4 Goals for Making Your Web Site Productive

You know that your web site is a very important window into your company. You recognize that your web site represents the image and style you want to convey about your company to all visitors. You may even believe that your web site is an important tool for selling products and generating leads for your business. Have you really thought about the experience of visitors to your web site and whether it helps to build long term relationships with them – or is your site just window dressing? Just a pretty page with no particular function at all?You may be running a business services company or a manufacturing company and you think that this is only important to people who sell direct to consumers – and you’d be missing a great opportunity and probably not getting the best return for your investment in your web site. What are the top 4 goals of any successful company web site?Let’s take a quick visit to your local department store and compare the experiences. Your goal is to find the men’s clothing section and buy a couple of shirts. As you enter through the inviting wide front doors you are greeted by well-dressed ladies in the aisles tempting you with free samples of perfume, lipstick, or hand cream. These are promotional offers in the cosmetics section. By tempting you with the idea of getting a free sample, they want you to stay a while, to engage in a conversation, and while you are there, look around at what else they have.

Even if you turn up your nose and walk on by, you have been greeted in the aisle by a friendly lady offering you something for free – not a bad experience so far. As you approach the center of the store there is a directory listing next to a bank of escalators. They made it easy to find what you’re looking for and they gave you the navigation means to get to your destination quickly.Eventually you arrive at the men’s section. In the middle of the aisle is a display stand with various office toys, golf paraphernalia, and fun gadgets. These interesting and unexpected toys grab your attention so you stop and browse through the items, pick one up to examine it and spend some time hanging out in the aisle. After looking over these items, do you notice how your first inclination is to look around to see if there is another display stand nearby with more toys and gadgets?Of course, there is another one, right along the wall on the other side of all those shirt racks. You have to walk through the shirts to get there, but your interest has been peaked, so off you go. Chances are, even if you had no intention of buying shirts today, you may still have been tempted to stop and browse these fun items. Once again, the goal is to get you to stop, spend some time with something that interests you, and while you are there you may just look around at the real merchandise they want you to buy.Okay, you’ve made it to the checkout counter with your shirts and the clerk announces that you could save $5 if you used one of the store’s credit cards. Interesting… you were already committed to buying the shirts at the advertised price, so they didn’t need to give you any money back at this point. Of course, this discount offer is not meant to get you to buy anything else today, but rather to convince you that you have a relationship with this store and with that discount incentive you will be inclined to come back over and over again. The clerk might also ask you if you’d like to be on their email distribution list so you can read about new promotional offers and products from time to time. This is also a gadget that is very useful for forging a long term relationship with you.How interesting that a brick and mortar store selling everyday products to consumers can work so effectively to make every visit rewarding and also work so hard to build long term relationships with customers. Yet, so many business to business companies who depend on long term relationships with each customer for the continued profitability and growth of their business, do very little with their web sites to help develop and manage such relationships. The real innovation begins with your customers’ experience.This brings us to our top 4 goals:1. Make every visit rewarding
Promotional offers, white papers, demos, productivity calculators, primary research studies are all examples of ways that can make a visit to your web site rewarding.

2. Keep visitors in your site as long as possible
The more interesting and valuable information that is available to visitors, the more time they will spend browsing your site. Along the way, they will learn a lot more about your company, your products, and how you can serve them.3. Create mechanisms to entice them to come back often
Online newsletters, blog pages, events, opt-in lists, news announcements, and fresh rewarding items will keep your site dynamic and interesting and therefore encourage people to visit it often.4. Be clear and consistent in communicating your value proposition
Simple, clear layouts and navigation schemes work best. Don’t make visitors work hard to find out what you do by waiting for clever flash animation sequences to run through. Use language that your customers use when talking about the types of services you offer. This will ensure your site can be found and more importantly that your value proposition will be easily understood.Be consistent with your brand identity and positioning so that the experience of visitors to your web site matches the experience you want them to have when they do business with your company.