I met with a client recently who owns a very successful business. He knew he needed a website but wasn’t quite sure where to begin. He met with a few agencies, decided on the second-cheapest quote and a short while later had a website. Essentially a glorified brochure of his business. So what’s the problem? I have seen so many businesses approach their online strategy with this mentality – we need it, get it done. It’s a spend vs. invest mentality. You spend money on things that don’t give you long term value. You invest money in things that provide a return. Spending is quick and cheap. Investing requires thought and patience.
There is an old saying I love:
A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
You see most businesses know that they need a website. They just aren’t clear on WHY. They begin the search for a company that can help them fulfil the short term solution. Sadly, they base their decision on the price or aesthetics instead of the potential return on their investment. The growth trajectory in online marketing has been and continues to trend upwards. Why? The internet allows us to track, analyse and refine our efforts in granular detail. The trick is finding that magic metric and going after it!
So that brings us back to the original question: Where do you start? Stephen Covey said it best: start with the end in mind. Remove budget and time from the conversation and let’s start with the most ideal situation. Your end goal. You cannot hope to achieve what you can’t define.
Understanding exactly why you need a website will be the catalyst for the rest of your online strategy – including budget! Take time to brainstorm your ideal outcome and refine it as much as possible in to a single statement.This statement should form the basis or summary of your brief. When you plan for the eventual outcome, it’s far easier to understand the steps needed to achieve it. For example, if your primary goal is to generate leads, your website will form the basis of your online strategy. It should be built for one purpose – everything else is secondary to that goal and should be treated as such.
This may sound over simplified, however so few businesses can articulate exactly why they have a website in the first place. When you lose sight of the ‘why’ you lose direction and nothing seems to work together to deliver any meaningful results.
Answering the ‘why’, will lead you on to the ‘how’ – how to get it done!