How balls can help you remove the internal political bunfight over your website
By Jim Thompson
If you have to play the game of politics, tread on eggshells and pander to egos then your new website project will be dead before you even start it.
If you’re not convinced just have a look at the state of affairs in our very own Capital of Compromise, Canberra or watch an episode of Utopia.
You’ve probably worked out already that I’d never make it as a politician. But sometimes you have to get stuff done. If you’re a small business that’s a huge advantage you’ve got over the big guys, one that you should exploit.
Yes, you’re going to have to grow some, seriously I’ve seen so many projects compromised and railroaded by opinion fuelled and ill-informed management committees that should know better.
4 questions to answer before starting a website project
OK, as outlined you’re going to need your two spherical objects, but if you approach the whole project from the start in the right way they don’t need to be massive.
The key is to fight the fight before the “committee” gets to see the new shiny object (your new website).
I know it’s not as exciting, but before you even start thinking about what the thing is going to look like you must have an agreed, clearly articulated, clearly communicated and clearly understood digital strategy and game plan.
These questions are so fundamental it’s almost too embarrassing to bring them up, but they have to be answered and agreed upon first.
Who is your target audience(s)?
Yep, who is your website for? Here’s a big hint, it’s not for you.
You need to be able to clearly articulate who the target audience(s) of your website(s) are. The more defined you can be about these audience(s) the more targeted your website(s) can be to their pain points and hence, speak directly to them.
Why are they visiting your website(s) and exactly what do you want them to do when they do?
Yep, why would they come and what are they looking for? Big hint, it’s not so you can tell them how good you are and how many services you provide.
You need to prove your experience and show that your firm meets the standard of the industry. But more importantly, your website needs to try address some of the issues the visitor is looking to have solved.
What purpose does your site serve on the buyers’ journey and your digital marketing strategy?
Yep, your traditional “corporate” site is an ever-decreasing component of your digital footprint in terms of size and importance.
Its primary role should be a stage for your content, communicating a strong perspective and leaving no doubt in the mind of your audience that you are the expert you claim to be.
These questions sound simple, but they are quite difficult to answer and often lead to disagreements particularly in partnership-based businesses.
Is it time to split your firm online?
I’m probably not telling you anything new here, but the partnership model has a lot to answer for.
To appease everyone in your partnership-based businesses your online presence may have to be split up into separate components and become more flexible to appeal to a variety of different audiences.
What’s the difference between having multiple websites and having multiple physical locations to service different markets?
You need to come to an agreement early
That’s right, get it all out on the table first and agree on the outcomes, document it, communicate it and get sign off – trust me you will need this later.
What if they can’t agree?
Leave before they take you down with them into a world of mediocrity and compromise where you just end up with a shinier version of the old object. The world already has enough yes men.
If the strategy and game plan is understood and agreed to then their subjective opinions are not required and should not be asked for. All you need to do then is have the courage to stand by the strategy, stick to it and do not allow it to be compromised because of an opinion.
Then when you get the inevitable questions and comments and show them the website such as;
- It’s a bit busy…
- Is it us?
- Where is my section?
- Why doesn’t it have a search option?
- I like breadcrumbs…
- You have to scroll too far down…
- Is it too wordy?
You can reach into your back pocket and remind everyone what they signed off on why everything is the way it is and politely ask them to leave their subjective opinions at the door.
Don’t forget you can always bring an outsider like me (whose career isn’t on the line) to help you fight the fight and hey, sometimes 4 spherical objects are better than 2. Get in touch to organise a situation analysis meeting with your leadership group.
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