A website is the linchpin of any successful digital marketing strategy. It is home base – your online office. In fact, I would argue your website should be an extension of the experience of visiting your office. If your office is open, warm and people-focused, your website should have pictures of people. If your company is highly technical, let your website reflect your dedication to innovation.
The same people who visit your office are also likely to visit your website:
Many modern marketers talk about mapping out the customer journey, which begins by developing your ideal client avatars. This is a worthwhile exercise that will help you develop content that resonates deeply with your target audience.
However, for developing your website, I want you to pivot this exercise to focus on who is most likely to visit your website. You probably know that the CFO is a key ERP decision maker, but it’s doubtful that person is doing the initial research in seeking out ERP solutions and solution providers.
Building a website visitor avatar is similar to the ideal client avatar. For this exercise, I want you to create a spreadsheet. In the column headers, list each type of website visitor. In the rows you want to note:
1. Demographics such as age, income and gender. Note that these are generalizations, and not meant to be discriminatory in any way. Knowing demographic information not only helps you with advertising decisions, but also helps you to personalize your message. Pick one of your clients who is close to the typical demographic you see. I’ll often add a made-up picture and name like Carla the Controller or Sid the Sales Guy.
2. Psychographics that inform you of their sensibilities and values. Technophile or technophobe; status-influenced or price-sensitive; golfer or bowler; travelling frequently or chained to the office; the more you know, the better you can target your message.
3. Their typical day. You want to know whether solution is core to their success or just one of a million things happening. How can your company be helpful in making their typical day go more smoothly?
4. The impact of the status quo. How are they impacted by leaving the situation as-is?
5. Their risk. What do they risk or gain by working with you?
6. Their priorities. What do they value most about what you offer? Do they want a industry specialist – or a low price?
7. Their pet peeves. You likely hear your clients’ pet peeves all the time. So-and-so takes too long to get back to me. I wish pricing was more straight-forward. Capture this information.
8. Their questions. Your website should answer their most commonly asked questions before the questions are even asked.
9. How you can add value. Write down ideas related to what you do where you could help them be more successful. For example, you may publish payroll updates or popular hashtags in an industry you serve.
10. Your reasonable first step. Determine where you want to lead your visitor. Do you want them to take a quiz, watch a video, fill out an application? Make a clear path for your website visitors to engage.
From this information, we can create a meaningful positive first impression of your company.
In an office environment, you want your visitors to feel welcome and project an image of credibility. The same is true for your website visitors. Most real-life brick-and-mortar offices have:
In many ways, the in-person experience translates to the online experience.
OFFICE: Signs on and around the building.
WEBSITE: Your company logo should be prominent on every page, usually in the upper left corner, but can also be top-middle of the page. There should be no question whether your visitor is in the right location. Just as you have names on office doors and restrooms, website navigation should be clear and contact information prominently located on the page.
OFFICE: A receptionist who greets visitors.
WEBSITE: A large hero image or video at the top of your home page is a great way to welcome people in and guide them to the right areas of your website. As more-and-more people have begun shunning phone calls of any sort, many websites today are turning to live-chat as an inexpensive way to help visitors with both sales and support.
OFFICE: A comfortable waiting area.
WEBSITE: Your home page should be warm, welcoming and helpful in getting people to the right destination.
OFFICE: Office décor – pictures and plants.
WEBSITE: Just as dead, dusty plants detract from your office vibe, extraneous words and overused stock photos detract from your website visitors’ experience. Having a beautiful, modern website is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to build credibility for your business. Take pictures of your office and people if you can. If that’s out of budget or undesirable, at least seek out more realistic stock photos. Create written and video content that adds value. Take away anything that doesn’t.
OFFICE: Office spaces for employees to work and meet.
WEBSITE: Create separate navigation items and website sections devoted to each visitor persona. Have recruiting manage the careers page. Create an online forum or blog where consultants and customers can interact. Some companies go as far as creating separate websites for separate offerings. Microsoft does this. You may find XBox and PowerBI on the Microsoft main site, but each of their main offerings also has its own separate site. If you are trying to reach completely separate audiences with little overlap, it makes sense to create multiple sites. Otherwise, look for opportunities to pull your website visitors into their own immersive area of your website.
OFFICE: A conference room.
WEBSITE: Webinars, videos and landing pages to register for live events are a great way to create that high-touch experience to help customers solve problems and to further the sales process.
A first impression is a lasting impression. Making your website visitors feel welcome online will improve the chances of getting in-person meetings. Just be sure to dust off and straighten up before your visitors arrive.
Through marketing training, consulting and copywriting, I help companies find their focus and harness their authentic power to create an extraordinary impact.