Anybody can toss up a quick website using a spate of free tools and WYSIWYG editors. The entire process probably only takes about five minutes. If you don’t want to settle for being just anybody, and actually get people to visit you and buy what you’re selling, you’re going to need to do more work.
Before you can expect any sort of success from your website, you need to put together a picture of your ideal customer. You probably did something similar to this already, when you were developing your product and it’s subsequent marketing plan. Now you need to take that information that you gathered and put it to work for your website. Here is how you do that:
Step One: Finding Your People Online
When you were developing the persona of your ideal customer, you had to decide all sorts of things like the person’s gender and age, their income/economic level and level of education, the job that person likely had, what social causes that person was likely to care about, etc. Now you need to figure out what that person’s internet habits are like.
For example, let’s say you’re selling information on how to create a secondary income from home. You’ve decided that your ideal customer is someone younger, probably female and is likely just out of college and trying to supplement what is likely an unfulfilling day job, like working in retail, serving at a restaurant, etc.
Where do twenty something educated women hang out online? Market research shows us that this particular demographic trends toward Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and, of course, the big two: Twitter and Facebook. Because this demographic is vastly feminist and tuned in to social media issues, they also tend to hang out on sites like The Mary Sue, The Toast, The Awl, etc.
This tells you that you need to concentrate your advertising and promotional efforts on sites that are geared toward twenty-somethings whose audiences lean female and to spend your social media time focusing on the visual networks more than the wordy.
This probably sounds stereotypical to you and, in a lot of ways it is. Not all of your customers are going to be this person. Remember, though, as the Bluehost blog says: you cannot market to everyone all the time, or you’ll burnout and muddle your brand. The site offers further advice on a variety of subjects, including WordPress implementation, using video for business, and improving your company’s social media presence.
Follow and Observe
When you know where your ideal customer hangs out online, start spending time there yourself. Follow links that you see posted and look at how those sites are laid out. Pay attention to site critiques and feedback offered through comments sections and reviews. Spending time where your audience spends time will give you insight as to how to better hone your own site and marketing messages to attract their attention.
Pay particular attention to what your ideal customers say they wish they could find. This will give you the basis of your content creation plan.
The visuals of your site are going to be important. Nobody doubts this. But resist the urge to go too over the top. This is a danger, particularly for site masters who are targeting younger and/or female visitors. You do not have to make your site look like a Lisa Frank folder exploded all over it. Need proof? Look at the success of Medium.com. It’s a plain site with small visuals as leaders for articles and posts. The color scheme is minimal–just a few related tones. And yet? Medium is one of the most popular content portals online.
Content Content Content
Yes, it is important to make sure that your running ads on popular sites and that your name turns up in well respected publications. Hopefully all of those specifics are covered in the content marketing section of your marketing plan. Right now we’re focused on your specific site. At bare minimum you need:
- Your Name
- Your Contact Information/Way for People to Contact You
- Your Hours of Operation
- A Brief Description of What You Do
If you’re just starting out, you can put up these details and let your site get crawled a few times. Do not wait too long, though, before you start adding content to the site. The best way to ensure that your business site has great content is to set up a blog sooner rather than later.
Over time you can use the feedback on your blog and your products to add and change your site to be more ideal-customer friendly, like adding a FAQ page or specific product pages, etc. In the beginning though, you want people to notice you and to keep having a reason to come back. Give them those things and the sales will follow. We promise!