The days of the brochure-ware website is dead. Today, for the highest conversion rate, your website needs to have a specific objective (and ideally just the one).
In Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less he talks about a grocery store that alternated between allowing customers to sample 24 different flavours of jam & 6 different flavours of jam. With 24 flavours on offer, more people came to the table BUT only 10% as many people bought jam than when only 6 flavours were on offer. This demonstrates that when offered too many choices a human being is paralysed and simply chooses the default, which is to do nothing (your biggest competition!).
This doesn’t mean that your business needs to have only one product or service. It simply means that you need to rethink the one action you need your visitor to do on your website in order to get them into your sales pipeline. This will vary from business to business, but a great place to start is getting their permission to receive emails from you in exchange for something of value to them. Ideally this is something that doesn’t cost you anything to deliver (apart from the initial production of course) and can be automatic, like a free PDF report.
Now, if your website and what you offer is simply too complex, you may want to think about it differently. You can build specific landing pages for any traffic generating marketing campaign you run, that are built with the single focus and desired response. Today domain names are are so cheap that you can afford to purchase one for each campaign or offering. You will need to speak to your web partner about the best way to deal with these pages.
The beauty of the web is that you have the flexibility to test, measure and react in realtime. There are powerful statistics available for free like Google Analytics that show you what is working and what isn’t, so you can make any necessary changes as soon as you need.
With all this power and flexibility comes a challenge. Do you invest in a Content Management System (plus other design software) and training to understand and handle all the changes in-house? Do you commission your design and marketing partner to build a website and then pay them periodically to update it? Or do you work with a partner to lay down some long term strategy and get on a maintenance program with them where a fixed amount of time is regularly allocated (weekly, fortnightly) to review and make recommendations in light of what is working elsewhere on the Internet?
Apart from the comfort in knowing your website will be supported ongoing, what are some of the benefits of a maintenance program?
Price – With a maintenance program your prepaid fees may not be subject to the same minimum time charges as the time is deducted exactly as used. The rate is often discounted from the regular rate on account of the reduced costs that come with a contract.
Priority – as a contracted maintenance client your website should take priority over non-contracted update requests, as ultimately if you are not getting significant value out of your agreement you won’t renew it. Look at what turn around time you are promised for your requests.
Expert advice – A great web partner should take pride in knowing what is going on online and how any new technologies and strategies can work for your business. Look for a partner who make it their goal to recommend any new developments that will generate a return for your business.
I will end this with a Lee Iacocca quote that I often think about for branding and marketing, especially when it comes to the web.
"If you are standing still - you are really sliding backwards."