Do you have a favorite sport? Maybe it’s something popular like football or hockey. Perhaps a more dignified pastime such as golf or horse racing better suits your style. Whatever your preference may be, do you ever wonder how your favorite athletes (hopefully!) win more than they lose? Most likely they are playing with a strategy. It may seem obvious, but strategy – even in a sport like racing – is essential to victory.
The same is true for your business website. Without a strategy, your website will fall behind the competition. Don’t let this happen! Many companies fall into the trap of creating a website for nothing more than an “online presence.” With inbound marketing, websites can do so much more than they could 20 years ago. With inbound marketing, businesses are seeing more online traffic that results in more customers and sales. But without a strategy, even inbound marketing has its limits.
Inbound marketing benefits from a well-developed strategy. There are three aspects to creating a well-developed inbound marketing strategy.
1. Create website goals
What do you want your website to do for your customer? That’s the main question that should be asked before a website is developed. Without a clear goal, a website could be published without having any significant benefit to the owner or the visitor. If a website generates most of its sales after visitors view a product information page, the goal of the website should be to create more product information pages, increase traffic to these pages, and streamline the ability to go from product information to product purchase. Inbound marketing benefits from having a website with clearly defined goals. If you are wondering about your website, try having a friend or colleague take a look at it. Ask them if they felt your website had clearly defined goals. Once you’ve determined you have the right goals in mind, it’s time you ask yourself if you have the right person in mind.
2. Create a Persona
Creating a persona is a powerful way for a business to better understand its customers. Without a persona, businesses have an incomplete idea of who to market to. So what is a persona? A Persona is the ‘ideal’ customer that a business wants to reach out to. Personas are defined by many things – ethnicity, location, motivation – but what they all have in common is that they help shape the strategy used by a company to achieve its goal.
By creating a strategy with a specific end-user in mind, we are better able to understand what their problems are and how we can help make their lives easier. Don’t get too attached to your persona though! You will likely find that you may need to update them as you gain more insights on your customers. You may even considering adding an additional persona. Once you have your persona or personas created, you can move on to the next step.
3. Get to know your persona
Now that you have a persona, ask yourself, how well do you know him or her? It may seem like knowing a pretend person’s upbringing and background is a little silly, but it can go a long way with customer satisfaction. By constructing your persona’s life story, you are better able to understand their motivation, needs, and desired outcome in life. If your persona is looking for a product that satisfies a long-term need but your business only sells products for immediate use, you’ve just gained valuable insight. You’ve recognized a need your typical customer has as well as an opportunity for your company to grow. By using information gathered from our personas, we can update and adapt our company strategy to best fit our customer needs.
Just like in all sports, strategies continue to adapt as they encounter new problems and opportunities. You will likely find that a strategy created today might not work for you a year from now. That’s okay! Revisiting your goals, updating your persona’s attributes, changing their background and desired outcomes; these are all essential to a successful business. Just remember, inbound marketing benefits strongly from a well thought out strategy. How do you think your company’s online strategy is? If you’d like a free consultation, please check out the link below.
The landscape of the Internet is ever changing and Nicole has the energy and aptitude to keep Stevens & Tate Marketing out in front of the pack. She leads an enthusiastic team in strategic planning, development, search engine marketing, online promotions and advertising for the web.