To create specific goals and objectives for the Web, you need a clear understanding of:
- The role your web presence can play in your business model
- Who you want to come to your website
- What you want them to do while there
Before you invest in the Web, you should have a clear understanding of what you are trying to do. I don’t mean in terms of understanding the Web and its possibilities (that comes next). I mean in terms of your own business or practice. What are your overall goals and objectives?
How do you want to grow?
- By more and more clients and customers
- By shifting the demographic of clients and customers
- By focusing on preferred services
- By achieving more free time
The overall goal or strategy informs your micro-strategies. And investing in the Web takes a micro-strategy.
I suggest you start here: How can the Web be used to have the most positive and significant affect on me as possible? I suggest that you consider this question very seriously–seek consulting on it. Once you feel that you have an understanding of the answer, then I suggest moving into creating the strategy, then action plan (then implementation and so on).
How do you bring your strategy to bear on your website?
Remember that the only reason you need a website is because it is going to improve your situation in some way. It’s important to understand how the site is supposed to benefit you. This sounds elementary, but you may be surprised at how many Web projects become so focused on the deliverable itself, that the purpose of investing in its creation, or the reason behind the whole project, is lost.
For example, a major goal of your website may be to improve your professional positioning over time. If so, how? Understanding this “how” will guide decisions down to which tools to choose and the tone of your copy.
Let’s say you are trying to change your professional positioning to appeal to a younger generation, then video taping yourself at your next professional seminar and putting the video on YouTube may be a great use of your money. If you are, instead, focused on being a textual resource for those who want to read serious materials about your industry, then your money could be better spent on a downloadable whitepaper (with large font).
So, it’s not only about you and the website. It’s really mostly about the visitor. Who’s going to come? What are they hunting? Are they the right people to come? Who is the right person? And finally, what do you want them to do while they are there?
What is a conversion?
A conversion is when a visitor on your site does some action that has been predefined as success. For example, in E-commerce the conversion, of course, is the sale (among others). But in service businesses, a conversion is not as easy to define and not as easy to track. Yet, doing both is crucial.
A common conversion is for the visitor to contact the provider. But lead generation is not always, not even most commonly, the goal of a service business’s or professional practice’s website. Market presence or professional positioning may be the more specific objectives. These may contribute more meaningfully to your preferred manner of growth.
Also, it’s difficult to really track a site’s contribution to contact leads for a service provider anyway. You can track how many people use some online tool… how many fill out a form, how many email with a certain address. But are you considering how many call? Or how many approached you? Often your website is not the actual tool they use to contact you, but it still plays a role in the fact that they did contact you. This is more difficult to measure than how many times was a form submit button clicked over the past month?
Tracking and Analytics are topics I discuss later in this book, but for now I focus on the idea that you need something specific to attempt to track. You need to know what you are trying to encourage people to do… specifically.