Think First. React Second.
Before a small business owner embarks on the development of a company web site, it is crucial for the owner to identify the main web site objective. Are you trying to:
- Heighten awareness about a new product or service?
- Generate online leads?
- Leverage the platform for ecommerce?
- Create space for existing clientele to interact and review their account or project information?
- Increase sales?
In our experience, most business owners don’t take time to articulate their web site goals prior to beginning design. Instead, they simply react to the desire to have an online presence.
Strategy is key! To develop an effective web site, it is essential to understand (1) why you need an online presence, and (2) what you need the web site to accomplish. When these two questions are answered, it is easier to design and implement a site that meets these needs—and exceeds your goals.
Did you just wake up one day and start your business? It’s unlikely. Instead, you spent months, or even years, developing a business plan. And, while it will not take years to develop your web site, it requires the same careful attention as your business plan. Proper planning helps you make efficient use of your budget, and ensure that your web site provides you with substantial ROI. After all, isn’t the goal to make money?
If you’re considering a small business web site, or revamping your existing online presence, here are 8 things to think about before you begin.
- Define your marketing objective. What is the purpose of the web site? Be specific about goals, which may include: achieving differentiation, educating your market, expanding your business, increasing client loyalty, etc.
- Do you have strong branding? Your brand dictates the perception of your company, and differentiates it from competitors. Powerful and captivating brands create an instantly recognizable, unique, professional image that can help catapult your company to success.
- Who is your target audience? Who are you talking to? What do they think today, and want tomorrow? Consider segmentation, demographics, perceptions and attributes. The better you know your audience, the better you can market to them.
- Who are your competitors? To achieve success and differentiate your brand promise, you must understand your competitors. Your web site should capitalize on what makes you different from “the other guy.”
- What is the market climate? What barriers, if any, do you face from a competitive or market perspective? Be specific. For example, is this a saturated product category—or relatively new? How is consumer awareness? Is there limited value perception or inadequate differentiation?
- What are your key success metrics? What do you consider success? Increased adoption rates? Elevated awareness? Category penetration? Driving online leads?
- What do you want to market? Describe detailed features and aspects. What makes your product or service better than others?
- What technology is available to bring your web site to life? Technology is constantly changing, and new platforms, widgets and plugins are being developed every day. It is important to leverage available tools in order to capture your web site goals.
Graphic D-Signs specializes in small business marketing and small business web site development—and we can help you articulate and achieve your web site goals. To schedule a consultation with our team, or discuss pricing for your new or refreshed web site, contact us today!