The new online reality for your business is that people visiting your website know more about your company and services than you know about them… much more. In fact, you actually might not know anything about your website visitors. In light of this, how can you deliver a relevant meaningful message to those users?
Here are the four challenges that your web team must address before your site, your products, and your company all become irrelevant and lost in the depths of the web:
Challenge #1: Your web experience is not seamless
Your website might provide a perfect experience across pages but what about the experience on other channels and about the experience of getting from other channels to your website? YouTube? Facebook? Your blog? What about across all the devices that are being used by your users? Are people using an iPad to get information from your website or other channels? Or even a Blackberry? Did you map the journey of that user?
An Experience Journey Map will detail how a person interacts with your company in the digital world. It could look like: Joe did a search on Google and reached one of your SEM landing pages; went to your site; registered for an offer; received an email from one of your campaigns on his mobile device; clicked on an offer in the email, and reached your website on his phone before clicking on a “contact me” form.
To do #1: Create an Experience Journey Map (simple sentences are a good start) detailing the 3 or 4 most common paths and make sure the experience make sense – by doing so, you might identify several gaps in the journey (duplicate content, inconsistent branding or messaging, missing channels, etc.)
Challenge #2: Your web experience is not contextual
Your website might have all the necessary content across all channels, but, are you showing your visitors the right content at the right time? In this world where there is an overload of information, you cannot expect users to spend time to try to find what they are looking for. This is the era when “bite-sized” content is expected to be readily available and quickly delivered to the users when they want it.
To do #2: Create a Content Journey Map that maps specific content pieces based on the stage of the journey of your users
on your online channels. For example, one of your “How-to” articles could
either be an entry point to the web journey (through SEO) or a post-sale
content for your customers. The key benefits of such a map are to identify the
missing content pieces and, most importantly, be able to categorize critical
content in the visitor’s journey in order to optimize the time and medium of
Challenge #3: Your web content is not up-to-date
This one is a simple question of trust. If the information on your site is outdated, incorrect or if users struggle to find it, how can they have a good opinion of the services you offer?
To do #3: It is better to have only a few pages that are highly relevant (See #1 and #2) and up-to-date rather than a lot of content that will just confuse users and will make them go to your competitor’s website. Work on what matters!
Challenge #4: Your web experience is limited to your website
A web experience is not simply about a website anymore, it is about your web presence in general.
Reality check: Business is now social. If you maintain only a website, this means that other people may control our online identity on social media channels. You cannot (you should not try) to take over the online conversation but you need to be present and engage with your customers and prospects.
To do #4: You cannot fight that new paradigm. Embrace it. Build your social presence. Listen. Join the conversation. Address issues. Think holistically across channels (web, Facebook, SEM pages, email, blogs, etc.) – if you don’t, other people will own the conversation about your brand on social media.
Senior Product Manager – Web and Web Content Management