In part one of this article, “Before you Create a Website,” we made the case that it’s generally not profitable to make a website “just because.”
We distinguished between the top website design motivations that translate into your web presence becoming a future source of revenue or other form of increased success, versus less-inspired drives that basically equate to, “we need a website because we need a website.”
Now, we’ll continue with more of the considerations that will help you prepare to launch a website that will become a real asset to your business. Here, in part two, we’re talking about two more of the top website design priorities.
Define Desirable Actions
For business, creating a website is all about enabling customer actions. Helping customers is the whole reason businesses turn on the lights and open the doors in the morning. That same focus needs to go into opening a new website – because, after all, starting and maintaining a website project causes new costs, just like the lights do.
If you can help your customers take the following actions with your web project, then you’ve got a top website design priority that can lead to success. The list is by no means complete, but you’ll see common threads:
Top Website Design ACTIONS! You Can Help Your Customers…
- Buy your products, especially with less time spent on costly human interaction.
- Contact you or your staff at lower cost, travel time, or wait time.
- Help you categorize, route, and log communications and other interactions.
- Find tangible reasons to choose your product or service as opposed to your competition’s.
- Reduce your costs involved in after-the-sale support and services.
- Learn about your availability, specials, and prices in real time.
As you can see, the common threads are these: if it helps you reduce the costs of business, and helps your customers with conveniences and increased availability when they’re ready to become, or continue to be your customer, then you’ve got the right actions in place to justify creating a website.
Identify Key Incentives
Still, if you don’t offer your visitors compelling incentives, then your purpose, and the actions that enable that purpose, will be relatively weak and ineffectual. The days of “build it and they will come” are long gone – customers expect all of the above as a bare minimum, and have set their sights higher. Offering incentives that your visitors will buzz about is, by far, one of the top website design prep steps that will lead to genuine return on investment. For example:
- Do orders placed online save you money? Find ways to pass that savings back to the customer. Even if you pass the full cost savings back to the customer, you’ll still save time – which is a major cost for any business.
- If you’ve been sending out paper coupons, consider phasing those out in favor of creating a coupon page on your website.
- Hire a programmer to create a system that tracks loyalty points, so that you can offer rewards to loyal customers. Show your customers the points they’ve earned, and periodically email them an updated report enticing them to earn more points in order to become eligible for those rewards.
Any one of those incentives can be rolled into your website at relatively low cost, and will become a major factor in customer loyalty.Now that’s a top website design priority. All this, plus the tracking, publishing, and distribution costs of doing these things online, can be done in ways that incur negligible costs over time.