(or How to Increase Your Targeted Web Site Traffic and Sales. . . )
You have a web site.
Perhaps it was developed internally by you or by one of your own people. Or perhaps you employed a web design agency to produce it for you.
You know you're not happy with it but don't know what to do about it.
Sound familiar? Then you are one of many businesses, both large and small, who are disappointed with their web site.
The reason is often a failure to understand what you should be trying to do with the site and (let's be honest) probably a failure to invest the time and the effort needed to make the site successful.
If your business web site is a marketing one - and most are - aimed at your UK or overseas markets, it should be an integrated part of your main marketing and operations. It should support your marketing and be supported by your marketing.
In this article, I shall discuss some of the key things you need to do to identify and tackle your problems.
1. Set out your stall - what do you want to achieve?
Easier said than done actually, but the more clearly you can set out your objectives - quantified if possible - then the easier it will be to decide what to do about it and also how much effort and money it is worthwhile investing in the process.
2. Identify the problems and opportunities
You have to ask some key questions:
- What is the site actually achieving? ( Do we know what it's achieving? - Frequently the honest answer is ‘no', so how can we find out what it's achieving? )
- What do our customers, staff, potential visitors think about it? (Why not ask some?)
- What are our competitors or similar businesses doing on their sites? Is our's inferior - and can we use their ideas to improve our performance too?
- Are there new ideas out there we should be adopting?
Frequently things boil down to:
- How many visitors is the site seeing and where are they coming from?
- Is the site converting enough visitors to sales or enquires? Do you need to make your site ‘sell’ more strongly?
Statistics from the site operating logs should help to answer these questions and give some clues on where visitors are coming from and what they are looking at.
Tip: If you think 1000 ‘hits’ in your site logs means you are receiving 1000 visitors, get some help to understand them better.
3. Sort out your web site marketing
Your website itself is a ‘product’ and you should go through the key marketing steps on it again to make sure you still have a sound foundation:
- Who are your target audience(s)?
- What do you need to have on your site to attract them to it in the first place? Is it there?
- Do you want them to come back again? What would attract them back?
- What content or service do you need to provide on-line or off-line to back up your ‘promise’ to your visitors?
- How should you promote your web site and contents to your target audience?
The answers will depend on your product, type of business, target audience etc. However, there are some effective traditional and internet marketing approaches which you should consider. A full discussion would be beyond the scope - certainly the length -of this article but some core ideas include:
- Try to make your site a magnet for your target audience. What would drive them to come to you in preference to your competitors? Information on your product or service field, advice on how to choose or use a product, specialist industry news or articles, games, good deals, support service?
- Search engines: These can produce substantial business volumes for you - some surveys report as much as 80% of traffic to sites comes from search engines originally. Whilst having a budget helps, affordable search engine promotion is possible for most businesses.
- Relationship marketing: Permission e-mail newsletters can inform your target audience about new product offers or initiatives and encourage repeat visits and sales.
- Off-line marketing: Use your web site as an integral part of your traditional marketing and promotion.
Tip: If internet marketing is not your skill area, get some help to sort things out. You'll be glad you did.
Dave Abernethy is Managing Director of Net Commerce Solutions Limited, a UK web design and internet marketing company serving UK and international businesses. He has over 25 years experience in business management, consultancy and marketing. A fuller version of this article can be read at http://www.net-commerce-solutions.co.uk/articles.html