Website Strategy Learnings

Introduction

It’s pretty clear from my business name that I’m about growing your Wagga business. It’s the old adage “When you stop growing, you start dying” from William Burroughs. Why then do businesses particularly in regional Australia say I love your work but I don’t need any more work so can we please just make the site about me.

What’s your website the Goal

Being through with  the goal of a website role and what they are hoping to achieve or “solve” from it.

Reflecting on the Get Leads Strategy and target audience

As a new startup you fail to plan, plan to fail. Part of my business plan was identifying the audiences and doing some research and interviews to see if what I was proposing would work. As I was hitting the ground running with existing customers it seemed natural that I would gravitate more towards professional businesses with the majority of these making up existing numbers. I also spoke to a few that said their problem was they needed to get new customers. 

Different types of sites for different audiences/personas stages of a business and even locations

Today, I’m a little bit more reserved about going with an approach that has a set eight step strategy. For those of you who don’t know what this might look like let me me break it down briefly. 

  1. Hero Area (contains brandscript, who you are, what you do, what you offer to solve a customer problem. Make your customer the hero in their story)
  2. Identify loss and the stakes if you the customer of a business doesn’t go with you. 
  3. Testimonials or brands you work with (establish creditability and reliability)
  4. Simple process, 1,2,3 – take the pain out of thinking it’s complicated
  5. Introduce the guide – the person owning the business and his/her and team reputation. 
  6. Service Offering – simple with links to more detailed pages
  7. Lead capture – offer them something to get their phone number or email
  8. Junk draw – all the stuff you wanted to say above about how great your business is. Could be FAQs or other components.

Wow, that sounds simple enough doesn’t it. The main theme here is influencing the customer to take action in the way you want them to. Theirs loads of other sub-components here as well such as frequent call-to-actions (CTAs) etc. 

One size does NOT fit all when it comes to marketing

Customer A

Consider accounting firm “Gunn accounting” who live in Wagga. They’re an established business with 20 years under their belt and 3-4 staff. Love their job and their customers and have more work than they care for. They value finishing on time on Fridays and working with the right customers. 

Customer B

Consider accounting firm “Reserve Accounting” also in Wagga Wagga. They also have 3-4 staff and have grown quickly in the last 12 months. They started with a SquareSpace site from a DIY backyard designer and are now ready to go big because while they have some great customers they also would like to grow. Their customers are the same industry as “Gunn” and demographics are identical. They too value finishing work on time on Friday and working with the right customers. 

Figuring out the strategy for each

Pretending or even role playing to be a customer in the market of that type in regional areas such as Wagga depends on many factors. Is the customer of each of these two in the market to switch accounting firms? Is that a problem that needs to be solved or identified for them if they could save money on tax. How personal is the accounting area that you need to trust your accountant. 

  • Customer A – Strategy is a business card website about them
  • Customer B – Strategy is a tool that will help grow their business

Same audience, same geographic location, same industry. 

Different strategies for different industries

I’m the type of person who likes to be able to use logic to figure out exactly what needs to happen. The simpler the logic the better. For example, apply a specific strategy to a specific industry. Doctors need patients therefore an eight step strategy works. Architects needs customers also eight steps works. Getting back to my business and marketing plan, my potential audience was more inline with professionals like these. I thought I’d use the same 8 steps for every customer. Wrong.

Two important factors – Geographic location and stag of business

What I enjoy the most though is trying to make a difference to a businesses bottom line. Given you get any business from any industry walk through the door in regional Australia and say I need a website, you do websites don’t you? 

I originally targeted these types of businesses because I know they may already have a website, therefore content. They are customers who will hang around long term and wouldn’t haggle on price wanting a 2k Wix or SquareSpace site. 

What I didn’t expect is most want a “business card” about them on the web that ticks the box that they have a modern website. In regional Australia digital marketing has a role but it’s certainly not the same as a competitive city based area where you fight for your customers. 

Stage of business

As I’m quickly discovering customers think they know what they need but can’t execute it without a professional. The other angle on this is they think they’ll get something professional if they can get it through a professional agency. Often a customer won’t identify the website as a 24 /7 sales tool and don’t want to use it to sell and grow. 

The new 2024 plan

I have a few clients on the books and new sites in the development queue. I plan to, before I even go through a discovery survey with them to ask the question in a single email.

What do you want to achieve with a new website? And, I want to provide 4 different options they can choose one of and add a cliche term for them to ponder over in case they think they don’t need to grow.

  1. Grow my business – “If i’t sn
  2. I just need a presence 
  3. I have a new product or service I need to market
  4. I want to improve my brand presence (linked to grow)

While most of what I see in discoveries I can “assume” and fill out for the customer there’s several areas you need their input.

“You can’t know unless you ask!”

Consider our example of “Gunn” a few years down the road and they’ve lost customers to “Reserve”. They again approach you and you assume they just want a business card site. They’re going under and all of a sudden need your help. You have to firmly establish this from the very start. I’d say even asking several different ways to get the answer in their mind and yours clearer.

Setting expectations early  is key

Asking what their values are and what their customer values are,

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

Wagga Web Desgin

Jason Greenlees


Jason is the CEO of Regional Web Developer, one of the original founders of Angry Ant Web and a passionate WordPress educator. If you're interested in learning directly from Jason, you can book him for a one-to-one session.

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