Digital U for a Digital You 301 – What Do You Want?
So we’ve addressed who your customers actually are; and we’ve discussed who you are. Now the key question becomes, What Do You Want?
More business. OK. Easy question, post over, right?
Wrong. A huge part of the problem when it comes to planning for a new or revised Web site is that many companies have no idea what they actually want.
How you define success goes a long way towards helping you decide which business solutions will best help you achieve those goals.
“Well, I want more hits on my site,” or “I want it to work better” are common – and extremely valid – statements. But you can get a better handle on what you want your site to look like and how it should work by spending a little preparatory time getting some hard and fast numbers.
You’ll likely find you don’t just want more hits; chances are you want better hits. And, in a perfect world, you want more AND better hits.
You can drive all the traffic in the world to your Web site, but if those visitors are not finding what they want when they get there, all of your efforts are wasted.
Cheesy-but-true Jay-ism of the day: “Don’t count hits; make your hits count.” If you take care of the latter, the former will grow naturally through word-of-mouth, site links, and natural SEO progression.
Let’s look at “I want it to work better.” What does that mean? Chances are you have a solid idea of what needs to improve based upon the effectiveness of your current Web presence and comments you’ve received from users, but now’s the time to set the foundation upon which your success can be measured.
If you’ve been involved in business in any way, you’ve likely experienced SMART goal-setting: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Even if you don’t use this protocol in your business, the principles are pretty transferrable. Essentially, you want to create goals for your business that actually mean something to your business. You want goals that you or your staff can actually attain, and that can be measured so there’s no grey area or misinterpretation.
I’m a big fan of surveys. Creating and implementing a general satisfaction survey can provide you with both a wealth of good information to go forward with your site redesign (and even your business practices) and give you the hard data you need to see if you’ve been successful.
Don’t forget to ask the questions you want answered – even if you don’t think you’ll like the response. Don’t try to massage the question to get the answer you want (it happens much more often than you think).
Use simple, direct questions – and I recommend a 1-10 scale as opposed to a 1-5 or Very good/good/neutral/poor/very poor scale. Simply put, it’s hard to identify growth on word scales and those with fewer numeric choices. It’s easier to see movement from a 7.3 average to a 8.2 than 3.9 to 4.1 on a 1-5 scale. Surveys can be great, but don’t use them to shoot yourself in the foot either.
And ask opinions. If your survey software (or free service) allows, use open-ended text boxes. Ask: “What would you like to see?” or “What do you like most/least about our current site?” Then take that info and use it!
Don’t forget your bricks-and-mortar customers or phone-based ones either. Ask them if they use your site? Ask them if they’d be interested in using your Web site; what would they be looking for? What would be valuable to them?
From there, you can determine what success looks like for your business. And, best of all, you can determine which solutions you actually need. Maybe it’s not a new Website; maybe you need a better digital marketing strategy, maybe you need an app as your customers are predominantly mobile; or maybe the change doesn’t need to come from outside, but rather from within – organizationally.
Your digital service partner will also be able to better service you by having clear, identifiable goals in mind as they work with you to develop you on-line solution. After all, once you know where you want to go, plotting the route to get there becomes much, much easier.