Does Your Website Have Purpose? (Or, What’s the Point?)by Ascedia
August 31, 2017 2 minute read
Every business needs a website. You’ve likely experienced the disorienting feeling of Googling a store or restaurant and discovering that they have no online home (or possibly just a Facebook page).
A lack of a dedicated website can lead to a lack of confidence in your brand, particularly if you’re a B2B company working with a vast channel. But when you’re starting to put together plans for your next site redesign, take a moment to consider the purpose of your website (beyond simply laying claim to your corner of the Web).
Just The Facts, Ma'am
“Brochure” sites, or purely informational sites, have a purpose on the web - they tell your brand story and provide specific information about your company that clients and prospects need to know. Often an informational site serves as the first stop before a client visits your organization in person or makes a phone call to your customer care team. For some organizations, simply getting the answers to frequently asked questions out on the web is enough, and that’s ok. When you’re building a site of this type, just be sure to find ways to make your brand stand out - simple is good, but you still need to clearly differentiate your business from others in the space.
Establish Your Expertise
To take your brochure site beyond the basic, you can develop additional content that helps build your reputation as a thought leader and establish authority in the market. By providing more meaningful content and optimizing it for search engines, you can become the #1 resource for people seeking information on your area of expertise. We’ve seen great success promoting our clients’ content through rich snippets (the callout boxes that appear when you Google a specific question) and encourage blogging as a primary inbound marketing tactic to attract site traffic and showcase your industry knowledge.
Lead Generation Engine
While providing free content helps build your brand reputation, gated content helps turn interested visitors into qualified leads. Many organizations use their website to offer more in-depth content like white papers or how-to guides to prospects who are further along in their purchase journey. These pieces of content are kept behind forms, requiring interested readers to share their email address or other contact information in order to download the content.
Forms… Obtrusive? Annoying? Commonplace. And incredibly valuable for your organization! If you’re providing useful information that helps prospects understand a complex problem or work through strategic decisions, place a form in front of it. This way, your team can reach out and provide additional advice or information to help them understand the topic at hand.
Think about your buyers’ journey and determine whether they should be able to make their final purchase online. Perhaps the final sale requires a conversation, but adding the ability for customers to get a detailed quote helps streamline the final purchase stage and allows both sides to be armed with the information they need to have an effective conversation.
If e-commerce isn’t quite right for your product, there are other ways to get your customers one step closer in the buying process. For example, if your product comes in many combinations or configurations, consider adding a product configurator on your site to help clients visualize and analyze the options available to them. Configurators can also help your network of installers find specifications and ensure a seamless delivery for the end client. If you sell through a partner channel, a dealer locator or “Find a Store” option could be extremely helpful for your customers while generating qualified leads for your distributors.
When you’re getting started on a website redesign, be sure to carefully consider the purpose of your site and keep that in mind as you build out your strategic digital marketing plan. Every feature and design choice should serve that purpose.