Websites today are becoming a key asset to any organisation. Gone are the days when your website was a brochure that people could access on-line. Now days they are powerful sales tools and an indispensable way to manage relationships with existing and potential clients.
Your website needs to deliver on the same business objectives as every other function in the business.
For a long time now websites have enabled eCommerce and clients have been able to order products and services on line, but how do we create smart websites, that maximise your ROI?
The website as part of your sales strategy.
Sales are concerned with maximising turnover and margin at the lowest costs. Websites form an essential part of the modern sales strategy.
In the past they were marketing collateral, supporting sales by providing clients with information about your company and its products and services. Web 2.0 has enabled a crossover from marketing to direct sales.
To get the most sales out of your website, you need to analyse your overall business and sales strategies, and carefully align your company’s website to quantifiable business and sales objectives.
Meeting Sales Objectives
You need to manage your website as a sales channel by using the same measurement that you use for off-line sales, in order to maximise your return. Here are some ideas for relevant metrics that can be mapped to sales objectives.
Number of qualified leads generated. What types of leads convert into sales? How can you secure more of them?
New sales revenue. What is your cost each sale? Is this a number you can justify from an ROI perspective to secure new business?
Incremental sales revenue from existing customers may help you to reduce your “cost per up-sell” to current customers. This will help you measure the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your website.
Conversion rates are directly related to the source of the leads on your website. Understanding what types of conversions (new sales, up-sells, etc.) are happening and where they originate gives you the opportunity to go after those that deliver the greatest ROI.
Time to conversion speaks to the efficiency of specific leads to contribute revenue. For example, if leads that are generated through your website’s “product profile” pages convert twice as quickly as those that downloaded a whitepaper, then you can make sure those pages have the greatest visibility and easiest access on your website.
In the late 90’s many businesses were experimenting with eCommerce, but they neglected to take the physical delivery mechanism into consideration. In South Africa, our Internet penetration was too low to make the economies of scale viable. eCommerce sales were miserable and many companies soon abandoned them.
Today the numbers of South Africans who use the Internet on a daily basis whether from home or work has increased enough to make the business case for relooking the opportunity. Our potential clients are far more tech-literate and we know a lot more about how to make are sites intuitive to navigate and easy to use.
Managing Client Relationships
The website is not just a digital catalogue with a payment mechanism attached, we can now create interactive platforms for engaging with our customers and building loyalty. Our clients can be enabled to communicate not just with us, but with each other too. Imagine a jewellery design club around on-line semi precious stone website. They can create communities around how to use your products or provide suggestions to you on how you can improve your products.
Search Engine Optimisation
Few people access your website from the landing page, today most people search for what they are looking for and enter your site from where the search tool directs them. This means that you have to design every page to be found and easily navigated using search engine tools and process driven navigation.
When we are converting our websites into strategic assets, we must dedicate enough resources to manage the site and ensure that it is constantly improving and very responsive to our clients needs. Website are no longer just created and updated regularly. Now days they are dynamic, agile and engaging with our clients on a daily basis.
In South Africa, we don’t have the numbers to ensure that we create sufficient critical mass for our clients to create large enough networks to run by themselves. They do require interventions from humans to keep them interesting and sticky.
With the current economic slowdown, your clients will be looking at more cost efficient ways to go about their daily business. If you build smart website with a robust delivery mechanism that clients will trust and optimise it for search, you will build a robust web sales channel that delivers the returns you are looking for.
About Digital Bridges
Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.
Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.
Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.
Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.
To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on firstname.lastname@example.org.