Get Ready! Foundation
I mentioned in the Preface that I’ve seen a lot of business missteps that could have been easily avoided. This section on Foundation is meant to prevent some of those costly issues with some goal setting, decision-making, creation and set-up of assets on and off web platforms to achieve those goals.
A great foundation smoothly accommodates the activities you want your web visitors to perform, giving them a great experience, while delivering your revenue and other goals. Deciding who your target groups are, what actions you want them to take and where you want those actions to take place is key. Before building out those various web platforms, outline your consumer’s process and your infrastructure to attract, nurture, close and sell again. Choose and prioritize the platforms where transactions will occur, such as web site, blog, Facebook page, etc.
By going through a company discovery process, you’ll most likely identify other goals that you haven’t considered yet. You might develop your Mission, Vision and Values statement, name a product line or discover another target audience. Perhaps you haven’t thought about your end game.
If you intend to sell your company at some future point, realizing that goal now will define many upcoming decisions from company set-up, procedures and vendors to products and services. Plans to seek venture capital funding will also drive activities and methods you haven’t thought of yet. A self-assessment exercise is included at the end of Chapter 1.
By going through a customer lifecycle process, you’ll determine various touchpoints. Today’s sales process isn’t just point and click to buy followed by shipping. It includes consideration for the product research that consumers do, lead acquisition, nurturing and sales conversion. Customer service starts on the web site, by providing complete product and service information with FAQs. Alerts announce when products get shipped and credit cards are charged. Product boxes include a catalog or flyers to help start the next purchase cycle. Emailings ask for reviews and encourage interaction. Mapping out every step helps to create a total list of needs and activities.
Foundation: Base camp
Once you have determined your goals and diagrammed your customer experience, your next decision is to choose the place(s) that you want actions to take place. That place or combination of places becomes the base camp and focal point of your creative efforts. Don’t get lost in lazy messaging. Make it purposeful. With each creative and campaign, always remember your goals to drive your audience to your base camp.
For ecommerce-only businesses, the focus may be to drive traffic to a main site; those without a site may choose transactions to take place at Facebook or elsewhere. Just choose two initially to concentrate early efforts and gain some traction.
Retail businesses obviously want to attract customer visits to stores, restaurants, entertainment and service establishments. Web traffic is important to retailers whose prospects and clients seek office hours, product research and purchases and event details.
The important decision is to create a strategy that continually attracts traffic to the base camp group of landing pages, web and social sites.
Good planning saves a world of hurt. Great planning smoothes the path for customers to complete the desired actions in all of the right places.