By working with all sorts of businesses in different industries, we had the privilege of finding out which businesses have thrived using their website as a business tool, and most importantly why they’ve succeeded in doing so. Although there are other major contributing factors to success for each case, we have found 3 common areas that can be classified as key elements for an effective website strategy.
The 3 key elements are:
- Due Diligence & Research
- A Business Optimised Website
- An Effective Website Marketing Plan
It is important to note that many might think that ‘website strategy’ has the same meaning as ‘online marketing strategy’ or ‘internet strategy’. When the term is used here, it gives a much broader meaning than that of the usual, due to the simple fact that websites are used more than just for online marketing purposes. Therefore, it makes sense to refer a website strategy as a strategy to utilise websites to bring business benefits.
Much of the contents of this 3 part post will be brief and succinct, as the goal is to give an overall guide on how you can use your website wisely for your business. The remaining part of this post will focus on the first key element, which is Due Diligence and Research.
Step 1. Define Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience is one of the building blocks of a great website strategy. There are many ways to acquire this information and here are some basic methods:
a) Existing customer data – For existing businesses, customer records, sales reports, customer complaints and other types of business data lets you find out who, where, when and how your customers buy from you.
b) Surveys – Conduct online and offline surveys to find out what your customers think about your product, service and overall company.
c) Focus groups – List out any assumptions you have made and test them in focus groups by asking the right questions. You may discover information that’s least expected but extremely useful when refining your strategy.
d) Secondary research – Reports from marketing and research agencies can give you information on market trends, industry statistics, competitor details and etc.
e) Online Sources – Search Engines, forums, industry and social websites can provide a wealth of useful information.
Based on your research, group your customers according to common factors such as age, location, gender, income level, interests, behaviour, lifestyle and other factors relevant to your product and service.
Step 2. Research Your Competitors
Your research is not complete without analysing your competitors in detail. List out your main competitors and acquire product, financial, marketing and any business information that will aid you in making important decisions.
Apart from the methods in step 2, competitor details can be found on their websites and marketing materials, and in publishing papers such as newspapers and trade magazines. By attending industry events, you can speak to important key players in the sector, in which you’ll be able to gain invaluable tips and advice.
Once you have gathered enough competitor information, you should be able to tell which competitor to watch out for and which successful ones you should emulate. Keep a close eye on those companies, as any actions by them should be picked up and analysed carefully.
Step 3. Review Your Business Strategy
Based on your research, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who is your target market?
- How, where and when do they engage with your product or service?
- Why would customers choose you instead of your competitors?
There are other questions that need to be addressed, but these are the important ones that should be answered as detail as possible.
Once you have enough information in hand, you’re ready to create an effective website strategy. In the subsequent posts, you’ll find out how to:
- Create a Business Optimised Website
- Design an Effective Website Marketing Plan