"Begin with the end in mind." - Stephen Covey
It sounds simple, and it is. If something is going to require any of your time or money, you've gotta get clear on why you're doing it.
Launching a website is no exception. People launch websites for all sorts of reasons. After helping people launch nearly one thousand sites, I've heard many of them. The greatest point of failure on most projects is getting started with the wrong goals, or worse, no goals at all.
If you don't have one single clear goal for your website, the project is likely to lead to disappointment.
"But can't a website accomplish more than one goal?"
Yes, it can and it should. But if you don't prioritize your goals, it's easy to put the emphasis on the wrong things.
Here are some common goals I hear that aren't bad, but they can lead to disappointment if you put them first:
- "We need to set a great impression."
- "We need to get more traffic."
- "We need to rank #1 on Google for a certain keyword."
- "We need a site that's easier to navigate."
Each of these are means to an end, not the end. You should expect that your next site looks great and performs well in search engines. But that's not the stuff that will move the needle by itself.
I've boiled it down to six goals worth pursuing with your website. I suggest picking just ONE of these:
Six goals worth pursuing on your website:
- Get quality leads.
If you sell any product or service that needs quoted or customized, quality leads should be your number one goal. I love working with businesses who need leads because it's measurable, and a website can absolutely play a major role in lead generation. However, you can waste a lot of time calling on junk leads, so focus on quality versus quantity.
- Build a communication hub or content platform
A communication hub or a content platform allows you to connect with a targeted group of people. Communication hubs strengthen relationships and keep a group of people up-to-date and connected. Content platforms help you build lists with frequent content and then monetize it with paid subscribers or advertisers. Use your content platform to communicate with your customers in a language they understand. It's all about using inbound marketing to channel your message, so always remember to create customer-centralized content throughout your site.
- Get online sales
Online sales work for physical products that can be shipped, as well as digital goods, or recurring subscription-based products and services — anything people can buy online. Only make this your number one goal if it's the core product or service you want to sell, and if it's something the customer can easily gather enough information to decide to buy online.
- Get offline sales
Not everything can be sold online. If you run something like an ice cream shop, a hair salon, or a quick lube, you need customers walking through the door to buy. Sites focused on offline sales need to answer some key questions. What are your hours? Where are you located? What is your menu or pricing? And most importantly, why should they come and buy today? Often, a one-page site paired with a strong social media presence will do the trick.
- Generate support for a cause or movement
If you have a cause that people can emotionally connect with, you might want to make this your #1 goal. In this case, it's about attracting a targeted group of people who are prone to support your cause or movement, and get them enlisted to donate, volunteer, join your list, or help you spread the word.
- Get people to register, signup or apply for something
Finally, if you have an event, seminar, webinar or class that helps people learn or experience something valuable, make this your #1 goal. It could be selling tickets, attracting registrations, getting people to apply, even when there might be limited capacity available.
Now, pick one.
So you've learned about six goals worth pursuing on your website. Now here's the challenge. Pick one. Pick only one. Your event registration website might be selling tickets online and also capturing leads for future prospects. However, it's up to you to decide on one of these six goals where it fits best.
If you have a mix of products and services that fit in different categories, you still need to pick one that matters most. Think about which goal will serve your business the best and then let it shape your content, your design, your calls to action, and your overall strategy.
If you can't decide, and have a couple different goals for different products or services, you might need to consider creating more than one website. The key is to pick a goal, and then let that goal drive every decision you make.
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