Your website is online. You expect people to visit your website, fair enough. Is that it? The answer is no. The website is not there to provide information only, although this is one of the main objectives. The question is how do you make your website strategically contribute in achieving the overall organisation's marketing objectives and get the website to pay for itself?
Does this seem to be complicated? Well, let us look at it carefully. Ask yourself: what are we trying to achieve by going online? Of course there are some generic reasons like reaching wider markets, not being left behind or simply because the competitors have websites. Also, you may want to add value to the services you provide to your customers, showing them that you care.
A website represents the organisation in the cyberspace, thus it serves as a strong marketing tool plus a front end to service customers. This is one important objective; to provide e-services to customers. Customers like to do things online, more than anything it is personal. That is, you can have your transaction done from home at 12 midnight with a click of button without having to wait in a long queue while enjoying a hot drink in a cold night. Who does not love that?
AIPD (Attracting, Informing, Positioning and Delivering) is a model to demonstrate how four strategic functions could be integrated to deliver the desired strategic results of making profit and marketing your brand on the web.
Attracting is the ability of the website to bring the customer to the information it contains. This is achieved by making people aware of the web presence. This can be done through different channels by having the domain name (website address) visible in all the offline (or online) advertisements, plus any paper work or publications by the organisation. Also, telling people that they can do things online by visiting your website. In addition to that, if visitors have a nice experience browsing your website, they are likely to visit it again and guess what, they will tell others about your website and how good it is because people like to share their wonderful experience with others.
Informing is the delivery of content, information, service or persuasive elements of the website. It is important to choose the right content to be delivered, not just put anything in there. There is no right or wrong in terms of the amount of content to be displayed in the homepage. You have to make sure it gives what the users would like to know about. Take good care of information architecture, which outlines how the website is structured hierarchically in terms of what pages come first and where each page leads and how pages are grouped together.
Positioning is the role of the website in promoting the organisation objectives through the design, appearance and content of the site. It is important to make the homepage give the first impression right because the first impression lasts for long time. The design should reflect the organisation’s objectives, mission, vision, and values. Layout design, eye-catching corporate colors are some basic fundamentals that should be considered when designing the website.
Finally, delivering is the capacity of the website to provide information, services or products as required by the user. Just ask yourself; who is going to use the website? If you know the answer, deliver to the users what they need and add value to that. If you do not know the answer, why going through the hassle of having a website?
When these four elements are successfully interlinked they can produce profit-oriented outcomes (reduced costs, increased sales, other revenues, or simply add value to customers) and create a sense of website branding. Website branding is where the website establishes a presence in the minds of customers, independently of the product or service it promotes.
I can summarise the above in one sentence “enrich the user experience and achieve your goals” and take great care of layout design, information architecture, users-orientation, interactivity and functionality.
So, does your website AIPD?