Five Questions to Answer When Creating Your First Website
Tom Shapiro is CEO and founder of Digital Marketing NOW, which helps clients to maximize their online marketing results. What makes Digital Marketing NOW different is the company's expertise and focus on digital strategy and strategic design.
Digital Marketing NOW's services include digital strategy development, website development & design, conversion optimization, SEO, paid search, social media marketing, email marketing & analytics. Follow us on Twitter: @DigitalMN.
Latest posts by Tom Shapiro (see all)
- The 10 Hottest Online Marketing Trends in 2014 - February 12, 2014
- 13 Hot Internet Marketing Trends in 2013 - December 8, 2012
- Getting Your Business in Front of More Hot Prospects Online - February 9, 2012
“Wow, what a great website!”
This is what you want your prospective customers to think when they visit your website. So, where do you start when you’ve decided to create your first site?
A great first step is to read through StartupNation’s 11 Steps to a Successful Website. This will give you the nuts and bolts for development of a site that helps you build business.
And to take your website to a new level, thrill your site visitors and beat the competition, there’s more that you can do. Specifically, you should ask yourself the five additional high-level marketing questions listed below.
Five Questions to Ask Yourself
- How are you going to measure success?
- How will your website help your prospective customers achieve their objectives?
- What are the competition’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your differentiation?
- How can you make site visitors feel, “Wow, I’ve got to work with that firm!”?
How are you going to measure success?
First, determine the type of website you will create (lead-generation, sales, educational, etc.). Next, identify your measures of success. One year from now, what does the website need to produce in order for you to consider the site successful?
When defining your success metrics, be specific. You might be trying to make sales on your website, but exactly how much revenue and at what average revenue per order do you need in order to hit your profit goals?
It is this laser-like focus that will enable you to gauge success on a monthly basis, empowering you to know when changes need to be made to your website.
How will your website help your prospective customers achieve their objectives?
Your prospective customers are real people. Why will they visit your website? What problems do they have that you solve? What goals do they have that you help them achieve?
Address these issues in your website and be more helpful to your site visitors than your competition. For example, a career coach might want to build the following elements into a lead-generation website:
- Empowering job seekers with tips and guidance so that they gain immediate benefits.
- Making job seekers feel more in control through roadmaps and tools.
- Building hope through testimonials, client success stories and examples of inspiration.
What are the competition’s strengths/weaknesses?
Have you reviewed your competitors’ websites from the customer’s perspective? Is your website going to be better than theirs?
Identify weaknesses in your competitors’ websites, and create content on your website to highlight your comparative strengths. For example, you may notice that your competition is not providing engagement opportunities on their website, and this could be an opportunity for you to create a forum, blog or “Ask the Expert” area on your site to drive interaction with your site visitors.
What is your differentiation?
Your site visitors want to understand how you are different. Why should they purchase from you as opposed to anyone else, with competitor websites just one click away?
Highlight benefits. Stick to one clear, simple message. Think of Starbucks and its message of being “your third place” (after home and work).
Take the time to brainstorm unique value that you can offer your prospective customers:
- Can you specialize in serving a specific audience segment?
- Can you brainstorm a new product/service that solves a unique customer problem?
- Can you cross-pollinate ideas from other industries with your products/services?
- Can you be the “greenest” company in your space?
- Can you bring new automation to your customers?
How can you make site visitors feel, “Wow, I’ve got to work with that firm!”?
Figure out a way to resonate with your site visitors. How can you make the website all about them, rather than about your own business? How can you make their site experience more enjoyable? How can you thrill them?
There are a number of ways for determining these answers, including:
- Ask! Find out directly from your customers and prospective customers.
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Define the ideal website experience.
- Develop profiles of your target customer and run through various scenarios.
- Study leading brands.
- Get feedback from others by using online forums such as StartupNation Forums and answer sites such as LinkedIn Answers.