Is your website delivering what you need? We often get called in on projects to fix problems with an existing website. There are varied reasons a web site may not be effective, but many are due to not clearly defining the goals and audience of the site. Some sites may have a clear focus, but the implementation may confusing to the audience. In this post, I want to address the first part – defining your audience and goals.
Who is your audience?
Before any design begins, you will want to know who you are designing this for. Are you targeting existing customers, new prospects, businesses, consumers, young people, senior citizens or some combination? Know your demographics. Are the members of your audience mobile internet users? Will they find your website using social media? Look at your existing customers, ask them questions, and try to identify additional customer groups you may not be addressing. Knowing your audience makes the design process easier.
There may be multiple audiences which will require multiple goals. The design of your website should reflect this by using clearly differentiated sections of the website, focused landing pages, and content that addresses the specific goals for each group.
What are your goals?
What do you want out of the website? There is no right answer to this that fits all businesses – only your business. Some common goals include:
- Provide contact information (not many people use a yellow pages book any longer to find products and services)
- Provide potential customers information
- Provide information and support to current customers
- Generate and prequalify leads
- Get sign ups for your email newsletter
- Make and complete the sale
Once you have each goal, you should determine how you are going to measure it. This allows you track effectiveness of the site, and to modify your design accordingly. You may look at traffic to your site, number of newsletter subscribers, conversions, and other metrics. Try to get a baseline and set up periods for monitoring. Depending on your goal, some strategies require a longer time to measure. If your sales cycle typically takes a few months to convert a prospect, don’t expect that to magically change simply because you are now marketing online.
Measuring success is an ongoing process, and an important one. You’ll want to focus your efforts on the strategies that get results and continuously try to improve those.