales mission?
The answers to each of these questions will depend on your product or service and your company's "personality". These are critical to your site's development and how effective you will be about converting visitors in to interested customers. Develop your strategy together with your web design company so you can better understand user behavior and the technical requirements of search engine optimization. And working closely with your designer means your designer can better understand your customer and his or her needs.
All this may seem like a lot. But, if you know your customers and work closely with a professional web design company, you will develop an you can develop a marketing presence that will pay dividends to your business and enhance your customer relationships. Experienced web development and Internet marketing specialists can help you develop a coherent plan and execute on that vision. Moreover, you will increase your chances of early success and, also reduce your costs - mistakes and wasted efforts are time consuming and unnecessarily eat in to your marketing budget.
STEP 3. Creating Your Website : How do I Pick the Right Web Designer?
For the do-it-yourself small business owners, the good news is that there are a lot of tools that will help you build your own site. But, keep in mind building a site that delivers requires significant time and experience.
Larger businesses may consider hiring a full time developer to design, build and manage their site. However, except for the smallest of companies (measured in revenue potential and not necessarily employees), outsourcing your online marketing makes sense. There are far too many skill sets, including technical, design and marketing, to trust any one person. Use a company that has a good balance of web design, technical know-how and Internet marketing skill to ensure your site looks good and performs.
TIP: Think of your web site as an extension of your business. Just like your business, your web site should not remain static. Your products and services change, as does your industry. Use your website to continually update the world. Not only is it good business practice, regularly adding fresh content to your site will -- over time -- improve your rankings in the search engines that generate your site visitors. A content management system or an integrated blogging tool makes it easy for you to update your content easily and without the aid of a web designer.
Like doing your own taxes, developing your company's online potential can be a daunting task. Like your accountant, to increase your success online and grow your business, find an expert that you trust and can work with for years to come.
Electron Web - Professional Web Design and a Internet Marketing Company
Michael Taus is the Managing Director of Electron Web, a leading web development and Internet marketing company. Electron is a professional Internet consulting and Web design company with offices in California and Hawaii. We specialize in best-in-class website design, online marketing, Flash multimedia, corporate identity and print graphics. Electron features an integrated team of web consultants, creative designers, writers, programmers and marketing professionals that know how to get online results.