9 Questions that need to be asked before starting your website

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  • Online Marketing Strategy

When consumers have problems, what do they do? they search the internet for answers.

By becoming their source of information we can build trust but we can’t be everything to everybody. We need to carefully evaluate who is our target market, how do we provide value, and what questions do we need to answer. I outline nine questions that we should think about before starting our website.

1) Who is our target market?

Segmentation is pivotal to our business. Not everybody is going to want what we sell and we cannot be everything to everybody.

We need to focus on a target market i.e.

  • Are we B2b or B2C
  • If B2b Do we sell to big companies or small companies
  • If B2C is our target market looking for luxury or lowest price

Break up your whole market into numbered segments i.e. thrifty, busy, luxurious … and write out qualities and attributes of each segmented customer.  It may be a good idea to write out customer profiles for each segmented customer i.e.  his or her age, location, likes, dislikes, how they spend their time…

By understanding our whole market we can have a better understanding who we should target.

2) What segment to target?

Even the biggest companies like Walmart have a target market i.e. the thrifty consumer. By picking a target market we can:

  • Focus on gaining the necessary skills to service our target market.
  • Allow customers to refer us because they know exactly who we serve.
  • Sell premium prices above the market prices because we produce immense value for a few rather than a little value for a lot.
  • We know where are customers hang out
  • We know what benefits our customers want and how to achieve them.

By defining a target market we gain clarity and can become relevant to our potential customer.

3)  What are the pain points of my target market?

As consumers we buy because we have pain points and urgent problems that need solving.  Pain points could be to:

  • improve health
  • save money
  • reduce costs
  • increase revenues…

Helping to understand the pain points of our target market will allow us to concentrate on gaining the skills to solve these problems.

4) What benefits do I offer my target market?

You have heard the saying

sell the hole not the drill

When we understand the our target markets pain points. We can now think about how to solve these problems and the respective benefits our target market will receive when problems are solved.

Write a list of problems are target market, the solutions we provide, and the benefit they will receive when these problems are solved.

5) What is my unique value proposition?(UVP)

Putting our benefits and solution we offer all together, we can create a unique value proposition. As Peep Laja the founder of CXL points out:

The value proposition is usually a block of text (a headline, sub-headline and one paragraph of text) with a visual (photo, hero shot, graphics).

There is no one right way to go about it, but I suggest you start with the following formula:

  • Headline. What is the end-benefit you’re offering, in 1 short sentence. Can mention the product and/or the customer. Attention grabber.
  • Sub-headline or a 2-3 sentence paragraph. A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom and why is it useful.
  • 3 bullet points. List the key benefits or features.
  • Visual. Images communicate much faster than words. Show the product, the hero shot or an image reinforcing your main message.

The UVP is essential part of our home page and sales letters.  A clearly defined UVP will get the attention of our ideal customer.

6) What are the questions that need to be addressed before someone will buy?

Nowadays consumers will check out at least five pieces of content before making a buying decision. Often the business that provides the most value-rich content will get a call and generate a lead.

For example Marcus Sheridan in his book “they ask, you answer”. Marcus discusses how in 2009 he was on the brink of going under. One night he decided to turn to the internet to find answers to help his business and his solution to saving his business was – to start a blog.

On his blog Marcus answered every question about pools, in particular fiberglass pools of which he sold. Every blog post was honest, transparent and clear an no subject was untouchable from price to competitors.

What Marcus found was three things:

  1. He was everywhere on Google for fiberglass pools.  You search anything about fiberglass pools and you find his website.
  2. His closing rate went up because everybody he met with had read all his pages. He found that the more pages they read the better chance they would buy.
  3. Consumer Trust increased. Because he was so transparent and would answer all the tough questions such as price and competitors; Prospects were disarmed and with such honesty and felt he was the right person to call
  4. He did not have to spend hours with the customer answering  questions because of his website they were already well informed

The blog had saved the business.  Marcus’s blogging strategy can work in any industry if you do the following:

  • Write out questions – make sure you answer them, use project descriptions, case studies, become of the habit of informing and not selling, increase page views equals = increase trust = ability to close sale and you being seen as the trusted advisor.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention competitors -how you differ, or tell then how to do things because in the end they can do the research themselves.  Your not saying anything bad about them, just giving points of difference.
  • Also don’t be afraid to tell give them the nuts and bolts and your business secret formula. David Oglivy the famous copywriter in the 60’s would create advertisements suggesting how to create headlines, write copy, basically, give out the secret sauce of his business. David got flack and externally but he knew that farmers farm, accountants count – they d0nt write copy and when they try and get frustrated who are they are going to turn to, but the writers of the ad they are looking

Don’t fear being too specific with our questions we need to answer such as pricing and competitors. Your customers can find out for themselves. However, by giving them the information we are seen as trustworthy.

7) What proof do I have that I deliver on my UVP?

Do we actually provide results and solve problems? Consumers always ask these questions. We need to provide logo’s, case studies and testimonials that show we can provide results.

8) What is my call to urgency?

We live in a busy world, bombarded by messages, emails and notifications by friends, family and businesses. Consequently, for us stand out we really need to connect and provide value to our target market. We need to our products and services an urgent manner that will get our ideal customer off the couch calling us?

  • Use headlines – For example, “on average customers save 30% when using our products” or “I lost 34 pounds in a month using John’s system”
  • Use a guarantee – easing customers anxiety by alleviating risk with a guarantee.  If you don’t believe your products and services can’t provide benefits and results to your target customer – why should they.
  • Provide discounts
  • Have free trials

9) What is my sales cycle?

People want different information at different times and giving them this info at the right stage is fundamental to a successful sales cycle. I suggest :

    1. Have an optin – Where we sign up for the newsletter and receive one piece of free content. This piece of content is usually extremely helpful and valuable ranging from a video, an article, or a white paper.
    2. Create an app – Marketing website Hubspot is good example of this. The founder was evaluating websites and thought there must be a way of automating this process and created the website grader, put in your website url and viola you get a grade with an evaluation. Having an app is a good way to get emails and start the sales cycle.
    3. Provide value on every touch – Every contact with prospects should be followed with a piece of value. These pieces of value can range from articles, to videos, to market insights and triggers. By providing value we become a trusted advisor and vital solution to our customers problems. Always need to think next step
    4. Mention trigger events – Value proposition are great but sometimes we need something else. Gain attention using external events such as market conditions, percentages, industry standards, upcoming market issues and what competitors are doing. For example an anticipated lumber increase resulting in furniture price increases is pertinent to a furniture salesman.
    5. Provide Youtility – Jay Baer wrote a great book called Youtility. The premise being brands in 2017 should provide to their customers regardless helps their business or not. A good example is Hilton suggests. Hilton suggest is a twitter handle where people can ask tourism questions about any city and a Hilton employee will answer them. Questions range from where should I stay, and what are some good restaurants in the city. Hilton suggests does not necessarily promote its’ hotels but gives honest answers. You bet this practice might not bring dividends overnight but eventually will great brand awareness and a favourable position in peoples minds.
    6. Always think next step – For example in our optin we could give them a link for more information,  a consultation,  a free trial , low cost low barrier entry product, or a form/checklist to qualify and see if we are right for them. Basically we are creating a funnel driving our ideal customer further and further down the funnel.


By answering these nine questions. Building your website will be a lot easier.




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