Businesses fall into this trap all the time—the if I build it, they will come mentality. While this is partly true, it doesn’t really capture the way things actually work which is more like this:
If you build it, they will come… so long as you already have a they.
Many businesses think, “Okay, if I make my website fantastic, if I make it beautiful, then the users will come.” But how it really plays out is the business spends a couple months to maybe half a year planning and then they re-create their website. A lot of resources (time, energy, money) go into make something not only visually stunning but super aligned and clear with their mission and offerings.
But when the new site launches…
Often, there’s this kind of inevitable letdown within the organization, whether it’s a solopreneur or large company.
It’s at this point businesses often find and reach out to ‘cause.
They hop on an introductory call with me or one of our senior strategists and tell us all the reasons they rebuilt their site—
- People said the site wasn’t up to par.
- They said we needed a great site to build customer trust.
- I hated my old site.
- It didn’t look professional enough.
- It was ugly.
- People didn’t “get” it.
- Google didn’t “like” it.
That’s when I usually get the heartbreaking question:
“We’ve done everything that everyone said we should do — but it didn’t work. What went wrong?”
Pause… and then, fearfully…
“Do I have to redo my website again?”
This is when I and the ‘cause team dive in and figure out what’s going on. Is it truly a website issue – or something else? Why did they spend so much and get so little in return? What’s really blocking them from traffic, or sales, or whatever else they’re trying to accomplish?
We look at your data and ask 3 core questions:
- Where are you now?
- Where could you be?
- Where should you be?
These 3 questions are core to helping us understand your current state and the most cost and time-effective way to reach your strategic goals. But let me share a secret with you—
95% of the time, the issue is not the website at all.
In that 95% of the time, we find that the website is doing its job beautifully and whoever built it for them did a good job – except that the business didn’t really need the new website–at least, not as badly as it needed something else first.
Don’t get me wrong. A great website can be a fantastic marketing and sales vehicle, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. It never works alone.
Even when you have almost all of your website traffic coming organically from Google (for free), building a site and getting Google to recognize it takes a significant amount of work—much of which doesn’t happen on the new site itself.
It can take months for Google to recognize a new site and rank it well or for Google to even notice certain changes to a site. And those months of waiting can make or break a business—
Which is why I suggest you don’t wait.
Decide, build and test your sales funnels and audiences before perfecting your website.
Why perfect websites are so often imperfect
The issue we see too often is the pet business invests so much time and money in perfecting their website that they neglect to think about how their customers will get there. While a well-SEO-optimized website will eventually help, it’s not uncommon to see a short drop in rankings and slow-down of organic traffic after a launch. (Contact us if this concerns you and we’ll help you take measures to reduce this risk with whoever your developer is.)
The reality: To get people to your website faster, you have to do a little bit of priming the pump.
Jumping in without a strategic plan or without getting input from the right people and just doing a full website refresh blindly can end up an expensive disaster. But doing a bit of work ahead of your new website can pay major dividends
The reasons are varied:
- Building an audience before your new website launches gives you a pool of potential customers to instantly drive to your new site once you launch
- You have a group of potential customers you can use to test your messaging – before investing heavily in copywriting
- You can provide “sneak peeks” of your new site, as you build it – building anticipation for the site while also helping ensure your new look and feel resonates with your customers
- You can test mini-launches for specific products or services, seeing how popular they are and what you might want to charge
Here at ‘cause, we tend to get 90% of our clients from personal referrals – because a business, frankly, can’t afford to have it go wrong again. They’ve tried and trusted before they’ve met us, but missed a few key steps and don’t know which ones.
So we dive in with them and start priming that pump.
- building an audience to drive to the website
- use the audience to test language and messaging, and help businesses understand their own clients better
- then and only then do we turn to the website and look at how users are using it – and what small changes or tweaks can be made for big results
It may sound simple, but this 3 step process has saved organizations tens of thousands of marketing dollars.
Remember: Without a great audience to guide to the website, you’ll still end up crickets at first.
As you’re looking at your 2019 marketing plans, or if you’re like me and looking at your 2020 plan, definitely give a little thought to your business pain points. The website may not be your biggest issue OR it could be symptomatic of a larger issue.
If you feel like you website is
- not up to par
- not allowing your full potential
- not up-to-date
- not portraying your company the way you’d like
than that’s the perfect time to look at your social and email channels and considering optimizing them first (yes, first! as in before your website).
It seems counterintuitive, but trust me when I tell you sometimes the “problem” is not actually the problem. Instead, start looking at ways to grow your social and email audiences first. It’s a very cost-effective and easy way to get feedback, test, and understand what’s going to resonate with your clients before investing all the time and money into a website build or refresh.
When is a website refresh a good idea for a pet business?
All this said, there are absolutely times when a website refresh or a change to a different content platform (CMS) is in order. Here are a few:
- Your current CMS platform is being sunsetted, or you’re losing your development team who built your custom site.
- Your current CMS platform isn’t flexible enough to do what you need it to do to run your business efficiently.
- Any site updates -like text or images- need to be done by a developer (eg – you can’t update it without high expense.)
- You have a base of clients and customers already, with an effective sales funnel in place, but the look and design of your site is stopping you from “getting to the next level” with your business.
- You have a great audience and reach, but when customers hit your site, they aren’t converting.
If one of the above are true for you, it would be a smart time to consider a refresh of the site, but not before.
So as you hit your marketing plan, think about your audience and pinpoint your real problem before diving into a costly website refresh. You’ll be glad you did.
And of course, feel free to reach out to ‘cause Digital Marketing and learn about our marketing strategy, road mapping and auditing services to help you make the most cost-effective and meaningful decisions for your business.