How to set tasks for the site

    All web studios or interactive agencies begin communicating with a client who has contacted them in order to find out what, in fact, he needs. Nevertheless, over the 15 years of industry development, little has changed, and such pearls are still found here.

    At the same time, while communicating with the client, his attitude is directly felt like “let's write down these boring goals and objectives , and finally play with fonts”. For the most part, customers do not measure the return on the site: surprisingly, they are interested in the process of working on the site itself, and not in the benefit that it will bring.

    At the same time, performers, speaking of goal-setting for sites, often talk more about functionality than about goals.

    “Goals, tasks” is something like a web developer cargo cult: most studios put a model of the airport out of straw (“The site should provide the visitor with all the necessary information and form a solid image of the company”) and wait for a box to fall from the sky canned food.

    Let's try to figure out how to properly approach the task setting for the site in this four-part article:
    1. Consumer behavior in the digital era - how today's consumer differs from yesterday, and how it affects business.
    2. A site as an instrument of influence - what distinguishes today's site from yesterday, and what you need to remember when deciding to create a new site.
    3. How to set tasks for the site? - specific recommendations for customers and studios. For recipes - scroll to here.
    4. An example of the “Site Purpose” block is a demonstration of what should result in the end.

    Consumer Behavior in the Digital Age

    Over the past 100 years, humanity has very well learned to sell the necessary and unnecessary things and services, and continues to gain momentum. To sell better, marketers have created a variety of models of how consumers make purchasing decisions.

    Every marketer has heard about AIDA (which is almost 100 years old) and about the "sales funnel." The features of these models in their linearity: it is believed that the consumer is moving in a straight line, at each stage removing some objection and approaching the purchase. Linear models are still being actively operated on (including lead generation and conversion, fashionable in Internet marketing), but in many industries they no longer work.

    The fact is that today's consumer is organized in the same way as before: he is trying to solve his problems with the maximum benefit for himself. But consumers had new opportunities to quickly get a huge amount of information from other people, and they began to behave a little differently.

    Between the moment when the consumer remembered a set of brands that could solve his problem, and the moment of purchasing a product or service, the stage of “active assessment of alternatives” significantly increased . It is at this stage that we climb the Internet to study the characteristics of the product, read reviews of other people, read reviews, and so on.

    To understand the current situation, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the two models.

    The key marketing task of any business (which is helped by the company's activities on the Internet) is to reach each representative of the target audience at a time when the opportunity to influence his decision is highest and influence him in the most favorable way for the company.

    Today, businesses pay a lot of attention to the impact on the consumer at the initial stage and the purchase stage (using ATL and BTL), but do not focus on the stages of active assessment of alternatives and experience of use, where the impact is often most powerful and valuable.

    Website as a tool of influence

    There are several ideas that we, as performers, are obligated to inform customers at the pre-project stage of communication with them. Just to make sure they understand what they want. These ideas directly affect goal setting.

    1. Site as a place of communication and site as a product

    Historically, the market refers to sites as software - something like Microsoft Word or Solitaire Solitaire, but opening in a browser. We borrowed some programming languages, an approach to development, and, unfortunately, drove our thinking into a framework.

    Of course, many sites are more likely software: these are services for organizing work, storing data, processing pictures, etc.

    But a huge number of sites (which include almost all corporate sites and online stores) are much closer in meaning to advertising . They provide business communication with consumers in an attempt to convince them to buy (or continue to buy) a product or service.

    • A site as a product is an analogue of a real physical product, service or software. The site visitor solves his tasks directly with his help. They also include news sites and thematic portals.
    • A site as a place of communication is a dedicated space for communication with visitors, not directly related to solving their problems, and intended to convince them to buy a product or service. Even if the site has a calculator of the cost of a product or service, this does not make it a product site.

    Of course, many sites contain both components at the same time, as can be seen in the examples below. When you talk with a client about his site, it is useful to understand how much there should be from the place of communication, and how much from the product.
    Place of communicationProduct

    2. The site does not work without visitors

    A logical but often forgotten observation - the site does not work without visitors. The audience. Traffic Living people who will go to the site because they need something there.

    The flow of visitors to the site is provided by other tools - search engine optimization, contextual and banner advertising, outdoor advertising (with the website address on it), social media and so on.

