When I’m talking to a client about website design, I find that it’s best to take a step back to learn more about the company’s business goals so that we make sure the new website will do everything a website can do to drive success related to those goals. Usually it takes more than a website alone to drive business success, so we’ll complement that with an interactive marketing program using search, social, email and other channels.
I’ve observed a broad spectrum of what websites do for businesses, from bad to good:
Bad – At its worst your website is working against you. You’re out there beating the streets to get a new deal, everything goes perfectly with a new prospect and it’s a good match on both sides. You get to a strong “maybe” or even a verbal “yes.” You’re about to pop the champagne.
And then they look at your website…
…the one your intern created eight years ago and nobody in the office remembers how to update. It doesn’t come anywhere close to representing your current service offerings, greatest work, or brand experience of your company. It doesn’t look contemporary and doesn’t work in Firefox or Chrome, let alone mobile browsers.
In short, it isn’t you and it’s working against you. Once they see your website, that big fish you have on the line decides not to take the bait. And all that time and energy you invested was wasted just because your investment didn’t include your website.
Neutral – For many of the B2B service firms with which we work, deals come through relationships and word of mouth. It’s no different for us at Astek. In this case, your website’s primary purpose may be as a checkpoint among many other factors of getting a deal. It’s a brochure and it’s your voice of thought leadership. The website alone isn’t responsible for you getting or losing business. It won’t catapult you forward or hold you back, at least not yet.
Good – At its best your website not only serves as a checkpoint but is pulling in prospects and realizing other goals all on its own. You made a commitment to designing and building a strong website. You participated in the process and worked with experienced professionals who implemented great strategy, design, technology and marketing tactics such as SEO. Your website is aligned with your business goals.
The clearest example of this is an e-commerce website that is directly responsible for driving business revenue through online sales rather than just serving information or generating leads. Whether you have e-commerce or not, your website can be doing more for you and your company than you’re probably aware.
So, is your website working for you or against you?