Setting Successful Website Goals & Objectives
When planning a new website, it’s understandable that you might want to jump ahead to the “fun stuff” and brainstorm ideas for advanced features. You might find yourself looking at other websites for ideas about digital bells and whistles you want to add. But features and graphics should not be your starting point—you should first list your goals and objectives for the site.
While increased website sales or traffic may seem to be obvious marketing goals, you’ll quickly find they’re meaningless if you don’t assess the objectives necessary to achieve the results you want.
A website is not a Field of Dreams like in the famous movie: you can’t just “build it and they’ll come.”
A successful site requires an effective, sustained marketing strategy beyond presenting a collection of products, services, images, videos or other files. That means your website design should be focused on specific goals, along with measurable objectives to attain them.
Your marketing goals will differ depending on the nature of the work you do. For example, a primary goal for a business offering professional services to other companies might be to generate more leads. Conversely, an art or photography site might focus on attractively showcasing new work or selling it online.
Where to Start
Regardless of your business, start by listing specific website goals and corresponding objectives that fit your overall marketing strategy and capabilities. Examples might include:
Goal: Increase sales.
Objectives: Search engine optimization, well-organized content, user-friendly site, effective calls to action, increase conversion rate.
Goal: Becoming an authoritative resource.
Objectives: Providing quality content on your website, regularly adding new information, establishing trust, marketing your site on other websites and social media.
Goal: Improve interaction with existing and potential customers.
Objectives: E-mail marketing lists, online support (live chat), webinars, and content designed to give your visitor a reason to come back.
Goal: Build your brand.
Objectives: Active social media program, promotions, reputation management.
The objectives shown above are examples; you could write completely different objectives to achieve the same goals.
Nor are they exclusive. For instance, while we mentioned “establishing trust” under “Becoming an authoritative source,” establishing trust is also a key issue to increasing sales.
The Overlooked Goal
In developing your website goals, it’s vital to consider your ideal visitor. Clients often fall back on “our buyers are diverse,” but a website aimed at everyone may attract no one.
Your content needs to instantly appeal to your ideal visitors, convince them you are worthy of their time, and make it easy for them to take the next step.
For example, if you sell highly technical products to engineers, artsy slide shows or animations are not likely to succeed. The engineer will be more interested a bullet list of key features, educational content to help solve a problem, downloadable specifications or dimensional drawings, or an easy way to request a quote.
Your list of goals and objectives also need to match your organization’s capabilities. It’s easy to say “we need to be on Instagram,” but do you have the resources and staff to spend several hours a week on a creative, sustained social media campaign that engages followers?
If the answer is no, consider other options such as a press release program, an opt-in email news list, a series white papers, a regular newsletter, or similar that better suit your ability to produce compelling content.
Part of your planning should consider how to measure the success of your new website. Converting a first-time visitor into a customer is rare. You’ll need to establish a few objectives to measure whether or not your new strategies are successful, and start adjusting if they fall short.
You should benchmark where you’re starting from. Then, once you implement your new site, measure the changes.
An attractive website is not enough to achieve your marketing goals. While your web designer can help you create a website that works, you need to start by listing the strategic goals and objectives for your site.
By establishing a realistic list of goals and measurable objectives, as well as always keeping your ideal visitor in mind, you’ll greatly increase your chances of online success.
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