It’s time for part two of the three-part series of posts I began next month. (All of which are a collaboration with long-time colleague Scott Hornstein. We owe a tip of the hat to Wayne Cerullo and Phil Shelp for their help and insights.)
We began our last column by discussing how a smarter website can make a difference to your bottom line by increasing engagement, leads, and sales; and by discussing how your approach to building your website is a key part of the success: are you creating a library or a cocktail party? Are you creating a billboard or a conversation?
With those ideas as a backdrop, we continue exploring the unrealized potential in many firms’ websites. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity is in allowing your website to stand alone.
Your website should never stand alone – it will always be more effective as part of a larger marketing effort. That means integrating it with your email marketing, social media, and CRM platforms. Also integrate it with your marketing automation system, if you have one.
The goal is to personalize each prospect’s experience based on their behaviors, and what you can learn from their behavior about their interests and the best ways to move them through their buying process. (Yes, it’s their buying process that matters. Your sales process/cycle/funnel isn’t important to them at all.)
You can further increase effectiveness by not treating your audience as a single, undifferentiated monolith. Design your site to meet the needs of your most important audience segments – individually. That may mean separate sets of content for each segment, or it may mean packaging the same content slightly differently to shift the emphasis for each audience segment to the information that is most compelling to them.
Of course, that means doing the work to identify each segment’s pain points and the content they’ll find most compelling. Let’s start with what we call the Prospect to Product Connection.
The Prospect to Product Connection
The Prospect to Product Connection is the insight that allows you not only to identify your best prospects, but to engage with them and win their confidence, their trust, and their business.
Finding that insight requires external research with current prospects and customers to generate a persona that goes beyond basic customer profiles. You want to identify each contributor to the buying process – there’s nearly always more than one role involved on the client side. You are looking for the key prospect insight that gives you a competitive advantage by identifying the needs, attitudes, and motivation of the real people you want to do business with. These insights drive
- “Persona-lization,” or the website’s ability to speak directly to the individual/persona.
- The account persona, or an overview of all participants and a map for how the account moves through the decision cycle; who is involved and when.
- Persuasion-oriented content. Tell the visitor why they should care, why they need to change to solve their issue, and why you’re best suited to implement that change.
- Use the KPI to identify the big idea. Communicate the big idea. Roll out the big idea.
Next time around, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the metrics that matter and more. Until then, don’t forget about our website assessment tool, which you can use to see your site through your prospects’ eyes.