Most people think they have a pretty good idea of what people should do on their website, and they are almost certainly right – but the answer isn’t always as simple as you might think.
The answer here is obvious, give me money.
Almost all of the time, this is the answer, or some form of transaction where the site owners get paid. That might be something as simple as “buy this product“ from my online store or “Contact Me” for a quote on our services; or it might be a complicated advertising based revenue model with its own quirks. Unless you’re a charity or a government information site where you have different goals (awareness or engagement say), then your primary goal and drive for the site will be some kind of commercial activity; so, always go for the money.
Hold on – there might be a better way.
Let’s go back and look at our strategy and our larger goals that are helping to define that strategy (we covered them earlier in the series in out What is Website strategy and Goal Setting: The key to successful projects? pieces.) As a company, we need to be careful with our marketing, ensuring that we meet our target market and customers where they are. Pushing for the sale up front may not be the best way to do that. If your product or service is expensive or costly, then the chances of someone getting their credit card out and making a purchase on the first visit to your site is extremely unlikely. If you product is inexpensive, or an impulse purchase, then going for the sale immediately is going to be significantly more effective.
Meeting out prospects where they are means understanding their buying cycle and the psychology of how they buy. They need to be sure that anything they buy from you is going to be right for them and that you can deliver the goods. They need to trust you.
Building Trust As Strategy
Let’s go back and look at our strategy. Get people to the website, tell them what they need to know, some will buy and some won’t. That’s fine. What about the people that don’t buy though. Some people that come to your site will be ready to buy because they trust you. Maybe you know them already, you met at a networking event or are old friends. Maybe they are a referral from a previous client or customer. Whatever the reason, these people have had some exposure to you that has let them know you are reputable. What about the people that have never heard of you though?
Bring Them into the marketing funnel and build trust.
As we’ve discussed, trust is important, particularly if your product is expensive or risky for your client. Building trust is key and it’s where a marketing strategy really comes into its own.
You probably can’t build the trust you need to get someone to invest in your service on a single visit to your website. You’re going to need more than a website, you’re going to need a full engagement plan to take your cold prospects to being ready to buy.
You’ve got one shot at this, they’ll probably only visit your website once and they probably won’t buy what you’re selling. Capture them. Your website’s secondary goal must be to capture the details of the visitor with their permission to market to them at a later date. Permission based marketing is a fantastic way of building trust with a prospective customer, leading them down a path to bemuse them. There is a couple of ways to do it; the most common and effective being email marketing and social media.
What if I don’t need to build trust?
You should still be considering secondary goals and actions for your website. Your visitors were likely expensive to acquire and it would be a shame to lose them completely. Many eCommerce stores invest in email marketing by giving you a small discount on your first purchase if you give them permission to send you emails. Guess what, those emails drive massive sales – sales they would have otherwise missed.
Which is more important?
A good web project takes into account the serious needs of the business it solves. It knows that a website alone won’t solve any problems. It has a solid grasp on the primary goals of the business and how those translate into primary and secondary goals for the website. The primary goals will set you up to make money, the secondary goals will make your primary goals happen.
In our next article, we will be looking at how we get people to engage with our site and how to actually engage people to take action.
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