    Therefore, when we talk about the tasks of the site (and not the online business activity in general), we should only talk about how the site will affect the flow of visitors with certain characteristics. Convert. Encourage target action.

    • “We want a site with 10,000 visitors per day” - this is a task for the Internet strategy as a whole, but not for the site separately.
    • “We want, on average, 1% of visitors who came to the thematic queries from search engines to fill out an application form daily” - this is much more like a task for a site.

    3. The site needs content

    From a visitor’s point of view, a site is a collection of pages linked by links. From the point of view of business, a site is a set of points of contact with a visitor, which should favorably influence his further behavior (and not just some kind of awareness, awareness, etc.).

    In the case of the site as a place of communication, you can influence the behavior in one single way - using the content that is most valuable to the visitor at a given time in terms of content and design.

    It is content that plays a decisive role in keeping users on the “consumer journey” trajectory necessary for the business, as it generates unique experiences and experiences associated with the business or brand (see Google for “content marketing”, “storytelling”, “branded content” "And related).

    A vivid example of a content-centric approach is contained in Coca-Cola’s new media strategy. I highly recommend watching the presentation in two parts .

    In the case of a site as a product, the main role is still played by a positive user experience, therefore engineering materials such as UX (user experience) design and usability are important for them.

    4. The place of communication does not have a main page

    Customers of the sites are used to the approach “I will approve the main page, and then let the manager understand it.” The development of the main page is usually given the main attention, while the internal ones are “finished”.

    However, the site as a place of communication today does not really have a “main” page. Such a site is a set of pages, on any of which the visitor can get first, and the first is the main thing in keeping him on the site.

    Of course, most sites are built on the principle of "tree", because a) we are so used to, and b) it is quite natural in terms of navigation. But in reality, the visitor flow map looks something like this.

    Google Analytics Flow Visualization

    It would seem that the conclusion from this is that all pages are equally important, and the same attention should be paid to the development of each page.

    But this is also not true. Each page is as important as the degree of influence on a particular consumer at a particular point in time.

    If the “Company History” section is really needed only by the director of the company and does not affect any target groups in any way, it can be worked out with less care. If the largest potential customers (of which only 0.01% of all site visitors) need convincing evidence of the company's reliability in order to think about cooperation, then it needs to be worked out very carefully.

    5. One-click rule

    For a long time, the minds of webmasters and marketers were occupied by the unwritten “three-click rule”, according to which the user should be able to find any information on the site in three clicks.

    Today, this rule is obsolete. If we work on existing demand, then visitors get to the site by clicking from a search engine for a relevant request, from contextual or display advertising. Ideally, they should go directly to the page with the information they need at the moment, without making any more clicks at all.

    We offer a “one-click rule”: it should be enough for the user to study the page where he got to make one click, the most profitable for him from the point of view of “consumer travel”.

    If the content, product, service is of value to the consumer and he is involved in communication, then it does not matter how many clicks he will make to satisfy his need.

    If the content for the consumer is completely useless, the best click that he can and should do is cross the browser, closing the window or tab.

    How to set tasks for the site?

    1. Still, goals or objectives?

    First, let’s figure out why the cargo formulation of the “goal-task” is bad, by analogy with a hammer as a tool for hammering nails.
    What does it want at all?
    Increase the comfort of your lifeIncrease the comfort of life for owners and employees
    What exactly does it want?
    Build an eco-friendly wooden house in a yearEarn Digital Dollars for the Year
    What actions will achieve?
    - Plan a house
    - Buy materials
    - Buy tools
    - Build a house according to plan
    - Plan the process (business and marketing strategies)
    - Create tools for implementing the strategy
    - Implement the strategy
    What will help solve problems?
    - Hammer and nails
    - Saw
    - Paints and brush
    - Website
    - Search Engine Optimization
    - Contextual Advertising
    Purpose of tools
    How will the tool contribute to solving the problem?
    A hammer and nails are needed to fasten the boards together and in this project this method is more profitable than using screws and a screwdriver, or ropes for binding.The site is needed for effective communication with consumers at the stage of active assessment of alternatives, since the demand for the proposed product is formed and quite large.
    Thus, the site itself cannot have a goal , just as the hammer lying on the table has no goal. The goal is a business project for Internet promotion.

