As a web designer, you can imagine how often I get requests to build a new site for a customer.
That is all well and good–it is what I do, after all! The problem is that most of the time, the customer doesn’t need a new website. Or, they may indeed-but they have no idea why.
The request for a new website is usually motivated by one of a few things:
- The business needs more customers, and the potential client feels that a new website will accomplish this.
- The business owner simply hates the look of the old website.
- Some family member or employee has made comments to the business owner that they need a new website.
While a shiny new website might check a few boxes, give the client something to write off their taxes, or stroke the ego of a self-absorbed business owner, it is not a Golden Ticket.
A new website is useless if there are no customers visiting it.
[bctt tweet=”A new website is useless if there are no customers visiting it.” username=”northmacsvc”]
Briefly, here are three reasons why a pretty new website won’t solve the problems in your business:
Reason #1: You haven’t defined any goals.
If you have not made an effort to sit down, identify your business goals, and talk with a professional about how your website will accomplish them, you have no chance of seeing success with your new website.
In order for your new website to be effective, there are some key questions about your business that need to be answered.
Remember, for most businesses in 2017, a website should be more than just an online brochure.
Most businesses, in one way or another, should be able to directly link their website with their sales numbers. There are many ways to accomplish this, depending on what type of business you are in.
You need to answer at least the following questions about your business when getting ready to request proposals for a new site:
- What is my unique selling proposition?
- What are my business goals for the upcoming year?
- How much website traffic do I currently have, and how much do I need?
- What would success look like for my website project?
- What areas does my business need to grow in? Can the new website help with that?
If you answer those questions at a bare minimum, you will be more informed than 90% of other small business owners.
Once you have clearly defined those goals, you now have a clear understanding of what your website needs to actually accomplish.
You will spend a lot of money on your website over the lifetime of your business. At no point should it just be a pretty brochure that no one ever visits.
Put it to work for your business.
Reason #2: You haven’t targeted your customer.
This is another all too common mistake small business owners make.
How in the world can you optimize your website to sell your product or service if it is not actively targeting your ideal customer?
A practical example I can give you is my own website.
From the time you enter, I am attempting to make it very clear that my audience is small business owners.
I try to:
- Address their problems.
- Offer my solutions.
- Write blog posts that will help them.
- Price competitively in their market.
If you come to my website and have to wonder about who my customer is, I have failed miserably.
You might say, “My customer is everyone.” That sounds pretty good.
But it isn’t true.
No small business can actively afford to market and sell to everyone. Even if your ideal customer changes throughout the year based on seasonality or other factors, that just means your marketing has to shift.
(Shameless plug: Our managed website plans allow you the flexibility to change your website throughout the year as your marketing needs change, without the need for additional finances, contracts, etc.)
Identifying your customer is just the first step.
Once you know who they are, you can begin putting together a campaign that will allow you to talk directly to them in your marketing.
Consistency is key.
Your social media accounts, website, email communications, print ads, and all other forms of marketing should be directed towards your ideal customer.
Some of the language may change across mediums, but ultimately, you need to bring the same customer in the door.
If all goes well, your customer has lots of friends in their circle just like them, and they will draw and attract them to your product as well.
Reason #3: You haven’t contracted the right consultant.
I’m going to be honest here: website designers are literally a dime a dozen.
There are millions of them floating around on the internet, and in most web design circles, it is a race to the bottom.
Don’t misunderstand me–talent definitely has a lot to do with getting a nice website.
But ultimately, you need to work with the designer who knows how to take your business goals and make them a reality. The “pretty website” should be nothing more than a side effect.
So the questions remains, how does one know if they have chosen the right web design consultant?
Here are a few key signs:
- If the first question they ask has to do with what colors you like, they are not your consultant.
- If they are more concerned with financial dealings than with your business objectives–not your consultant.
- If they allow anything other than advancing your business growth to direct the conversation, not your consultant.
Look–a few years ago, a website designer like the one I just described might have been okay. In the early days, the web was nothing more than just a digital brochure–a place where you could make your online “home.”
But now, there is so much more you can do. Your website now has the potential to be the greatest tool in your business. Many businesses have left brick and mortar and went solely online.
When you are looking to hire somebody for a new site, make sure they have your best interests at heart. Make sure they journey along with you to discover the needs of your target customer. Make sure they help you direct your marketing efforts toward the growth of your business.
Will you pay more for a consultant that offers that type of value? Probably.
But, that is why you need to shift your focus in the first place. Hiring a web consultant should be an investment, not an expense. If it feels like an expense, you probably have not made the right hire.
[bctt tweet=”Your website has the potential to be the greatest tool in your business.” username=”northmacsvc”]
Ultimately, you are in the driver’s seat here.
Don’t settle for less than what your business deserves.