Getting Results: setting goals

Your business's website obviously has a purpose. Perhaps your business is centered around your website. Or maybe your website has been created to help support your business. Either way, your business has a purpose (or goal), and that goal should be well-defined and measurable.

Call them to action.

To truly get results from your website, you need your website's visitors to do more than just browse around your web pages. Your website may serve to do many things, such as inform customers or build community. But your website should focus on your call to action. A "call to action" is a basic component of any sales and marketing strategy -- it prompts the user to take an action that your business finds valuable. For this post, let's think of your website's purpose as its call to action.

What do you want me to do?

It's amazing what you can get when you simply ask. Without any call to action or goal, website visitors will simply look around a bit and then leave your site. But ask them to fill out a form and they just might do it. Many businesses focus much of their marketing power and prowess around enticing visitors to follow their call to action. Think of stores or businesses that have offered you coupons or free items in exchange for a sign-up, your email address, or a purchase.

So what is your website's call to action? You need to determine what you want your visitors to do. Do you want them to purchase a product? Do you want them to fill out a form so you can contact them directly? Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter? Do you want them to make a donation, sign up for an account, download a particular file, or leave feedback?

There are many valuable actions you can ask visitors to take, and you need to figure out what the most valuable action to your organization is.

Build your site around your goal. 

Once you've determined your website's goal, you need to build your site around it. You must make it extremely clear and apparent that you want the visitor to complete your action.

As an example, let's just take a look at our company website, the website you're on right now. If you look at our home page, can you tell what the goal of our website is? The large "sign up for free" button right in the middle of the main page is designed to lead visitors to our sign-up form. On every internal page of our website, the "sign up" button is also prominently displayed. Our main goal is obviously to funnel customers to our sign-up form.

Do you need to make adjustments?

So, our website's goal is getting our visitors to sign up. What's your goal? Does your site make its goal obvious? If not, how can you improve upon your site's design and content to make its goal more prominent and get your call to action in front of your visitors? When your website has a clear and valuable call to action, you are ready to begin getting results.

Other pages in the Getting Results series:

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