The Risks of Staying the Course by Sage Island
September 27th, 2013

The Risks of Staying the Course

by Gregory Mason

Every week we get the opportunity to meet with various business owners and professionals who are ready for change. They’ve decided that it’s time to ramp up, fix up or start up their web marketing and website. Whether it’s starting new, starting over or turning up the dial on their digital marketing, they know that just staying the course is unacceptable. When businesses and professionals come to us, they’ve begun to understand that leaving their web marketing and website as it is for much longer is just too risky.

But more often than not, we see business professionals who are not paying attention to how they’re perceived on the web. Keeping up the day-to-day service and production, a business can run the risk of drifting off course with an outdated, undervalued, old-fashioned website. Your site being out of date is like running the same billboard from 2006. It’s likely misaligned, outdated and everyone can tell.

Businesses are usually good at identifying and implementing systems and product changes needed in order to make the brand tick. Every business has a primary service or product propelling the ship. And every business pays careful attention to the ways they can produce more efficiently, increase margins and be more effective overall. This type of analysis must extend to your website, because it’s the initial place the majority of your customers will be introduced to your brand.

The Risks:

Losing Search Optimization

Search marketing has changed. Has your site? Search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms and it’s important to revamp your site with the latest search optimization techniques. Your customers are using search engines to find your product and service. If a customer isn’t finding you in search results, they’re likely finding your competitors!

Losing Sales

When it really comes down to it, is your website selling? It doesn’t have to be a transaction platform like an eCommerce site, but it needs to be a strong selling element of your business. Too often, websites have been built simply to display basic pages of information. The idea that businesses just need a “digital calling card” is over a decade old. Does your site entice viewers to stay and explore? Does it convey a message that leads them to take action? Your website gives you the opportunity to begin a conversation, solidify a sale and gain loyalty. By not doing this, you’re throwing money away, or worse, sending potential customers to your competition.

You understand your market, and likely, no one knows your customers better than you. Leverage what you know about the buying behaviors of your customer personas. Provide content for your website that evokes their specific interests and purchase triggers. Focus on converting browsers into shoppers, and shoppers into buyers. By redesigning your site’s messaging, function and conversion, you can turn your website into your top salesperson!

Poor Perception

When a potential customer or client lands on your website, what’s their first impression? How does your current site make them feel about you? I like to think of a website, and particularly a homepage, as a window into a shop. In just a few seconds’ scan, we (consumers) will decide what we think about a store (or even a person) and whether we feel like stepping in to have a look around. Your site should offer some appeal, with fresh elements and updated design and functionality that match your current brand and marketing strategy.

You have an opportunity to draw a viewer in and cause them to act on an emotional response to your brand, not just a rational response. Consider that your customer has been to your competition’s websites and will often buy from the company that they are more emotionally connected with. That’s just human behavior. You don’t need an inspiring story on your homepage, but you need to tug on your customers’ valuable emotional perceptions. Make a great first impression.

Getting a Game Plan

In professional athletics, coaches are always making adjustments to keep a team on top – to leap ahead of the competition. The web is constantly moving. It’s a playing field for sure, and just showing up won’t do you any good. You must compete for customers!

There’s a lot at stake for your business on the web, but you don’t have to feel paralyzed when you know all the areas of need for drastic change. That’s where we come into play. We understand; we know how the web works and we’re full of ideas. Consider us your scouts on the sidelines. By observing your business strategy, structure and branding we can execute a site that funnels your audience directly to your brand message, bypassing your competition.