Is Your Business RIPE for Growth - with Infographic
4 Types of Questions for Business Leaders about the Web
Let’s demystify the internet!
Are you clear whether or not your business is maximizing its potential on the web? I’ve found it’s quite rare that a business takes full advantage of the opportunities the internet offers. Maybe you are content with just having a professional online presence to represents your brand. That’s perfectly OK and we call that “3rd level”. But aren’t you at least a little intrigued about the success leverage that comes with web leadership? If so, then read along, my friend:
To take that leap is to shift your thinking and be that rare business that stands out with confident, levered action. That requires a different kind of relationship with your customers and internet prospects, one that can result in quantum leaps in growth.
Let’s cut a path through the thick jungle of web analytics and focus on how your company is represented on the internet with a clarifying model. It's one thing to have a professional website that conveys confidence in your company to users. It's entirely another to be a niche leader. And it's yet another dimension to make the transition to customer-centered leadership, where the biggest gains are realized. Answering the questions below can help find where your business’ web is at on the 5-level model.
The intent of the 5th Level Web model is to give your business great advantage by giving you more clarity about how to best use the Internet. The clarity gives confidence. The confidence, applied to right action, creates results.
Is your business RIPE for growth via the internet? RIPE spells out 4 types of clarity-creating questions:
R= relationship, I = information, P = purpose, E = engagement
Let’s examine them now in detail:
Relationship: If you use an internet firm, what is the nature of your relationship with them?
What is the scope of what your internet firm handles for you? Is it purely technical or do they serve a marketing function as well? If they serve a marketing function, how does information and project management flow between your company and theirs? Is it hierarchical, with you or your managers dictating what the web company will do on your behalf? Or, does the information also flow the other way, with the firm serving a consultative function by advising you on how to best benefit from internet marketing? If it’s a mix of hierarchical and consultative relationship (most of these situations are), which aspect dominates? If there is a consultative role, does the firm help you better understand the information needs of your market with web-based research like keyword search volume and social media trends?
Beyond the consultative and hierarchical relationship models, is there a joint study of your prospect and customer so your company and your internet firm are operating from shared knowledge of your customer and prospect that you discover together?
A 5th level web presence grows from a partnership relationship with a web firm in which you both study your customer and prospect from different angles so you operate together from a shared base of knowledge about the customer and the web-using prospective customer.
Information: What information do you use to make web decisions?
How do you know your web presence is successful? Are you making decisions based on gut instinct, personal impressions, or opinions of friends, associates, and employees? Or, have you evolved to operating from a clear competitive analysis that objectively shows the relative strengths of your web presence versus your key competitors? Do you know whether your traffic and conversions are trending upwards or downwards and what controllable factors influence those numbers?
Best of all, are you using a detailed study of customer and prospect behavior, both on and off the web, to tailor the experience to best meet their media demands and position your business, in their minds, as the leader in your niche?
In addition to benchmarking with a thorough competitive analysis, a 5th level web draws guiding information from a study of the customer and their demands on your business and web media, from their point of view.
What is the purpose of your company being on the web?
How clear are you on the purpose of your company’s web presence? Do you have a website simply because you “know you need to be on the internet”? Have you given much thought as to what it could do for you if all its potential was maximized? If your purpose is to generate leads or increase sales, what is your general strategy towards accomplishing that? Do you see your website working like old-school advertising as if was a brochure or print ad? Or do you see it as a resource for your customers and potential customers to help them be more empowered consumers? Do you see the potential of using the internet to develop a relationship with the marketplace as a trusted advisor?
The purpose of 5th Level Web is to serve customers, including attention customers, offering what is important to them that can be delivered via web media.
Engagement: How engaged are the top minds in your company with creating your web content?
Do you see internet marketing as an activity to be delegated to a webmaster or external firm like a box to be checked? Or is the leadership at your company actively engaged in collaborating with them to create web content that answers questions and solves problems for customers and potential customers? It’s likely that the top minds at your company have intellectual assets that can help the marketplace make more informed decisions about what your company offers. Harvesting this in the form of empowering content can create benefits like better branding and a shorter sales cycle. /
A 5th level web company has the leadership engaged in creating content that empowers their prospects and customers.
Leadership begets success. Your prospects and customers likely spend enough of their media time on the internet so you have to win the leadership space in their minds there or you won’t win it anywhere. Niche leadership on the internet isn’t something you can buy. While it’s likely your company needs an external firm to provide the consultative guidance, design savvy technical capabilities, and wordsmithery needed for a professional web presence, it is in the holistic integration of these capabilities with the industry specific, proprietary knowledge that resides in the best and brightest minds of your company s leadership that the real magic can happen.