If you don’t have a clear website objective statement, or is not well documented. Then one can use the same approach used for the organization objectives in the previous post ; however this is a lot easier when an organizational vision exists. Again a brainstorming type session is the best approach where the organization’s executive ( usually the one responsible for the website) and the web development team work out a stated objective and identify the key performance objectives that the website needs to achieve that will meet the overall organizational objectives. For example the purpose of a bookstore website is to sell books on line. For a volunteer or nonprofit organization it is to recruit members and donations.
Zanka Consulting provides a structured facilitator led website objective discovery session that has proven very successful in getting to the key elements. We have also used this successfully in a remote environment where participants were in another location and conferencing facilities were used ( e.g. Skype). In small organizations this method is used in a one to one session and is very successful.
In some cases, like Web-Insight, it was not as obvious what our primary objective was, so a lot of thinking and discussion needed to be done to clarify the purpose of our website. Then this needed translation into how the internet can be used as a key communications vehicle.
First of all it is important to establish the type of business you are in and the potential. Here are a few check points that may help. When answering ask yourself what I do now and what can I do using the Internet.
· Do I sell products or services
o Can my products be shipped anywhere
o Can my services be provided from a distance
· Do I need to have physically contact with my customers
o Installation/ repair
o Direct service – cleaning etc
· Am I selling a commodity (low price, high competition)
· Do I have a captive market
o Am I reaching all of the potential customers
· Do I sell locally only
o Is this my preference
· Is it a long sales cycle ( usually to large organizations)
o Could I automate some or all of the process
· Can it be self serve by the customer ( replaces call centre or direct personal involvement)
o Would my customers prefer to have “self-serve” options
The result for Web-Insight was that as a consulting company we serviced only local clients such as government departments, associations and medium to small businesses. Typically we would meet several times throughout a contract and much of that could have been avoided, but since it was in close proximity meeting was not a real issue. The most important element was the first meeting and the last presentation meeting where the relationship was established and the results presented.
Other than the first and last meetings our customers preferred to let us do what we were contracted for and required status updates. Of which few actually required face to face meetings. In many instances time was limited and meetings brief, so conference calls and shared workspaces became the norm. Although using the webinar format for presentations can have its risks we found that customers once on board were more conscious of time and cost savings that the traditional face to face and used video and phone conferencing. Well documented status reports and deliverables including presentations are a defacto requirement.
The outcome of this analysis was that we could use online communication media to conduct both the initial meeting ( we use Skype for the visual aspect – it is good to at least see with whom you are dealing with) and the final results meeting via phone or video conference. The deliverables usually were in the form of a detailed report which were posted, with supporting documentation on a wiki.
Therefore our website objective should be to promote customers from outside of our local region and provide these services using the many communications tools available on the Internet.