    The site can be designed to solve certain problems , and the business will solve the problem (to hammer a nail, you have to wave a hammer), and not the site itself.

    Those tasks for which the site is intended should be dictated by a formal or implied strategy (business, marketing, sales), and linked to a certain system that the customer and the web studio should equally understand.

    2. Tasks and requirements

    The purpose of the tool entails its functional characteristics: the hammer must be hard and heavy, have a comfortable grip and not collapse for a long time. Industrial designers, based on these characteristics (or requirements, call it what you want) and using their methods, come up with a hammer design, select materials and create a tool.

    The purpose of the site is effective communication with consumers at different stages of their "journey", help in the most beneficial realization of their needs. Therefore, the tasks of a lower level that the site helps to solve are related to the impact on certain visitors.

    The statement of the problem should answer the questions: what kind of people and what exactly should be doneas a result of interacting with the site. For each formulation, you must be able to explain why they should do just that.

    For instance:
    • Visitors at the stage of active assessment of alternatives and poorly informed about the product (who?)
      Should subscribe to the newsletter (what should they do?) .
    • Visitors who are at the stage of active assessment of alternatives (who?)
      Must make sure that the high price of the goods is explained by the quality of service when they get to the product page from a search engine (what should they do?) .
    • The site should provide all users of the goods (who?)
      An opportunity to make a complaint and suggestions (what to do?) ,
      And representatives of the company (who?) -
      to respond to the complaint with the minimum amount of time (which must be done?) .

    3. Measurability of the result and performance indicators

    I see the indignation of the most advanced marketers: “And where are the specific numbers ?!”

    Let's separate the grains from the chaff. The statement of the problem should imply the physical measurability of the results of the efforts that the business made to solve it. The wording of the examples is measurable, directly or indirectly:
    • The number of new newsletter subscriptions from visitors coming from search engines;
    • Bounce rate for visitors who came from search engines for thematic queries;
    • The presence of a complaint / feedback form and / or message that the client can file a complaint on the main page and on any page where the client can get on a branded request in a search engine;
    • The average time that a manager spends sending a response to a complaint to a client (excluding the time required to formulate a response within the company).
    At the same time, if you are creating a site for the first time, or you did not measure these indicators on the old site, it is impossible to set exact target values!

    They cannot be taken from previous experience, from the head or from competitors' websites, because they are not suitable. Who said that converting an online store to 0.1% is bad? It all depends on the audience, products, market position, the company’s popularity, the quality of incoming traffic, and only at the very end - on the quality of the site’s development.

    4. The perfect spherical site development process in a vacuum

    The correct approach to working on the site is as follows.

    1. The customer provides formulated business goals and a marketing strategy : what, to whom, when and at what price he plans to sell in order to earn a lot of money.
      Business goals are set by the top managers of the Customer: independently, or with the help of external business consultants.
      The marketing strategy is developed internally by the customer, or with the help of a marketing agency.
    2. The customer provides a communication strategy : with whom, what, where, when and how he plans to talk, and what should happen as a result in order for the marketing strategy to be implemented. Including communication strategy affects Internet communications.
      The part relating to Internet communication can be made into a separate document with a title such as “Internet Communication Strategy” or “Internet Presence Strategy”.
      A global communication strategy is developed within the Customer’s company, or with the help of a marketing, branding or communication agency.
      A communication strategy on the Internet can be developed with the help of interactive or digital agencies, or companies specializing in Internet consulting.
      The purpose of the site, the tasks that the site solves, and the requirements for it, should be described here!
    3. If the communication strategy is absent or does not contain clear statement of tasks, the Customer (independently or with the help of Internet consultants) describes the purpose and tasks of the site, as well as prepares the site content (content) and communication policies on the site (content strategy, content plan) which should contribute to the implementation of the marketing strategy.
    4. The customer (independently or with the help of online consultants) formulates site performance indicators.
    5. Web Studio designs the site based on all of the above and develops it.
    6. The customer (independently or with the help of online consultants) sets up tools for measuring performance indicators (Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrica, third-party services, own databases or scripts).
    7. The customer launches the site and (independently or with the help of online consultants) begins to measure and analyze the values ​​of indicators.
    8. According to the results of the analysis, there is a return to step 4 to improve performance.

