5 Secrets to help you get the most out of your business website
Most business owners don’t really know what they have got with their websites. Most times creating a business website seems like fulfilling some sort of marketing obligation. A tick-mark on a checklist. However, there are savvy business owners who fully understand the potential of a good business website and they use it to the maximum.
These business owners who leverage their net presence share a few ideas which are not common knowledge. Some have acquired through trial and error and some have found advisors they have listened to. For your benefit here they are below. Use them wisely.
1. It’s not about the web designers, it’s about you.
Every single business owner who uses his/her website effectively knows this truth. It’s not about who your web designers are or how good their skills are. It’s about the business owner driving the website through his/her own steam. This is especially true in India where web designers have many clients and are stretched for resources. If you are going to wait for your web designers to come to you with good innovative ideas then you are going to be waiting a long time.
Instead do your homework. Make a list of ideas which can be implemented and take it to the web designer. My best clients are forever after us to implement one new idea after another. They push us and they use the website to impact their business.
2. It’s not about design, it’s about the customers.
Business owners spend hours in conference with their web designers trying to come up with the perfect design. Ultimately too much energy on design could end up with an expensive show piece rather than an effective tool for business.
When you start with the customer’s needs and then adapt your design accordingly, you get the right amount of flash versus functionality. It does not matter how well designed your website is, unless it’s serving your customers or generating sales that matter.
3. Tie your website into your business through many threads.
Most business owners keep their websites at arm’s length from their core business. That’s wasted potential. Find threads to tie the website more closely with the business. Look for opportunities where the website can impact day to day business. Involve all the departments, HR, Sales, Marketing, Research etc. Here are a few connections
- HR - > To display positions vacant and get CVs
- Sales -> To put up special offers and value propositions, display new products.
- Marketing -> To highlight the brand value through company history, human interest, quality etc.
- R&D -> Publish whitepapers & reports to highlight your company’s expertise and authority.
- Investors -> Company information and reports.
When you have made your website an indispensable cog in your business machinery, then, mission accomplished.
4. Enroll your people into the website.
Believe it or not, I have come across organizations whose employees do not even know that there is a company website. Even if they are aware, they do not know the address. Another wasted opportunity. This point ties in with my earlier point about multiple threads.
You need to get your people invested in the website either through functionality or through some incentive system. Allow people to post views and opinions on a section of the site. Use it to highlight good employees. Run contests for employees online or offer then special deals in partnership with some retailer. The idea is the more the employees use the website the more likely it is going to be used for business as well.
5. It’s an orchestra not a solo performance.
Your website must form the centre piece of your online marketing efforts but you need to combine it with various tools to make it successful. These additional tools and initiatives complement and support the website’s objectives and add valuable functionality to the business.
Some examples of additional items you can use with your website are
- A blog to capture the thought processes and experiences of the business is a valuable add-on.
- An online support ticketing system can take customer support to a new level through the website.
- A live chat plugin on the site gives you access to customers/visitors on your site in real time.
- Social media plugin gives you that extra dimension to staying in touch with people.
- Regular newsletters and updates sent from the website keeps you in the mind of customers
- Any custom applications that support HR, Sales, Marketing etc. piped through the website.
In conclusion, the above 5 secrets are require a high level of involvement from the business owner. No website can be made successful without hands on involvement from every level of the organization. This requires a change in the culture and thinking of the business. No easy task but on that can be very rewarding for the business in the long term.