Your Web strategy is one aspect of your overall business strategy — a very important aspect for most businesses.
Remember, the Web is just a tool, unless your business is dependent on the web to function. If your service is booking cruises, you probably won’t need to develop a relationship with the customer before they decide to use your service. If you offer attractive options, make the process easy and offer customer service from the very beginning, you’ll probably be able to produce sales without too much pre-sale interaction.
If, like me, however, you have a service business that requires at least some interaction with the prospect before the sale is closed, your website must help establish your credibility, begin to build a relationship with the potential client and develop their trust. In my industry, which is website development in Maine, case studies and showcasing previous work will help close the deal. Think of your web site as your online office where prospects can come and begin that relationship.
In order to accomplish your goals, you need a “Web strategy.” To create the strategy that best fits your needs, answer these questions.
1 – What’s my business? Here’s where you will want to review your business vision and mission. If you haven’t done so recently, now is the ideal time. Keep both vision and mission to one to two sentences each and be sure you WRITE them. Your overall business strategy should be based on the steps you believe will lead you toward realizing your vision.
2 – Who’s my target market? The more narrowly you can define your market, the better. What are their demographics? Are they individuals or businesses? Is location important? Age? Gender? Education? Write a description of your ideal customer.
3 – How will I find my target market on the Web? Once you know whom you’re targeting, how are you going to reach them? Are they participants in topic-specific discussion groups? What free newsletters and e-zines would be attractive to them? What key words would connect your product or service with your target customer? SEO comes into play here. Getting in touch with a Search Engine Optimization agencies like CurmiMarketing and asking for a quote and guidance will give you of how you are faring compared with your top competitors. These are important questions because the more accurate your targeting efforts, the larger base you’ll reach.
4 – What steps will bring my target market to my web site? Create and offer attractive options in your signature file. Use it on all your e-mail communications. Write and provide content for other newsletters, e-zines and web sites with your web URL and a reason to visit. Begin to build your credibility in any venue frequented by your target audience. Seek strategic alliances with others who also target your market for cross referrals.
5 – What do I want my web site to accomplish? You want your site to inform who you are and what you offer. By offering something (or several informational items) for free, you’re opening the opportunity for a dialog. As part of the free information, ask for permission to continue communication. Be sure that each communication is well thought out. Remember, on the Web, you are what you write.
6 – What action do I want visitors to take? The objective is for visitors to request more information, open a dialog or request a trial of services. Make sure you open this opportunity on multiple pages within the site. Response should be as easy as clicking on a pre-addressed e-mail message — and be sure you list your address, phone and fax number. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to see if your site meets your objectives.
7 – How can I determine what actions have been effective? See which information is requested most frequently. Track responses from search engines, discussion lists and special promotions. If you run more than one promotion at a time, make sure you can identify the referral sources for each one independently. Tracking is important because you will want to do more of what works and discontinue what doesn’t.
Hiring a proven digital agency, preferable who have worked with Startups before, will help you take your company to the next level. With people moving to mobile, it has become an almost level playing field for all businesses who want to get visible and drive traffic to their offers.