How not to build a website
Did you know that building a website and online dating have an awful lot in common?
In the last decade, the world has changed dramatically. We now live in a world where people expect to find the love of their life by swiping left or swiping right on an app. People expect to absorb information in 140 characters or fewer and in the amount of time it has taken to read this sentence alone, 11 new users have started to use social media for the first time*.
So what do website design and online dating have in common? In the old days, we had blind-dates set up by mutual friends – now we have match.com, eharmony, and Tinder. You actively create a profile, curating the best photos of yourself; you manage how and what information is provided. The longer that person reads your profile and becomes engaged, the more likely you are to receive a “You’ve Got Mail” notification to take the conversation further.
In the same way, your website needs to attract and control your customer’s first impression of you, to keep them engaged for as long as possible and to work hard as one of the most important digital marketing tools in your arsenal.
Prospective Audiences and Buyer Personas
When looking at website design, most marketing managers and small business owners spend their time thinking about
1) what they want to say
2) how they want their site to look
Often overlooked is the third critical factor – who you are trying to engage.
Many businesses treat a website as they do their product or service – throw it out there and see what sticks. This is fine as long as you acknowledge that this is your strategy, not a lack of market research. With many B2B companies, there are three distinct audiences that need to be recognised:
- The Researcher – they build the shortlist of potential solutions and will usually be one of the users of your product or service
- The Driver – usually tied to corporate-wide initiatives and responsible for meeting targets that their current solutions are no longer providing
- The Money – the one you meet last who needs to be convinced of the clear financial benefit to acting on the recommendations of the researcher and the driver
Each member of this party has an important role to place in the marketing and sales process. You should consider building specialised content for each so that each member can self-identify and process that content to move through the selling process to purchase from you. To build a persona, interview and interact with at least 15 people – prospects or customers that you want to clone. They will inform your marketing and sales focus.
Demographics are important but so is mindset, learning habits and buying behaviour. Where do they get their information from – online? Social media? key influencers? reports or articles? What drives their decision processes – peer reviews? recommendations? data analytics? Where can you meet them? What events do they go to? What webinars do they find useful? Tailor your strategy and messages accordingly and create a journey through your website that is easy to navigate.
How to improve engagement
Most people when they start designing a website think about colours, design, layout, how pretty it looks and what’s trending. It is however, still a tool – an investment to support your business and thus it should focus primarily on three things: