Why are you reading this post?
With our limited time and energy, we consciously and subconsciously evaluate each thing we do. We want to determine if we should be spending time on it. We want to know that there’s value in it – enough value to bother doing it. Much of the time, we start doing things without asking “why am I really doing this?”. We’ve missed the opportunity to check and clarify what is really important and what’s not.
Understand the Big Questions to Set Direction
I’ve asked the following questions many times and I usually get the answer of “That’s a good question.”
- Why do you have a website?
- How many contact forms do you want to be submitted each month?
- What is your monthly sales goal? (This is not an ecommerce-only question. You’re in business right? You need to make sales. The website plays some kind of role in that, right?)
- How many website visitors do you need?
- What do you think social media or Google Ranking will accomplish for you?
These are pretty big questions – foundational questions to building a successful web marketing engine. Just like anything else in life: no goals usually means no direction. Knowing these answers before implementing anything will save you much and gain you more.
Think Through the Small Questions to Maximize Results
Now, for some smaller questions. These can make or break the effectiveness of any feature of a website and directly affect the results of online marketing campaigns. Put yourselves in the shoes of your potential customer and ask:
- Why would I care about this?
“This” could be an offer, product, service, event, feature, benefit or anything you are telling them about. Often times I see that the wrong message is given. By wrong, I mean that the customer cares about some other aspect than we are addressing. Maybe they don’t really care about the fact that you’ve been around for 30 years – they just want to know what the scope of your products are and who they are for.
- Why would I do that?
For your potential customer to take an action, they need a good reason why. It’s very common for call to actions to be weak or generic contact forms. Sure, if a person is ready to talk to you about making a sale that’s fine, but what if they aren’t quite yet? Giving them a reason (that “why”) to subscribe or to take some other action may mean the difference of them becoming a customer or going somewhere else). (Hey, we’re guilty too. It’s always easier to see the issues with someone else than your own right?)
- What is the most important thing for me to do here?
Does your potential customer understand why they can do on your site or is it a come and mosey around site? No one wants to mosey. Give direction just as if your website was a store and you were the salesman. A customer just walked in. How would you help them?
- What are the natural steps I need take in order to be ready to talk to sales?
Many companies have great products and services – it’s just the way they communicate them that bungles up the effectiveness of their website experience. Map out how your customers come to the decision to buy from you. Address their questions in the order they have them through the presentation.
Now let’s consider why people update their websites and online marketing the way they do. Here are some questions to ask to validate whether or not you’re investing well:
- Why are we putting that there?
Is that really the right place for that piece of information? Often times, companies cram things onto their homepage. Is something really important enough to be on the homepage? If it’s not a main differentiator or the next step for one of your target audiences, chances are the it needs to go somewhere else – wherever makes sense for the customer. When a visitor goes through your site – they have an experience. You want to make sure that you’ve done your best at presenting the right things in the right order for that experience to result in a lead.
- Why do we have multiple sites? or Why do we have a bunch of separated site?
- Why is our Adwords budget set at $x / month?
Perhaps you will get twice the visitors and leads if you up the budget. If you are actually getting leads and you can estimate the cost per lead (which is the cost of doing Adwords divided by the number of leads), maybe it makes sense to double your budget, because you may double your leads. On the other hand, I’ve seen companies spending more to get a sale than the profit of the sale. Understand why your budget is where it is.
- Why are we using the homepage as a landing page?
Sometimes this makes sense, but most of the time it’s most profitable to setup a landing page specific to the ad or offer.
- Why are we set on using animated graphics?
If using high-end animated graphics are relevant and helpful for your audience great, if not, you’re not really adding any value to your company. Besides they are expensive to create and change later – plus, if you’re using Flash, roughly 10% of your visitors probably see a blank spot on the page.
- Why are our current visitors finding our site?
- Why are we ranking in Google where we are?
Many companies don’t rank anywhere because they aren’t really relevant in Google’s eyes. Other companies are sitting on top of incredible rankings they don’t even know they have. If they knew, they could leverage it and get even more traffic.
- Why do we care about Google ranking?
Maybe you don’t. Sometimes it pays, sometimes it’s just not relevant. If you think you care about Google Ranking, find out what the opportunities really are before worrying about it.
- Why do we really need that feature?
So many times, website projects grow large and take forever because of the amount of extra features packed in. A lot of that stuff is fluff – it isn’t really used or read by the customer and may be a waste of time. A recent client we worked with shrunk their site by about 60% and they are loving it. Customers can find things very easily and the site is clean and clutter-free. Most of the content didn’t really provide that much value to them or their audience. For many types of features, here are already existing tools out there you can leverage to save from custom programming. So launch faster, and put that money towards getting sales!
Save Much, Gain More
I urge you to grab someone outside your in house team – someone with a fresh perspective on your situation (and preferably experienced in effective web marketing) – and ask these Why questions with them regarding your web marketing strategy and tactics. Next time you’re thinking about a new update or project, ask “Why should we do this? Why this way? What is the expected outcome?”. I guarantee you will save tons of time, energy and money by challenging assumptions or quick decisions upfront. This simple question can save you from years of ineffective web marketing and put you on the path to real results. Just don’t go overboard and drive your team crazy. If you want the help of experienced web experts to plan your strategy, please contact Effect Web Agency for a free consultation.