Website Design & Internet Marketing HAS TO Begin With Research
Time and time again, I meet with a client and they have this image in their head about what their new website needs to look at. My best story ever was a behavioral psychologist (specializing in women victims of abuse), and their “ideal” website was a black background with blue text. Think about it…..a website speaking to abused women with a BLACK & BLUE website. Not a good mix!
Any traditional marketing campaign, starts with a research phase to provide historical statistics and to predict effectiveness of the current campaign. (among other reasons)
Why Should Web Design Be Any Different?
Your website design should being with an extensive marketing research plan that include the following steps:
- Competitor Research
- Website Audit
- Keyword Research
- Marketing & Industry Trends
- Polling & Surveying Prospective/Current Customers
- Buyer Persona Creation
Market research is the process of studying why or why not a customer or prospective client would buy your goods or services. You must understand your customer, their needs, their questions, and anticipate their behavior in order to build a website that caters to their needs. Our web design process, does exactly that. We being the design process with adequately researching you industry and customers before we create one single page of content, or one single image. Here is a description of the steps involved in a Market Research Plan for your new website.
Analyzing your competitors should be an ongoing and continuous process. Your competitors are just as determined to increase their sales as you are. You MUST be conscience of what they are up to, and seek to improve your customer’s experience to stay a step ahead of your competition.
Competitor research will allow you to customize your current marketing campaigns, web design, and content production to widen the reach of your efforts. This crucial step will assist in the web design, search engine optimization and social media marketing to create new out-of-the-box ideas.
This assessment step will bring to light the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors marketing efforts. There is nothing better than learning from other people’s mistakes to save time, effort and money. We recommend that you research at least your top 3 competitors to provide a great baseline.
*Important Reminder: It is great to learn from others ideas, mimic attributes, and compete with your competitor. BUT, you do not want to create an exact copy. That will NEVER work!
Of all of these steps, this may be the most crucial. Research the keyword phrases that customers are using to search for your products and services will set you light years ahead of attempting to blanket your marketing with what “you think” they are searching for.
A good example. A client’s keyword research discovered that the top auto manufacturer that internet users were searching for was “Nissan” when used in reference to auto repair. So the term “Nissan Auto Repair” was the top auto manufacturer beating out all other brands such as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, etc. Our keyword research identified a great new funnel of revenue for this client and prompted the auto repair chain to begin to create content on their blog centered around the keyword phrase “Nissan Auto Repair.” (Consequently, they have become the authority in Nissan auto repair, and continue to dominate search engine results for that search term)
In addition to revealing the content that needs to be on your website, included in your blog, and anchor text on inbound links, keyword research also identifies the following:
- Page Title, Description & Meta Keywords
- Image File Names & Alt Tags
- Anchor Text & Internal Text Links
- Relevant Inbound Link Domains
- New Product Names
- and many more
It is important that you not only determine WHICH keyword phrases to use, but it is also important that you implement a measuring tool to determine your effectiveness in your search engine optimization efforts. There are many tools available, and we can assist you in selecting the right tool for your company.
Marketing, Search & Industry Trends
Every industry has trends. Your customers have certain behaviors that follow a pattern. There are many causes to these patterns, such as time of year, time of day, holidays, economical, etc. If you do not have your finger on the pulse of your customers buying habits, you are sure to miss opportunities for increased profits. There are many different industry reports that provide past history and projected future trends of your customers in your industry. There are additional tools that we can implement with you and teach you how to use to keep up-to-date on emerging trends in your customers buying habits.
Polling & Surveying Prospective/Current Customers
Your current customer base is the most honest and blunt gauge of customer service and satisfaction that you have available to you. Conducting a poll or survey to your current client base is an easy and effective way to judge how well you are serving your customers. People love to offer their opinion, and when you are in business, you need helpful opinions on how you are doing in that business. Providing a poll or survey is cost effective, and many times there would not be a charge at all to receive crucial and helpful hints to improve your business. We can help you implement a polling and survey campaign to better serve your customers.
Buyer Persona Creation
One of the hardest tasks I have ever been presented with was at a Glazer Kennedy Information Technology Conference, where we were asked to answer “Who is your Sydney.” Sydney was used as an analogy for the customer in the presenters story. But this exercise was designed to have us create specific personality traits, physical features and characteristics of our customers. This is a “buyer persona.”
The process of creating a buyer persona can be extremely in depth and involved, and you end up having several of them. As you research the physical, demographics, economic, emotional, or psychological characteristics of your ideal customer, you will begin to uncover specifics about your business that you will need to implement or modify to provide service to your customers. Our team will work with you in your buyer persona creation and the steps to identify your target customers.
Market Research – Now What?
We have identified some very specific steps that you will need to being your internet marketing campaigns. We understand that you may have a handle on some of these steps, or already have a plan to improve in a certain area. We also understand that there is probably at least one area that you could use some help. Our team can assist you in an adviser setting or as the implementer. Let’s work together and see which works best for you and your company.