The First Question Is … Why Do You Want A Website?
When a potential client states that they would like to have a website developed for them, one of the very first questions we ask them is “Why do you want a website?”. You may be surprised by the responses we get! Fact is, most people haven’t put any real thought into this simple question. Often the answer is that since everyone else has one, they felt it’s time they get one too. It may simply be that a close competitor has recently launched a new site, and now they feel that they need to catch up. For others, it’s simply something that is expected of them, just like getting a phone number and business cards.
These types of answers clearly show that the person hasn’t realized yet that a website is part of an overall marketing strategy. They haven’t yet heard of the question “Why do you want a website?” It’s not just about putting up an “open for business” sign in your window. Like any marketing endeavour, it should get all the attention and respect that it deserves. After all, a website is an advertising tool which is available 24/7 all year long for the entire global population to see. It can be updated at any time and expanded to include as much information as you want. If you think about it, you’ll quickly realize that it provides an advertising opportunity which is unparalleled by any other marketing concept.
Since your website is so important, it’s crucial to use it as effectively as possible. It shouldn’t be a place to quickly throw up some text and images as an afterthought to your marketing efforts. Instead it should be carefully thought out. Goals need to be put into place. A website is an important marketing tool which should be used accordingly. So, why do you want a website?
Here Are Some Simple Questions To Ask Yourself
- Who is your target audience? Are they your suppliers, employees, customers, tourists or hobbyists? Hint: Don’t say everyone!
- How are you going to get your audience’s attention? What will be displayed on the home page? What will the website have in place to get visitors to want to view additional pages?
- If the website is supposed to bring in more business, how should it do so? Do you need a full-blown e-commerce shopping cart system? Do you want to display prices on the website? Are potential customers supposed to contact you by email or phone to find out more, which gives your sales staff the opportunity to close the sale?
- What images do you want to use? Will you be displaying product images? Do you already have some? Will there be multiple images per product to display various colours and styles? Do you want to show pictures of your employees?
- How will your website be integrated into your other marketing efforts? This includes online activities such as social media, blogs, coupon sites, mapping software and more. How about offline marketing such as stationary, vehicle lettering, voice mail, signage, etc?
Finding The Answers
Take some time to sit down and go through all these questions, including the very first one: “Why do you want a website?” Write down your answers, even if you’re not confident about them. Ask others what they think. You can start out by approaching business partners, employees, family and friends. You may also want to ask your target audience … after all they will know best what they want! This can be done via an online poll, casually asking them a question or two during conversations, or sending out a questionnaire by mail. Since everyone is too busy, you may want to entice them to participate by entering their name into a draw for a prize. You can also provide a small gift or a discount on their next purchase simply for participating. Getting feedback from others is important and keeps you from doing too much “trial and error” marketing efforts.
“Why do you want a website?” is a powerful question which gets you to think about your business.
Make sure you don’t forget to set some goals. Remember the original question: Why do you want a website? For most businesses the answer is to increase sales. Therefore you want to ensure that most of your efforts go into creating a website which is meant to reach those goals. Try not to get distracted by all the things your website can do. Instead focus on what it must do.
You should also put multiple strategies into place. Simply having a website isn’t going to increase sales. You may also have to get involved with social media. Perhaps you should start an online newsletter or blog. Your company may benefit from an online order form which visitors can fill out. Perhaps all your employees should have their own company email address. How about adding videos on your website to showcase the company and it’s products and services? The question “Why do you want a website?” should quickly be followed by “What does my website audience want?”
Try to have all of your strategies work together and overlap, so that they compliment each other. For example, you should have all of your social media accounts displayed on your website, so that visitors can find them. Obviously you should also do the reverse, and promote your website from your social media accounts. If you have a fillable form on your website, talk about it in your blog or newsletter so that readers see how modern your organization is and how easy it is to use your website.
Even if you already have a website and simply want to update it, we will still ask you “Why do you want a website?” It’s important to revisit this question to ensure that you stay on track.
It’s All About Perspective
Think about how your target audience views and experiences your website. While we may ask you “Why do you want a website?”, your audience will ask you “Why should I buy from you?”. You want to get their attention and maintain it. That gives you an opportunity for them to get to know your organization and develop familiarity with it. Ultimately that can lead to trust.
Your website needs to be engaging. There should be some interactivity for them to get involved with your organization. It can be something as simple as a form to signup to your newsletter. It could be a contest which they can enter. Perhaps you have a coupon code they can use on your online shopping cart system. Make the conversation go both ways!
If you could use some help with answering some of these questions for your website project, contact us to see what we can do for you. Get ready though, because you know we’re going to ask you “Why do you want a website?”!