How to Use Your Website to Change the World
By Jason Moore | February 24, 2016
Can your website really change the world?
It can certainly help further your business’ Purpose and inspire like-minded people all over the world to join you by becoming your customers. As long as your business operates to achieve a social mission, there’s no reason your website can’t generate change.
Having assisted in the creation of more than a few high-conversion, mobile-friendly websites, I’ve learned a lot about how to turn a website into a mission-supporting machine.
First, you have to identify your “why,” or your Purpose. Why are you in business and what mission do you serve? Perhaps you’re like our clients and you work to achieve social good. Or perhaps you make the world’s greatest beer (and for that, I thank you).
Digital media allows you to connect with people all over the world who identify with your Purpose and can help your business grow. For those who claim they can’t afford to maintain and refine their website in accordance with their goals, I ask “How can you afford not to?”
In a world of click, scan and move on, you have less than 1.5 seconds to capture your audience’s attention and give them a reason to stick around. Here’s how you can guide their actions to make sure if they do stick around, they’re supporting your mission.
If you aren’t exactly sure what your Purpose is, check out our resource Purpose First: A Guide to Discovering + Defining Your Company’s Differentiator. It will help you go through the process of defining your Purpose so you can start using it to amplify your positive impact and galvanize your customer community.
1. Identify clear objectives
Start with your business goals to determine how you can effectively optimize your website in support of your mission. The goal of your website should be to support your mission by…doing what? That “what” is your site’s main objective.
Is it driving online sales? Increasing awareness of X? Motivating people to do Y?
The main objective of your website should NOT be “to look more professional” or “to establish an online presence.” Your objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. For example, the objective for an ecommerce website might be for a certain percentage of site visitors to make a purchase every month.
Figure out what you’re ultimately hoping to achieve and what action indicates achievement. That action is your macro conversion.
2. Align site content with micro conversions
Once you’ve identified your main objective, it’s time to decide how each page on your site can function to support the macro conversion by facilitating the completion of micro conversions.
Understanding how each page of your website and the content on each marketing channel work together is very important. Think of these components as your digital marketing team. If a single “teammate” isn’t performing well, you’d better be able to figure out which one it is and how to help that individual perform before it costs you the game! The best way to do this is to identify and track conversions.
Knowing the placement of micro conversions will help you organize your pages so that you can lead the visitor through an easily-navigable trail directly to your desired destination.
If your business goals and your mission are correctly aligned, completion of micro conversions should equate to mission-support. You can see in the graphic at right how even seemingly mundane micro conversions support mission when a business’ mission, business goal, macro conversion and micro conversions are well aligned.
3. Get seductive with headlines, body copy and SEO
You may not share an audience with BuzzFeed, but sites like it are superstars when it comes to grabbing attention. Even a headline-savvy guy like me can’t resist the urge to click. I’m “Super Chill,” by the way.
The SOLE function (and yes, I AM shouting) of headlines on the web is to achieve the highest possible click rate. That’s it. They get people to the website and other bold headlines keep them there. Don’t be afraid to use headlines that drive traffic to your website and speak emotionally to your audience.
Since there are millions of articles written on the subject of headlines, I won’t go deep in explanation. Here are a couple key pointers:
- Use numbers (10 Reasons Why…, 7 Ways to…) – Our brains just like them
- Keep them short (5-9 words) – Shorter means easier to process
- Use keywords – Search engine algorithms will compare the headline title with the rest of the content written on your page, so make sure your keyword(s) are present in both to strengthen SEO and keyword ranking.
I like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer for a quick assessment of headline quality. Check out these two resources for more headline success tips:
4. Embrace a function-focus
Realistically, in most cases users will not complete the macro conversion the first time they visit your website. It’s why you want to capture their email address or “cookie them” to keep them engaged. Of course, just because you continue to reach out doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to achieve more conversions.
Each piece of marketing copy, whether it’s a landing page, your website, an email newsletter, a subject line, body copy or contact form, performs its own duty just like each member of a team performs a specific function. Let each do what it’s meant to do.
For example, your email subject line should not contain the call to action (CTA). The job of the email subject line should be to get the subscriber to open the email. After the subscriber opens the email, the responsibility of the email copy is to get the user interested in the CTA. The CTA’s responsibility is to get the user to act, which often involves clicking a button.
Respect where each item falls on the trail of micro and macro conversions, then let it do its job. Don’t try to speed things up by skipping ahead or you’ll leave your users behind.
You can also use lead scoring and marketing automation software to make sure you’re sending messages appropriate to where the recipient is in the cycle. It’s only when you combine the right message for the channel with the right message for the individual that you’ll get people moving along the path to the macro conversion.
5. Use data and analytics to make adjustments
How many micro and macro conversions did you achieve last week or month? How might you increase that number? Which of your marketing channels is achieving the highest conversion rates? Do you know the answer to any or all of these questions?
Google In-Page Analytics and the other Google Analytics features will answer all of these questions for you – for free. Use the data to make good decisions and get more people moving faster along the goal path.
There are a variety of other behavior-tracking applications like Crazy Egg, many of them available at a low cost. If you want to look deep into visitor behavior on your website, it’s definitely worthwhile to investigate your options.
I encourage you to go through your website and check to see if it’s really helping people take the actions associated with the macro conversion you’re looking for. If it’s not, you’re missing the opportunity to convince people to support your business, further your mission and better the world.
If you have questions, comments or anything to add, I invite you to comment below. If you like what you read and want me to go into further detail about something, feel free to email me and I’ll go deeper in my next post.