What is the job your website needs to do for your business?
One of the frequent starts to a conversation with clients and businesses goes along the lines of "We need a new website".
Often a businesses' website is the first thing looked at when refreshing your marketing. It is one of the main places potential customers interact with your brand. Like a storefront, it is important that your website represents your business well. But what is often less clear is what the role your website plays in your customer's user journey. Why does it exist? Why would customers come to your website?
For some businesses, it’s easy to answer. If you are an eCommerce brand, your website’s main role is to sell products. But what if you are an FMCG brand? Sure, you sell to customers, but not directly. So what role does your website play as opposed to someone just going straight to the online sites for Coles or Woolies? (Other retailers are available)
Questions like this are often overlooked when looking at decisions around a website and whether to build a new one. It cannot be overstated though, how important it is to nail this before briefing developers or marketers. This key information forms the bedrock of the strategy or experiences your website is designed to provide to consumers. So, all that being said, what are the main roles a website can be designed to perform?
1. Selling things
As previously mentioned, if your business operates some form of an eCommerce model, the primary role of your website will be to sell your product or service. This gives the clearest role for your website, the easiest way to quantify the value of your site, and measure the ROI on your marketing efforts.
It is then comparatively easy to gain buy-in and rationalise the investment in your website. There are going to be two key areas of focus for an eCommerce site: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to get as many people to the site through efficient marketing channels and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) so that the traffic you do get to your website transacts at the highest rate possible.
2. Generating leads
Generating leads is also a clear and distinct value proposition for your website. As long as your business understand the value of a lead, you can quickly extrapolate the value of your site. Building out the content highlighting the details and value of your services is key for this kind of site. If you are asking people for their information, what is the value exchange you are giving them for their valuable data? You could create gated content that requires them to give you their email address for access to free templates or guides, access to data in return, a free trial. Focus on what your website can provide to maximise the number of people who will give you their data.
3. Validating decisions
There are instances where you don’t need your site to attract people through the traditional methods of search engines or social media. And if you did use these channels to drive people to your site, you start attracting the wrong type of leads for your business. Large construction projects and FMCG brands are two examples where the website’s role is important but isn’t upfront in the path to purchase.
If you are going for a large tender, your website needs to validate that your business is reputable and show that you have experience working on similar projects. These help tick boxes in the procurement process and, whilst not necessarily driving immediately apparent revenue, are pivotal in winning new business.
Equally, if you are an FMCG brand, you don’t necessarily want users to land on your site when trying to buy your product. You’d rather they get to a retailer they can actually purchase from as quickly as possible. Again the website can play an important role from a brand perspective however. Providing a place for product information to be shared for people investigating in more detail or to help address brand reputation challenges, ensuring your brand’s voice is a part of the conversation.
In these instances, we would look to elevate the importance of the blog or content section of the site. Giving more prominence to case studies and examples of work, thought leadership or in depth product info.
If your website’s main role isn’t driving leads or sales, your business priority could be using your website to attract talent to your business. In such cases, it is important to give the jobs section of the site the appropriate focus for those aims. This could mean placing it more prominently in the navigation or architecture of the site than you may normally see or building out the content in the jobs section of your site to show more of the benefits and perks of working for your business.
This equips your site with the content to do the job you need it to do, attracting people to come work for you.
5. Customer Retention
Acquiring new customers is, on average, five times more expensive than retaining existing ones1. Your website can help manage and reduce client churn through providing a go-to place for support and guidance content on how to get the best of your services or provide a community of like-minded individuals to share your experiences and challenges.
Here you should focus on building out your website’s content based on customer feedback. Things like FAQs, help guides, or forums are great ways to help manage customer churn.
These five examples of the role websites play help define the strategy, structure and investment that goes into each. Before beginning a project to update, or optimise your site, take a moment to consider what is the role you need it to play.
If you need help understanding what job your site is meant to play in your customer acquisition or retention strategy, chat to our digital marketing experts.