When you’ve put so much effort into developing a great product or service and you settle on a determined commitment to embrace best practices for Internet Marketing, you don’t want to find yourself many months down the road disappointed with poor sales. Although the Internet has revolutionized communications for most industries, one truth has never changed which is that many people have lived without many companies until now…offline or online.
All too often, companies get a nice looking website up and running and take a lot of pride in how clever the design, imagery, SEO or writing is. In fairness and similar to birthing your own children, loving your own ideas is typical for anyone who has been involved contributing to a creation. However, while frequent employee and stakeholder inputs are indeed vital, it can also produce a false sense of security. If businesses could succeed by simply designing a product or website and waiting for it to sell itself, then MANY more companies would be successful.
Having a website that is market-ready involves a lot of effort. Faced with tight marketing communications budgets, the need to execute multiple projects in parallel, and the specialized skills best practice Internet Marketing demands, many companies are looking for a cost-effective way to outsource. The key here is to develop the site to be a business development engine that not only pays for itself, but drives revenue performance.
As you venture out to develop or evolve your website and perhaps more critical to success, your web presence or digital footprint, the first thing to remember is that it is important to construct it from a marketing centered approach. Typically, web site developers get paid to just “build” your web site. Unfortunately, they do not know or view things from a marketing perspective. Simply, marketing is the ability to articulate a sales argument. So before you get concerned over branding, look and feel, function, or search engine optimization, you need to get focused on the web development project from the perspectives of (a) will this compel the highest potential of the right people to visit and hear the right message, and (b) will the site help the company make money?
Yes, sales and making money. Although it is regularly forgotten, marketing professionals have a rule “don’t fall in love with your own creations”. Why? What matters is that it works and produces business results. This leads me to a bigger subject, one that is surely frustrating to every business person, the sluggish economy and company after company getting their lunch taken by competition both foreign and domestic. So, let’s take a moment to regroup by reminding ourselves that we are in business and that-
Business strategy is not revenue, advertising is not revenue, PR is not revenue, strategic alliance is not revenue—only Revenue is revenue.
In addition to thinking from a marketing-centric position, getting and ‘keeping’ your website market-ready includes multiple layers of development that need to be done in a desired execution sequence. This may include and is not limited to the phased layering in of architectures for branding, information, SEO, lead generation and capture, sales funnel/conversion, service oriented, interactive community, online store/e-commerce, CRM integration, and overarching analytics required for ongoing improvements.
In reality, there is a gap between goals and actual results. In the end, true results vary depending on the quality of execution. In their book ‘Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done’: L. Bossidy & Ram Charan capture the essence of this gap and explain:
“The fact is that with execution, there is a significant gap between what the company’s leaders want to achieve and the ability of their people to carry it out. The real challenge is being able to implement plans and that what most people miss today is that intellectual challenge also includes the rigorous and tenacious work of proving ideas”.
Stay with me as over the course of the next several weeks, we drill down and examine the role of each of of these architectural layers and discuss how to execute a winning website strategy.