The mishmash of websites you see wandering about today is unbelievable, what is even more unbelievable is how most of these have little or no direction. Having no direction is sometimes one of the main reasons people struggle to get results.
In order to make a web presence viable, you need to make sure it delivers as part of the goals of your business. This differs depending on what type of business you run and can be broken down into three simple categories.
I’ve also found that a website works best when it has one stand out category that it can focus on, while others sit in the background just to boost its potential. I’ve split these into conversions, transactions, and information.
A conversion-led website is something that mainly exists in B2B (Business to Business) land. It’s not something you’d get in the normal B2C (Business to Consumer) world but some pieces of this category do filter down into consumer-focused websites (contact forms etc.). Dotdigital is a great example of conversion-led, having come across this company several times I really admire how they’ve worked this strategy. Ensuring that at every point during the visit they give you some information, with the opportunity to follow it up with speaking to one of their team members.
The second type of goal is transactional, this is much easier to see bringing money in because this is mostly what eCommerce is geared towards. Google Analytics is your best friend for this type of website, helping you understand cart abandons and seeing the goals of people purchasing your key items.
This particular goal is good because it can go across different websites and unlike a conversion led website, you can find this type of website across B2C and B2B because everyone needs to buy things. These differ from conversion-led, because a conversion is someone that requires more work or convincing through meetings, proposal issuing and pitching before a purchase. Transactional is good for almost immediate, or at least quicker, results.
The final type of goal is informative. Informative websites are exactly what they say, they aren’t anything that would get you leads, the informative style gets you real-life interaction. Most commonly used by tourism industries because they end up with bums on seats on their cruises, or in tour buses, in their hotels, and cities.
But informative brings us into something else – websites have the foundations of one of these main goals and then a mixture of the other goals. To make a success of digital you need a mix of the three of these things.
If you look at Premier Inn, you can see these goals in play. As a tourism website it’s mainly informative for the user but they also have a transactional because you can book a room with them. They don’t need a conversion-led because they don’t want a prospect, they want immediate conversions. There is a contact section, but this is less of a convertor and more of a helpdesk to get a transaction.
Facebook, and other Social Media sites, are a good example of some unique cases where all three are used. The sign up is the conversion, selling you the user-generated content from your friends. Once you are in the ecosystem, then you can go through the processes of transactional websites – buying things from them, or their advertising partners. Then you get the informative section, which is the original sell, the user generated content from your friends and family.
Just to quickly recap the three key website aims: conversional gives you leads, transactional gives you sales, and informative encourages visitors to physical locations.
This isn’t as challenging as people think, some organisations will just throw a website up in order to get one out there and are disappointed when they don’t get the results they want. Some simple steps to figuring out what your aims will be are:
What you want from your website will be heavily influenced by what the goals of your business are. Marketing is heavily influenced by the overall business, and what methods your Marketing team uses. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness in markets, increase the number of visitors to your place of business, or start selling your items online? That’s not an exhaustive list and you need to really think about what you want before you commit to the next two items.
Content is the most important part of your website and figuring out how your website will be laid out to customers will give you a good idea of what your call to actions will be. This shouldn’t be under-considered and will help you decide if you have a blog, where your call to actions live, and what conversion methods you’ll use.
This is something that people tend to forget, you understand what your content will be on your website but everyone should definitely have a call to action. This could be anything from reserving a spot, giving you a call, adding something to a shopping cart, or even scheduling a real-life visit.
There are several ways you can manage and monitor how your aims are doing, two digital ways and one non-digital way. The non-digital way is a must for mainly measuring physical results, using surveys to see if there was an increase in visits to your physical premises thanks to digital sources. This won’t give you a perfect representation of new visitors, but should give you enough of a result to be able to make a rough assumption of success.
The digital results can be more accurate, especially for converting websites and transactional websites, because you can do most of this through a single tool – Analytics. Using Goals in Analytics is definitely the best way to see how well your aims are going, when set up correctly you can see how many people have finished the checkout process and how many people have converted through forms on the website.
Outside of the conversion goals on the website, a spreadsheet or CRM stored locally lets you understand the status of conversions and how much money you’ve made. Ideally over the three-year lifetime of your website, you want to at least make a profit from it.
You can obviously change your goals as your website grows, personally I recommend reviewing your website and goals after 6 months to see if they are still the goals you want or whether you need to update them.
This post was definitely longer than I thought it was going to be and creating and understanding goals isn’t hugely easy, but if you follow these steps then your website can certainly perform for you and this should give you some tangible results you can work with.
As this is tried, you can then expand into measuring the impact of Marketing campaigns on your goal conversion rate and how campaign URLs can be an important factor here. But this is a new topic for a new post.
You should also check out my other post, focusing on what to remove from your website in 2019.