Stop thinking of your website as an online brochure that presents basic information about your firm.
Start thinking of your website as a marketing tool with clearly defined, measurable goals.
Once you’ve determined who you are marketing to, you must then decide what you want visitors to accomplish while on your website. After all, a web visitor doesn’t really matter if they don’t take action.
What are Goals and How Can I Track Them?
In most web analytics programs you have the ability to track a specific action of a web visitor. For example, a common action to track is web contact form submissions. You should consider this a goal because it moves a prospect closer to a sale.
When you set up important actions as goals in your analytics program, you can begin collecting data that will help you understand whether or not your website is generating and nurturing leads.
With analytics in place, can you see how many visitors have converted on a goal, and you can determine where those visitors came from. This information allows you to answer questions such as:
- Is Twitter sending me quality traffic?
- Which keywords are leading to new leads?
- Which web forms are performing well and what pathways are visitors taking to get there?
To learn more about setting up goals, check out this article:
Different Levels of Goals
A typical professional services website has both hard goals and soft goals. An example of a hard goal is a visitor requesting a proposal or contacting the firm to do business. Visitors late in the buying process — people who are ready to take the next step — often complete this type of goal.
Here is an example from our own website of an offer that would lead a visitor to complete a hard goal. The visitor clicks the call to action, fills out a web form, and converts:
What many firms don’t consider is that a large percentage of visitors are early in the buying process. These visitors may be browsing for information or scouting out vendors for a future engagement. For these folks, it’s important to have softer goals.
Just because they aren't ready to do business today doesn’t mean you shouldn't have them take an action. Examples of soft goal conversions include ebook downloads, newsletter subscriptions, and blog subscriptions.
Here is an example of an offer that would lead a visitor to complete a soft goal. Like the hard goal, the visitor clicks on the offer, fills out a form, and converts.
Once you’ve collected visitors' contact information, you can then follow up with educational emails, which further build your firm's credibility. When the prospect is ready to do business, you are likely to be one of the first firms on their mind.
Which Goals are Right for My Firm?
Choosing the right goals and offers isn't always easy. Often, the wording or presentation can make or break an offer. That's why it’s important to track conversions and constantly experiment.
As a starting point, spend time with your team talking about the overall purpose of your site: What do you want each of your audiences to do while they are visiting, and how can you measure success?
For more information on this topic, check out these related blog posts:
- Website Planning Guide Part 1: Evaluate Your Current Site
- Website Planning Guide Part 2: Evaluate the Competition
- Website Planning Guide Part 3: Define Your Audiences