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There is one mistake that many small businesses make when building a website for their company. They are focussed entirely on the goals of the business, and little or no thought has been made on what goals the customer may actually have when visiting their website. If you want to build a successful relationship with the customer online you need to satisfy their needs also, and not just your own. A good way to look at it is like a marriage between the two.
Business success can mean a number of different things depending on what line of business you are in. Here are some examples of business goals:
- Convert visitors into customers
- Increase your existing customer retention rate
- Deepen the relationship with your customers
- Improve the productivity inside your company
These business goals correspond to various levels of depth of your relationship with the customer. It is relatively easy to focus on just one of the goals, for example converting your visitors into customers, but you need to realise that your website can be a great tool to help deepen the relationships with your customers. For example you if you regularly update your website with content that is interesting for your customers, they will have a reason to visit your website more often. You could even let them sign up to a regular email newsletter on your site.
You may also be able to increase the productivity in your company through your website. For example, if you provide a list of frequently asked questions and answers, you can save costs on personal support phone calls and emails.
The people visiting your website will also have varying goals, depending on the depth of their relationship with your business. They could be simply looking for information on a particular product without a direct intention of purchasing, or perhaps they have made the decision to make use of your products/services etc. Maybe it is a journalist from the press who is writing an article on a subject relevant to your website, who may want to contact you.
As you can see from the examples above, each of these three people need to see different information on your website, and all of them have a potential to have a positive effect on your business, whether it be through a direct sale or public relations.
No matter what kind of customer is on your website, they do at least share some similar goals on a more general level that you need to make sure you address:
- They want an easy to learn experience
- They want it to be easy to find, buy or otherwise solve their needs
- They need access to help if they need it.
If you take some time and make a list of your customer goals and your business goals, you will have a great basis to decide what kind of content and features will be useful in your website. The two go hand in hand, because the satisfaction of customer goals leads to the satisfaction of your business goals. Take the example with the frequently asked questions – not only does your business benefit because you save costs, but your customers are also much happier because they can quickly find a solution to their problem.
Once you have made a list of all your business and customer goals, you can start on the doing research (step 2).