18 Jul Did You Take These 3 Steps Before Your Website Launch?
What is the goal of your website? Is it an online brochure or business card? Is it a digital storefront? Is it a marketing tool that helps grow your business?
The goal of a well-designed website should be to attract, persuade and convert ideal prospects. That’s how you achieve a return on your investment. Accomplishing this goal, however, requires formulating a Digital Marketing Strategy BEFORE you begin your website design or redesign and launch it for the world — and the Google crawlers — to see.
Unfortunately, too many business owners skip these three crucial steps:
Step 1: Build Audience Personas*
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.” Jimmy Stewart
Before beginning your website design (or redesign), you must first define your ideal prospects. If your goal is to reach everyone then your result will be to reach no one. Start by defining the geography, then consider demographics and finally psychographics of your ideal prospects. Next, you need to develop specific personas who represent these prospects. Personas turn the facts into a human being that you can speak to on your website. These personas will help you identify similar behavior patterns that result in commonly held goals for each type of prospect you are targeting.
Step 2: Develop a Value Proposition
“We look for opportunities where we can offer something better, fresher, and more valuable and we seize them…We are proactive and quick to act, often leaving bigger and more cumbersome organizations in our wake.” Richard Branson
When designing (or re-designing) your website, you must look at the particular buying triggers your prospects have when making a “purchase decision.” Knowing these buying triggers helps you to offer your visitors a compelling value proposition. Whether their next action is to purchase something from you, call you, visit you, or get information from you, a targeted value proposition will speak directly to your ideal prospects and guide them to make a decision. In order to create this value proposition, you need to know what distinguishes your company from your competitors. Too many business owners commoditize their products or services because they do not clearly understand why they are better than their competition. So what makes you different?
Step 3: Write for Your End Users
“Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.” David Ogilvy
The next reason you want to establish your online marketing strategy first is that your content should be determined by, and written about, the end users that are expected to visit your site. At this point, you understand who your ideal prospects are, what their buying triggers are, and why you are the best company to fulfill their needs. However, there are a few elements to this strategy, including:
- Keyword Research. This demonstrates true knowledge of what people actually want to find. When writing the content for your site, be sure it supports what your prospects are actually looking for and how they, specifically, are searching for it online.
- Consistency in language is very important. What you say on your website should align with those phrases your prospects are searching with. Many businesses get wrapped up with their own language or jargon or about their products, forgetting how the consumers actually identify them. This raises confusion, and makes it more difficult for prospects to convert. For example, if you’re a cosmetic surgeon, does that phrase necessarily mean the same thing as a plastic surgeon? It is vital that you use the most popular keywords in the vernacular of your buying audience.
- SEO (search engine optimization). From an SEO perspective, it is important that your website be architected in such a way that it creates a persuasive argument for your ideal prospect. The more comfortable and engaged your website visitors are, the more time they will spend on your site and the better your search rankings will be.
- In the case of a website redesign, without a good SEO strategy in place first you could easily lose ranking from a search engine’s standpoint. Any pages that exist today, when those pages are brought forward to your new website, may no longer rank or even exist from a search engine’s perspective. This may be due to changing the naming conventions on your new site, e.g., About_Us page is now called About. The biggest consumer of your web pages is Google. If a page is renamed, not only will the search crawlers no longer find it, but Google may even delist that page from its database indices. The net result of careless naming conventions on your website is immediate loss of traffic to your new site. (note: This is a fairly common problem with small businesses who do not use professional web designers when updating their website.)
- Even in the above scenario, a professional digital marketing company can help reestablish your search rankings by restoring the old page(s) and redirecting all traffic intended for them to the correct new pages.
This is the bottom line:
Talk to a professional digital marketing agency before you redesign your website so they can assure your online marketing (persuasion strategy) and your SEO strategy are sound BEFORE you redesign and launch your new website. If you’re not at a conversation point yet, then get a free baseline audit of your website’s SEO by simply following the link below.Free Custom SEO Audit
*(Personas in marketing terms are fictional archetypes or characters created as proxies for your target audience)