When someone comes to your new business website, what do you want them to do or get from the experience?
This is an important question to ask, because it helps you to not only shape the content and design of your pages, but also to structure your online campaigns in a way that is aligned with other business goals. It also happens to be something most business owners and executives don’t really consider all that often.
To be sure, you probably want to generate “more sales” from your website. But, how does that actually translate into a measurable goal? Or, to put it another way, what are some things you could accomplish on the way to a sale that would be meaningful and would show up on your web analytics package?
Because we like our clients to be as specific as possible when it comes to setting targets, let’s look at a pair of outcomes you might want from visits to your website…
Believe it or not, your primary goal in many instances should be to ensure that visitors to your website get the information they need, rather than pushing to make a sale.
This makes sense for a lot of reasons. For instance, you might have a complex selling process that requires many different contact points. In that kind of situation, it doesn’t make sense to push for a quick transaction. It isn’t likely to happen and a high-pressure marketing approach could lead to bad reviews and excessive returns.
Likewise, customers who make decisions too quickly might not end up being a good fit for your company. That can force you and your staff to waste a lot of time chasing down bad leads.
Finally, when prospects get great information they can return to your website later, pass along your information, follow-up over the phone, or even decide to visit you in person. All of these are positive outcomes, and much easier to achieve than a finish sale.
The second outcome, after giving prospects important information about your company and their decisions, is to have them move forward in the selling process.
That progress can take a lot of different forms. It might be an actual online transaction, but it could just as easily involve an e-book download, participation in a webinar, a live appointment with a member of your sales team, or even attendance at a public demonstration.
It’s important to identify these goals, of course, but also to remember that you can’t meet any of them until the first criteria for sharing information has been met. No one is going to risk their time, much less their money, unless they are reasonably sure you have solutions to the problems they’re facing.
The best way to analyze your progress towards these goals, other than watching your sales figures, is to study your web analytics package. That will tell you how many people arrive in your website, where they are coming from, and what they do once they reach your pages.
For example, seeing that lots of people are spending time on your articles or frequently asked questions is a good sign of interest. However, it also tells you that your information is relevant to your target audience. Likewise, a high bounce rate from your conversion pages (the ones where you ask people to sign up for something or make a commitment) could show that you’re being too aggressive or that buyers are missing informational steps they need on your website.
The point here is that the answers you’re looking for are almost always in the statistics generated by your website. However, you have to be willing to know what your goals are and seek ways to move prospects in the right direction.