Objectives for Your Website
by Bobette Kyle
Do you have marketing objectives for your Web site? If not, you should. With objectives
to help overcome your main online challenges you can work smarter, not harder.
Think of your Web site objective as the "big picture". It is the basis for a
marketing plan and, in general terms, answers the questions:
- "How can I use the site to overcome my business's main Internet related
- "What is the purpose of my site?" When setting marketing objectives, keep your
site's business model and customers' decision-making stages in mind.
The business model defines how your Web site fits into your business - how it will help
your company grow. Direct revenue is a popular Web site business model, but it is not the
only one. Some business models include:
Direct Revenue / e-Commerce
Some of the most known Web site objectives relate to e-commerce or other types of
direct revenue from the site. That is, the objective is to establish a direct source of
revenue from orders or advertising space.
Build Brand Image
A long-term marketing objective for your site could be to improve sales by building an
image for your product, brand, and/or company. Increasingly, this is an explicit goal for
large companies with ample budgets.
Small-budget companies can follow suit on a more affordable scale by building an image
during the natural course of marketing. You can do this by consistently presenting similar
design elements and "personality" at each point of contact with the world -
whether that contact be virtual or physical.
Enhance Customer Service
Your site can increase revenue indirectly by improving customer service. When customers
are more satisfied, they tend to spread the word about your products as well as buy more
Customers often do product research on a Web site then later place orders via
catalogue, telephone, sales representatives, a physical retail store, mail, and/or fax. In
all of these cases, a Web site indirectly contributes to building the business.
Lower Operating Costs
A Web site can help your business by lowering costs. Automated customer service
functions - Web-based FAQ, order status reports, product specifications, etc. - can lower
the number of customer service calls, reducing customer service labor costs.
A Web presence can also lower operating costs by streamlining communication with your
business partners. Business-to-business companies can create secure Web space to
communicate and collaborate with customers.
It is even possible to have individual, private sites for major clients. A central
"meeting place" that archives communications and other customer-specific
information can cut down on administrative costs related to "phone tag",
inquiries, and/or the need to consciously keep all players "in the loop".
On the supply side, you could reduce costly business disruptions by giving key vendors
Web-based access to your inventory or other real-time information.
Customer Stages: Awareness, Interest, Trial, and Repeat
When setting your marketing objectives, it may help to think in terms of awareness,
interest, trial, and repeat. These concepts are often used in marketing to explain the
stages a new customer (or site visitor, in this case) goes through on the path to becoming
loyal to your business.
The potential visitor must first become aware of your site. Once aware, you must spark
an interest with the potential visitor, motivating her/him to trial, or respond to a call
to action on your site. After (s)he visits your site, that person becomes loyal by
revisiting in the future.
You may be able to most effectively build your business by focusing on one or two of
awareness, interest, trial, or repeat visits, then changing your focus over time. If your
site is brand new or known to very few people, for example, your plan is likely to
concentrate on ways to increase awareness and interest.
A focus on interest and trial may be in order, however, if you get an above-average
number of "window shoppers" - visitors who never purchase (or do not respond to
some other call to action).
Additionally, if you sell multiple products or a product that needs replenishing from
your site, focus on repeat purchases may be more effective.
Setting Your Marketing Objectives
While there are different approaches to setting objectives, my preference is to develop
a single objective for a site that may encompass more than one approach to business
In the marketing plan, I include separate strategies and tactics to address each
approach suggested in the site objective. I also like to note in the objective both the
customer stage(s) and business model(s) I will focus on in the marketing plan. This makes
it easier to decide upon the most effective marketing strategies.
Another approach is to address the customer stages separately, in a summary or
write-up. With either approach, you should view your marketing plan as evolving over time.
As the business environment and situations change, your focus should change as well.
Once you get past the launch stage of a new site, for example, you are in a better
position to evaluate site traffic, so your plan may shift from focusing on awareness and
interest to building trial and loyalty. Similarly, a better understanding of site visitors
may lead you to adjust your business model to more closely address your company's and Web
About the Author
Bobette Kyle draws upon 10+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, Marketing MBA, and
online marketing research in her writing.
Her book, "How Much for Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site Marketing for
Small-Budget Businesses", shows how to better find, target, and attract Web
customers. Read about it at WebSiteMarketingPlan.com - http://WebSiteMarketingPlan.com .
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