The evidence is clear. Your audience conducts research online to self-educate and formulate purchasing decisions — and when buyers contemplate a purchase, they are likely to visit your website. It’s the inflection point for business in today’s online world. The best web design strategy must connect with your target audience at this point of need. Foregoing a website investment puts your business at risk.
But effective websites come in all shapes and sizes. They’re built with varying budgets and resources. Regardless of your position, there are essentially four alternatives to build from.
The Best Web Design Strategy Options
When designing a website, business goals and customer needs must come into play. But defining a web strategy that fits your business hinges on three things:
- Perceived need
Where do you fall in each category?
The Minimalist Web Strategy
Perceived Need = Low
Commitment = Low
Investment = Low
Even with a solid base of customers, you need new business to keep up. You lose customers through attrition over time. Customers change their direction and leave you with holes in the top line. You have to grow to keep up.
If attrition is low, if you don’t need to aggressively market your business to fill those holes, or if you are concerned with current customers and the prospects they may refer to you, the fact remains the same: Your website is influential. Forty-eight percent of people cited a website’s design as the No. 1 factor in deciding the credibility of the business. A new referral or past customer that leaves your website unimpressed is a missed opportunity.
But the minimalist web strategy can satisfy this position. Your investment in time and budget remains low, but you can create an engaging site that answers the questions this target audience has, including:
- A clear sense of what you offer — Make it a priority to provide at least general information about your products and services on your homepage, and link to more specific details on product pages.
- Contact information — A phone number, street address and images go a long way toward building credibility.
- Ease of use and navigation — If your audience can’t find the information, they won’t know about the services you offer.
- Clear guidance on your processes — Let customers know important things step-by-step, such as how to order, shipping details and other common FAQs.
Attract Prospects Web Strategy
Perceived Need = Medium
Commitment = Medium
Investment = Low
Today, buyers self-educate online. Long before conversations with prospective suppliers, they are exploring options and narrowing the field. Without meaningful website content, you’ll miss out on potential opportunities.
Engaging more prospects requires you to move up a rung on the commitment and investment ladder. Connecting with prospects requires a content investment, which includes understanding the type of topics prospects look for and the places they go to look for them. Use engaging content to increase the value of your effectively designed website.
To captivate prospects:
- Develop buyer personas — Understanding the needs of your target audience allows you to develop content they are more likely to consume.
- Add fresh content — Building out product information, a regular blog post, fact sheets, white papers, videos and more will not only help educate prospects that visit your site, it will also encourage them to come back again.
- Distribute your content — Buyers don’t just look for information on your website; they access blogs, social media, forums, newsletters and more. Your buyer personas should uncover the best channels. Make sure your content goes there.
The Lead Generation Web Strategy
Perceived Need = Medium
Commitment = Medium
Investment = Medium
From trade shows, events, inquiries from your website or even referrals, leads are rarely ready to place an order the first day they visit. Structuring your site to engage prospects allows you to increase your website ROI and increase sales. Building a website designed to target each opportunity cultivates interested prospects and allows you to close more deals.
Developing your website as a lead generation tool builds on the content investment. Buyers must perceive value in your offering before they fill out a form with their contact information. Think about content you value: white papers that target a pain point, webinars that educate you on a new process, a compelling blog or newsletter — this type of content will encourage some prospects to exchange their contact information for your materials.
When you interact through content, you have the opportunity to use your website and other online channels to build relationships, generate more leads and impact revenue.
Elevating your website to generate leads effectively requires:
- Building valuable content — Content is the cornerstone of effective lead generation.
- Developing compelling reasons for users to provide their contact information — For your audience to provide you with valuable information (their contact information), you must first provide them value.
- Developing a nurturing campaign — Purchasing decisions take time. Providing valuable information during that process helps build relationships, and it improves the odds that the prospect will do business with you.
- Considering marketing automation — Marketing automation technology provides insights that allow you to interact with prospects in ways that are impossible to do manually. Marketing automation can further elevate the success of lead generation programs.
Generate Sales Online Web Strategy
Perceived Need = High
Commitment = High
Investment = High
If your capabilities include stock products or items that can be customized by changing just a few variables, then the best web design strategy may include e-commerce. With numerous cost-effective options, it’s a capability worth considering.
Even if you aren’t ready to make that leap today, defining your needs up front will decrease costs and improve the ease of a future integration.
There are many options to consider, including:
Choosing the right tool depends on a number of factors, including the type and amount of products, hosting preferences, payment methods, the need to integrate into internal systems and cost.
The Best Web Design Strategy?
Ultimately, the best web design strategy is called “Get Started!” Online interactions continue to accelerate. Prospects will increasingly use your website as a launching pad to connect with your company.
As Seth Godin said, the Grand Canyon wasn’t formed by an earthquake. Instead, it took billions of years of erosion. Similarly, developing an effective website takes time (far less than billions of years). However, defining the best web design strategy and taking daily steps to execute the plan connects you to your audience and impacts revenue.