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How to Maximize Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint – Your Website

Get More Value from Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

These guidelines are designed to help you get the most value from your biggest online asset. Use them to gain a stronger competitive advantage online and off.

Strategy and Process Are Everything

Just like you wouldn’t completely change your business direction without establishing a strategy first, you shouldn’t begin changing your website without first clarifying its purpose and goals.

More than ever, your company needs a website that not only “works,” but works hard in support of your business and marketing objectives; customer experience strategies; brand visibility and loyalty goals; lead generation and content marketing programs; recruitment efforts and more. And none of this can happen without a well-thought-out strategy, as well as a thoughtful and comprehensive process for tackling the project.

It all begins with asking the right questions, and asking these 5 must-ask questions for getting your website right is a good starting point. But this is just the beginning, so if embarking on a full redesign, it pays to understand the website redesign process in-depth before you begin.


Need more help planning your redesign? Download our Ultimate Website Redesign Planning Guide.


Okay, Really, Experience Is Everything

Although numerous factors heavily influence a website’s success (or failure), the primary force shaping everything from structure and functionality to design and content is the user experience.

In fact, experience is where user needs, your company’s brand and its business and marketing goals all come together to create traction.

Brand

With the multitude of possibilities and always-evolving technologies, it can be easy to lose sight of the underlining foundation that guides all marketing decisions: your company’s brand.

Your brand is at the core of creating and delivering an exceptional experience, so its key elements – purpose, position, promise, values and personality – must be evident in the website’s content and design.

Audience

To ensure your website’s experience is useful and relevant to visitors, conduct in-depth customer research and use buyer personas to better understand visitors’ needs/motivators and your company’s role in solving visitors’ most pressing business challenges.

If you haven’t done so already, you may find it helpful to create a map of your customer journey that outlines all stages and brand touchpoints and helps identify what experience and content you need to deliver with every customer interaction.

Having this bird’s eye view of a typical customer relationship – from initial contact through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship – will help you understand the role of the website in your company’s ability to attract, engage and retain its ideal customers.

Better understanding the experience you need to create will help you be more deliberate about your design, content and functionality choices.

User Experience

User Experience (UX) is the utility of your website experience – the sum of actual interactions that visitors have with your website.

As a minimum requirement, everything you put in front of your customers should be functional and useful. It must be easy to understand, quick to learn, and pleasant to interact with. Can I find a contact link on your website? Are there broken links? Is the user interface intuitive?

But a truly rewarding user experience requires a much deeper understanding of visitors and their needs and expectations.

Because today’s customer journey is largely self-directed, it’s easy to lose control of your website’s UX – unless you invest in a great deal of planning.

The foundation of website planning is Information Architecture (IA), or Site Architecture (SA).

Site architecture is the blueprint of your website’s experience, design, content and functionality. It’s the map for meeting your customers’ needs, creating engagement and ensuring meaningful interactions between your company and its audiences.

Thoughtfully planned site architecture ensures that UX bridges the brand and the customer needs, resulting in the website experience that delivers value to the visitors while also creating value for your company.

Make It About Content

Carefully planned information architecture helps outline how the content strategy (the type of content published), content marketing (how that content is delivered/made visible) and context marketing (delivering the right content to the right people at the right time) will play out on the website.

Your website’s content must address your audiences’ needs at different stages of the buying process and proactively answer their questions and objections, deepening the relationship and moving customers along their path.

Equally, content must be engaging and developed with online application in mind. Creating content for online consumption is very different than creating it for print collateral and requires a specialized expertise.

While the specific content you develop will be determined by website goals, audience needs and your company’s marketing objectives, you still need to make sure you consider different content types, topics and desired actions as part of your website content strategy.

Take advantage of different formats that are only available online and consider what type of content is especially effective for engaging your audiences, differentiating your brand, showcasing your unique expertise and providing proof of your company’s ability to solve its customers’ business problems.

Content, including its structure, visual design and placement, has a monumental impact on how your website is experienced – for better or worse.

Technology Is Only a Tool

Technology is just a tool, not the solution. And it’s only valuable when it increases your ability to meet business and marketing objectives and to deliver a better experience to your website visitors.

Your website goals will inform which tools, platforms and technologies could benefit your site – each technology has its core strengths and add-on capabilities. Unless your company has an unlimited MarTech budget, however, you’ll need to decide what your top priorities are – each technology has its core strengths and then add-on capabilities.

Managing your website effectively and in house should be the number one priority, so begin with a good content management system, customized to your needs and workflows.

Depending on your company’s existing technology and processes, you may need to integrate Customer Relationship Management (CRM), HR or accounting systems, as well as email marketing and automation platforms into the website.

If you have more advanced marketing programs that use predictive marketing, hyper-personalization, targeting and more, your technology integration will be more complex.

Create a “wish list” and audit it against your top marketing objectives to prioritize those tech tools that will enable your company to effectively and efficiently execute its marketing plan and measure results.

Convert Data into Insight

Today’s marketing calls for intelligent use of data to make informed decisions. However, in order for data to have value – and lead you to meaningful conclusions – you need to understand what to collect and learn how to interpret information and numbers and apply them to your decision-making process.

Web analytics can tell you a lot about how people are currently using your website, what content attracts the most visitors and what pathways are the most common pathways to action. You can also gain insight on what search terms audiences are using to find you, where audiences are coming from, where they drop off and what they do in between.

Viewed in the context of your website goals, audiences and content strategy, this information not only can help you optimize your website for search engines but also offer better understanding of what channels and content drive most traffic and conversions. When set up and used properly, web analytics can provide a window into your entire digital ecosystem.

But don’t wait to study analytics till it’s time for a major revamp! Data review, analysis and reporting – as well as acting upon what you’ve learned – must be a part of your ongoing marketing routine.

Final Thoughts on Optimizing Your Website for Better Results

There is much to consider when building a more powerful, better performing website – from strategy and planning to numerous steps and details, not to mention the monitoring of the ever-changing business and marketing environment.

Fortunately, there are some approaches that provide a much less overwhelming way to go about continually optimizing your website.

  • Growth-Driven Web Design puts a website in a mode of constant evolution, allowing companies to measure, analyze and improve results continually. It’s much like the lean start-up approach that enables companies to pivot faster. It takes away the pressure of building an end-all-be-all website, making the first iteration a foundation from which you can continuously experiment and expand.
  • The Agile Approach enables marketing teams to react quickly to changing conditions; advocates for an iterative process based on user feedback; and results in faster and more flexible, effective decision making. Learn more about Agile and whether it is the right approach for your team in our Marketer’s Guide to Agile.

While “what works” is constantly evolving, leading companies understand the critical importance of keeping their most valuable digital asset in top working shape and maximizing the value it delivers to their customers while creating value for the company. Get your company’s website up to speed or risk widening the gap between you and your competitors.


Let’s build your company the right website! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about planning, designing or developing a website that delivers what your organization needs. Contact us to start a conversation.

Free Download

Your Ultimate Guide to a Website Redesign

Navigating your company through a website redesign is not an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. For more detailed information on the entire process from planning through post-launch, checklists and tips on avoiding common mistakes, download this e-guide.


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