Building a successful website, or an online presence in general, is a lot like building a house. Before the first brick is laid, you need blueprints and a design. But even before that point, you need to determine the amount of rooms you’ll need, their individual purpose, the dimensions, and a great location for the whole package. All this criteria is based on the needs of you and your family, as well as your lifestyle.
It really isn’t that much different from your online endeavors. Before you can create something great, you and your web development team need to have a solid understanding of your company’s online goals. It’s not enough to have a pretty design. There needs to be a reason behind every decision made in the build process in order to support who you are as a company. This is something that really sets the folks here at Americaneagle.com apart from the rest. Our goal with any project is to make sure there is a foundation set so we’re creating an online presence that meets your organizational objectives and goals.
So what does this foundation consist of? What criteria will you need to create it?
Your online goals that drive success start with your organizational objectives. These should be things that you want to achieve as a company with your online presence, not the objectives of the actual project. For example, maybe you’re breaking ground in a new market so it’s critical to increase brand awareness. This could even be narrowed down to increase leads if your business relies on lead generation to be successful. Or perhaps you’re building a new website that is meant to help drive sales, so you’ll definitely want to increase revenue. Other high level examples include:
- Be recognized as an industry leader
- Enhance customer experience
- Increase usage of product/service
- Build loyalty and trustt
It will be helpful to consult your marketing team regarding the company’s objectives to make sure that your online presence is aligned and possibly enforced by their current efforts. Identifying three to five is what we typically recommend.
2. Online Goals
After you’ve outlined your objectives, you should start asking yourself what you can do online and on your website to make those objectives succeed. What actions will move visitors toward your objectives? The visitor interactions you brainstorm are known as goals (or conversions!). Goals could be a registration, requesting a quote, downloading a white paper, and so on.
For example, let’s say that an important objective for your company is to increase leads. Some interactions or goals to help achieve that objective could be scheduling a demo, or requesting a quote.
Goals are ultimately your conversions, which can be either macro or micro. Not every action or response is critical, but some goals may help users along the way to convert. The key difference between these two types of conversions are as follows:
- Macro: Your primary conversions or interactions on the website that directly influence success. This could be a lead generation form or a purchase.
- Micro: A less important interaction or activity that users may engage with before committing to a primary conversion. This could be watching a company video or downloading a whitepaper.
It’s important to identify these so your online presence can be built to accommodate them.
3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Goals will be completely useless if you can’t measure their success. That’s where the key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. KPI’s are the metrics you will use in order to measure the success of your goals. We want to be sure that whatever strategies we put in place to achieve your goals are working, so we need to track the performance. If we continue using our example of increasing leads, your KPI might be increase leads by 2% in Q1. Of course, the actual percentage should be determined based on benchmarks from past performance and/or industry standards.
4. Audience Definition
Now that we know what will be important to achieve with the new online presence, we need to understand the types of visitors who will be interacting with your online presence. After all, they are the ones that we ultimately want to complete those goals we’ve established. In order to help increase the likelihood of conversions, we need to know who we’re communicating with to provide relevant content and focus on channels where they spend the most time. It’s important to get any demographic details available, the problems you can help them solve, what influences them to take action, and more.
5. Current Performance Metrics
It’s a great idea to review your current online performance if you have the data available. You can then establish benchmarks for success once you’ve implemented any changes. We like to look at the performance of key pages that are needed to complete the goals identified during this process. We also like to look at the traffic reporting to see which channels users are primarily entering the site from or engaging with you.
By recording and analyzing the criteria above, a solid foundation can be put in place for the development of your online presence. This will serve as a reference point through every phase to ensure that the decisions being made will meet your objectives and audience needs.
A perfect blueprint for success!