    It is important to emphasize here that the internet presence is, from a business point of view, an iterative process. It is necessary to constantly measure its effectiveness and constantly “sharpen" the toolkit.

    Today, in the “normal” market development process for a site, some of these steps are either thrown out or carried out by web studios (who are not marketers), which is why investments in Internet promotion are not as effective as they could be.

    An example of the "Site Assignment" block

    Clinic Smile-Plus is a modern dental complex located in the city center, equipped with modern equipment and staffed by highly qualified specialists.

    The marketing strategy, positioning and communication principles of the clinic are presented in the document “Marketing Strategy of the Smile-Plus Clinic” .

    The clinic website is one of the company's key online communication tools, along with the following tools:
    • Search engine optimization
    • Online consultations on the portal,
    • Professional group "Dentistry" on Facebook.

    A detailed description of the segments of the target audience, their needs and scenarios of the needs, as well as the relationship of communication tools and transitions of different consumers between them is presented in the document "Strategy for the online presence of the clinic" Smile-plus " . "

    1. The purpose of the site

    The site is intended for two-way communication of the clinic with two audiences, representatives of each of which can be at various stages of relations with the company.
    1. Clinic Clients:
      • at the beginning of the stage of active assessment of alternatives ("Curious"),
      • close to decision making ("Potential customers"),
      • once used the services of the clinic ("Consumers"),
      • more than once used the services of the clinic ("Permanent").
    2. Professional dentists:
      • young professionals in job search (Interns),
      • high-class specialists in job search ("Pros").

    2. Tasks and requirements

    The site should contribute to the following tasks. (We answer the question “What should happen as a result of interacting with the site?”)

    1. Curious visitors must complete the following actions:
      • make sure that the clinic will solve their problem, and in the best way.
      • make sure that one of the key priorities of the clinic is the quality of the services provided,
      • recognize the level of cost of clinic services as fully consistent with the level of services provided,
      • remember the name of the company.
    2. Potential customers must complete the following actions:
      • find out the cost of the service you are interested in,
      • to make an appointment.
    3. "Consumers" must perform the following actions:
      • go to one of the medical portals and leave a positive review about the clinic,
      • send a complaint about the quality of service through the site, without trying to make a complaint to medical portals or other Internet resources.
    4. “Permanent” should recommend the company’s services to friends, including through social networks.
    5. Interns should make sure that the clinic is the best place to undergo a free internship, recognize the high requirements for internship applicants, and send their resume.
    6. Profi should make sure of the stability of the company and the high level of services and their payment, and send their resume.

    The site is supposed to meet the following requirements. (We answer the question “What should a site be like in order for the problems to be solved?” Based on our understanding of the target audience. These are our hypotheses, of which we are convinced of justice.)

    1. The site should be fully functional and visually attractive on modern smartphones and tablets, as the clinic’s consumers are their active users and, according to independent studies, often look for various products and services with their help.
    2. The maximum traffic to the site is 30,000 visitors per day. The estimate is obtained on the basis of the total frequency of thematic and branded search queries in the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region region.

    3. Website performance metrics

    Site performance will be measured using the following metrics:
    1. The failure rate for each of the audiences and stages of the relationship.
    2. The ratio of the number of visits of "Curious" visitors to the site to the number of their acquaintances with the services and their cost.
    3. The ratio of the number of visits of "Potential customers" to the site to the number of their acquaintances with the cost of services.
    4. The ratio of the number of visits of "Potential customers" to the site to the number of their appointments.
    5. The number of positive reviews about the clinic in relation to the number of visits of "Consumers" to the site.
    6. The number of recommendations of the "Constant", initiated on the site.
    7. The ratio of visits "Interns" to the number of submitted resumes.
    8. The ratio of visits "Profi" to the number of submitted resumes.

    The exact method of calculating metrics should be described after designing the site.

    The site will also be used to calculate the following metrics.
    1. Average response time to complaint.
    2. The ratio of the number of complaints left on the site to the number of negative comments about the clinic on other resources.

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