The purpose of a website is either commercial, or it is a hobby.
Assuming in most cases it is the former, the usual commercial rules apply, just because you have a website does not mean everyone apart perhaps from your mother will be excited.
So, to have a successful web presence the same 5 basic rules of marketing that have always applied, still apply:
- Understand the drivers of behaviour of those in your market
- Have a clear objective.
- Have a plan that lays out the “roadmap” to achieve the objective.
- Execute against the plan, but enabling learning from experience to occur whilst you do.
- Have a few key metrics to track performance towards the objective.
You can make this as complicated as you like, but it will generally not help, just confuse. Nowadays however, navigating through the digital tools and options available has become a job for a specialist, and that does not mean the pimply teenager down the road who is a Facebook maven.
A website is just another tool of commerce, the starting place that enables small businesses to communicate and compete in ways unimaginable 20 years ago. The digital revolution has also spawned a host of further tools to enable relationships and transactions, but the basics of finding a customer, engaging with them and moving towards a transaction have not changed one bit.
For small businesses too compete, they need to do a few things well:
- Have a really detailed customer profile. Demographic, geographic and behavioural knowledge and insights are what enables them to target messages specifically, as if to one person.
- Create and/or curate information of interest to this specific audience. Information that alerts, informs, and demonstrates your knowledge, has the opportunity to at some point in the targets future, to give them a reason to engage. There are myriads of tools to do this, from those that scrape social media platforms for key words, to following thought leaders and repackaging their ideas, to creating interest focussed newsletters automatically. However, don’t believe that any of this is easy, as you will be sorely disappointed.
- Open the chance of engagement. By simply making the target aware of the content, and giving them a reason to stay on your site or platform, you open the opportunity for engagement. This is where the tools really come in, to sort, organise, and direct the appropriate content automatically once set up. The reach of social media into most segments is now extremely deep, but increasingly the platforms are seeking to be paid for the provision of that reach to you. Advertising, but once you have someone’s attention, by whatever means, you need to make sure you do something useful with it, as you may not get a second chance.
- Engage the targets with the content, by demonstrating that you are the one who can and will deliver value at the time of a transaction.
- Enable the transaction. Often this doe not mean buying over the web, it is much broader, and encompasses all the elements of the sales as well as the logistics channels and after sales service.
- Retain the faith of the customer for future sales, and turn them into a source of referrals for you to their networks.
Again I say, none of this is easy, but the point is that none of it was available to small business just 20 years ago. There has been an immense democratisation of opportunity, make sure you use it, and when you need assistance, call me.