The Internet has had a profound effect on the way that consumers shop for products and services. Most business buyers start their buying journey online where they are able to compare product specs, brands and vendors on their own, without having to contact a sales person. In fact, research from Google indicates that a shopper’s decision is nearly 70% complete before ever contacting a company sales rep.
As a result, traditional, “outbound” marketing methods, like television commercials, direct mail and telemarketing, is not as effective as it once was at generating new sales leads. Business marketers are turning to “inbound marketing” methods – using their company website and other online methods to generate leads and close sales.
In today’s marketplace, your company’s website is the most important marketing tool you have. As the hub of your marketing efforts, your website is the destination for visitors who have found it in a search, your other advertising, or from the URL on your business cards.
Is your company website designed with inbound marketing in mind? If not, it may be time for a website redesign. But you should only make changes to your website if they are going to benefit your business.
Redesign for the Right Reasons
Redesigning your website should not be taken lightly. It’s not simply about changing colors to match a new corporate look and feel, or because it’s been a year since the last redesign.
Your decision to revamp your website should be made within the context of three simple business goals:
- More Visitors
- More Leads
- More Customers
Everything else is secondary. New colors and flashy graphics enhance the look of a website, but are only useful if they improve the usability of the site and influence the visitor’s behavior.
Visitors search for websites for information – ideally the information that you have on your site! Therefore, a complete site revamp – even for the right reasons – can cause confusion if visitors cannot find the information for which they are looking. Keep regular users in mind as you move ahead with your plan. Rather than rebuild your website from scratch, you might consider:
- More and better optimized content
- More and better offers and calls to action
- Better optimized landing pages
- Better, more intuitive navigation
The primary motivation for re-developing any website should be to improve performance. A beautiful website, although intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, is secondary to a functional traffic and lead generating website.
Redesign your website with inbound marketing in mind
A website designed around inbound marketing principals is a critical business tool for success in this new business environment. Here are a few tips as you consider a change to your website:
- Start by defining your website redesign goals. Remember that most companies don’t need a new website, but rather need better tools on their existing site.
- Protect your assets during the design process so you do not damage your website presence.
- Make a great first impression by focusing on the functionality of your homepage.
- Creative and original content is the most powerful way of attracting and retaining website visitors.
- Design compelling landing pages so visitors will be more willing to provide their contact information for your content offerings.
- Make constant adjustments to landing pages by experimenting with their layout and formatting.
- Set up a system to measure the metrics of your website so you can reproduce successful campaigns – and scrap failing ones.
Do not be distracted by the idea that the freshness and “wow factor” of a new website will increase excitement for your brand. Remember, you look at your site more often that most of your website visitors. So, even though it may look tired and outdated to you, it’s likely a new experience for most of your visitors.