When making plans for anything in life, it’s best to have specific goals in mind. Even when planning your child’s birthday party – you will instinctively do this.
So when planning an overhaul of your existing Website or designing a new one, setting specific and achievable goals is even more important. Internet marketing guru Seth Godin stresses the importance of asking some key questions up front:
- What is the specific goal of the site?
- When it’s working optimally, what specific outcomes will occur?
- Who are we trying to reach – customers? Certain groups of customers? Everyone?
- What pain points does your product or service solve for consumers?
- What other sites have this group demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?
- Is the goal to close sales? Or are we just seeking permission to follow up with people who’ve expressed an interest?
- Do we want people to call us?
- Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?
- Is there ongoing news that needs to be communicated to people? How often should updates be sent out?
- How much money will need to be spent? And how much time?
You should understand that if you want your Website to achieve “everything” – this is impossible – it’s far better to set clear parameters right from the start.
Why good content is the burger in the bun!
Content is King
Having established specific goals for your site as above, you can then proceed to the creation of the site content.
Content is the “meat” of your site.
Just as the “bun” part of your favourite burger wouldn’t be the same without the beef pattie…do not rely on a fancy Website design to achieve your goals.
What will draw visitors to your site – based on SEO and on visitors’ previous experience of visiting it – is fresh, relevant content about your product or service, presented in an authoritative and entertaining way.
Good content must address the pain points you know your customers have – and lead them gently but firmly towards filling a form – or even better – closing a sale.
Timing is Everything
Once a visitor lands on your site, you have less than 5 seconds to stop them leaving. So the ONE most important message you want them to see MUST appear on your Homepage.
So the ONE most important message you want them to see MUST appear on your Homepage.
Assuming your visitor doesn’t leave if this message doesn’t answer his needs, you then have a further 10 seconds to deliver a second message…and so on.
This ‘message hierarchy’ means that your messages are prioritised so that as visitors work further down the page or into the site, messaging becomes more refined and relevant.
Make sure the first message your site delivers contains the kind of information that helps visitors know at a glance they are in the right place.
Unequivocal Calls to Action
So now you’ve captured the visitor’s attention and engaged them to the point where they are ready to take action: What do you want them to do next?
There is no place for subtlety here – it’s time to get specific. Make sure you are blatantly obvious as to which step visitors should take next…and exactly what they’ll get out of it. Leave nothing open to question.
At the same time, you need to realize that not every visitor is going to be ready to buy right now – many are just browsing and educating themselves on your product or service. That’s why you need to add secondary and even tertiary calls to action to continue encouraging these prospects.
It’s the Sauce that Makes the Snack…
What further content resources can be offered to visitors not yet ready to buy?
Relevant product information, blog posts, ebooks, white papers, videos, webinars, infographics etc. are perfect for this stage. Include links to these on each page – and where appropriate, put them behind a form as a way to capture visitors’ data so you can nurture these leads until ready to buy.
…And the Seeds that Makes the Bun
Now it’s time to put the patty and the sauce, inside your bun – the design, layout and technologies of your site – working together to create structure and functionality to achieve your goals and aims.
These features will give visitors a sense of place and help them figure out if your site can solve their immediate needs – and what next steps to take.
Research shows there are a number of “hot-spots” on a web page that draw the attention of visitors to the site. It’s important to place key information ‘above the fold’ – and use the navigation bar and visual elements like images and different coloured headlines to keep the visitor engaged.
We also recommend you use short paragraphs, bullet points, sub-heads and CTA (Call To Action) buttons to move a visitor easily through messaging and required actions. The use of white space also keeps visitors focused. Lastly, avoid clutter that can derail logical progression through your messaging.
Putting It All Together
As we progress your Website design or redesign, we take the time necessary to update messaging that will connect, engage and motivate your target audiences, and prioritize when and how messages are delivered specifically to encourage visitors to take the actions you want them to take – whichever stage of the buying cycle they are in.
So once we’re happy that your content is as good as it should be – we add the technological and design side to help tell your story to best advantage.
Remember – it’s the pattie, the sauces and the bun that make that delicious burger…and a double cheeseburger (equating to really great content) is best!