Allow me to introduce your audience…
Do me a quick favour, indulge me and close your eyes. Wait, not yet, I need to explain what I’d like you to do first. When you close your eyes, I want you to take a moment to picture someone visiting your website. Pay close attention to who they are.
Welcome back. If I was a betting man, I’d guess that the person you pictured is a prospect for your business. They might have found your website on Google if your SEO or pay-per-click game is strong, or they heard about you at a networking event or social media, perhaps they saw an advert in the local business press and are checking you out. Was I close?
You’re not alone if you think of prospects first when picturing your audience. They are after all the most important visitors, aren’t they?
Websites sell businesses, it’s a fact. And as a result, most are written and structured like sales brochures. I don’t think that’s wrong, but by doing this there’s a danger you might fail to connect with or engage the other people visiting your website. People who may be even more important to the growth and future success of your business than prospects!
So, who would that be?
Staff, friends and family
Yes, your employees look at your website. Of course they do. Are they proud of it, and by association your company? Do they share the link with friends and family to say “look where I work.” In some ways your team are your biggest advocates and your harshest critics. Is your website updated often enough to show a business ‘going places’, and is the content an accurate and honest representation of what you deliver to your clients?
Is your website well positioned to attract talent to your business? This goes far beyond a ‘careers’ page and job listings. When making a judgement about applying to join a company, a thorough exploration of their website will tell a candidate a great deal, both by what is said and what’s unsaid. Websites reflect culture and culture is a key part of any career decision.
You’ve likely got hundreds of LinkedIn connections. Business is all about who you know, so we all have a web of ex-colleagues, associates, mentors and friends who take an active interest in our successes (and sometimes failures). How often have you checked the website of someone you used to work with or people you look up to in your peer group? Are you a trailblazer, leading the way or are you following the crowd?
I’m sure the idea of accommodating visitors from your competitors is low on anyone’s agenda. In fact most of us would gladly block our competition, allowing us to safely shout from the rooftops about client successes or talented staff without fear of poaching or giving away too much information. That’s not the world we live in however, so consideration must be made to how you position your company when the competition is watching. Again, do you focus solely on your own game plan or are you led by the approach of others?
Potential investors / partners
Perhaps one of the most critical groups from the perspective of a business owner. We all ‘sell’ our businesses daily, but communicating a clear strategy and direction coupled with a distinctive brand can help your business stand out. Does your website reflect your wider aspirations and speak to an audience more interested in your future and the business you’re building than the product you’re selling?
Forget prospects for a minute and consider your existing customers visiting your website. They may be looking for a contact number or to browse your latest offerings, but do they see a dynamic, successful business and a brand they can ‘buy into’. Is your site’s message authentic and inline with their expectations and experiences? Will they want to do more business with you as a result of viewing your site, or less?
A truly great website caters to all its different audiences, so don’t lose sight of the bigger picture as you pursue leads. If you’d like to discuss your website or marketing strategy, give us a call, we’d love the opportunity to discuss where your business is heading.