SMA Solar Technology AG is a German solar energy equipment supplier with offices in 18 countries. To improve their brand awareness and online lead generation in Mainland China and Taiwan, SMA decided to use Baidu and Google PPC to promote their websites.
Don’t forget market research before building your website
When we talk with our clients about a new website, they usually focus on how they want to design their website and what features they would like to have. But before we decide on the design and features, we would recommend our clients do some research. It will lead the client in the right direction when we move into website planning phase.
Understand your clients
Building a website is not only about design and features. It is more about how to grow your business through your website. From a marketing perspective, your website should target your potential clients. In other words, you should understand your clients before creating your website.
Audit social media response and website comments
The first thing we can do is to collect visitor feedback on your business. If your business has social media accounts, you can review the comments there. Chances are you will find their feedback on your business. Also, if your visitors can leave comments on your website, you can also review them.
Audit customer inquiry forms from website
When your website visitors have questions, they will fill out the website inquiry form. That is another place to collect valuable feedback. From the inquiry form, you can find what areas your potential customers are interested in.
Audit customer support ticket
Another place is customer support ticket. Through the customer support ticket, you can understand what they need to know regarding your products. It will help improve your product page.
If you are running your business for a while, you should be able to identify your target audience and have some basic ideas about them. What you need to do is use customer persona approach to write it down. You can use this to discuss with the web designer. It will help the web designer to have a concrete user image.
Analyze your current website
Don’t just think about your new website. You definitely should go back to look at your current website. Your current website has a lot of data you can use to help design your next website.
Among your current clients, there might be some people who visit your website frequently. Go talk to them. Or when you receive customer inquiry form, you can talk to those potential clients as well. Ask how they feel about your website and what they like and don’t like.
Invite your current clients or new clients to use your website. You can use software or just sit next to them and watch them visit and navigate your website. You will be surprised at the information you can receive. You might assume your website is easy to use. But after watching visitors navigate your website, you will find that many of your assumptions are wrong.
Basic SEO audit
Basic SEO has been a basic marketing skill for digital marketers in the last few years. A lot of SEO skills don’t need any coding or design knowledge. You can do it yourself through the content management system backend. A basic SEO audit will help you design your website structure to have better marketing.
Web analytics analysis
One of the biggest advantages of online marketing is you can always track your visitors’ activities. If your website has been running for a while with analytics service installed, you definitely should look into the data. Through analyzing the data, you will know your visitors’ flow, where they came from, and what part of your website visitors visit the most frequently. This information will help improve your website project.
Differentiate you from competitors
There is always completion in business. Before starting your website project, don’t forget to look into your competitors’ websites, especially good ones. The goal is to learn from them and to differentiate you from them.
Identify at least 3 competitors who have been doing a good job at digital marketing. Visit their websites and social medias and ask yourself to identify the pros and cons of their websites. After visiting 3 websites, you will get a sense of what you should learn and avoid from their websites.
Understand industry trend
People usually forget this one easily. Try to find some industry report. It will give you some ideas of where your industry is heading in the next few years. The reason why we do this is we might need to add something new to fit future industry trends. A website usually will have the same design for at least 2 years. And we have to consider the time for building the next website and the one after that. It might be at least 3 years. If we can refer to industry trends, we might know what we should add to our new website to make it future-proof.
A lot of our clients think that designing a website is just to have a new design and cool features. Those only small parts of website design. The real goal of website design should be to grow your business. Without reaching this goal, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is or what powerful features are in your website.