Using Brand Research to Build a Better Website – Part 3

So far in the Using Brand Research to Build a Better Website series, you’ve learned how to set goals to develop a web design strategy and how to use research to create the right messaging and navigation for your website. Now, it’s time to learn how to get consumers involved and give them the best opportunities to interact with your brand and have the best brand experience when they visit your website.

brand research web designWhat do you want people to do when they visit your website? You identified this as one of your goals in Part 1 of this series, and now, you need to think about the ways you can motivate visitors to complete those actions and much more.

For example, simply offering a “Buy Now” link next to a product description isn’t enough anymore. People expect more from website and brand experiences, and you need to determine what that “more” is for your brand and website. The best way to figure it out is through brand research.

Think about it this way. Five of the most common actions and activities that brands can enable consumers to complete through website experiences are:

  1. Make a purchase.
  2. Learn and gather information.
  3. Contribute content (for example, writing a product review or contributing blog posts).
  4. Converse (for example, through blog comments or an on-site forum community).
  5. Browse products and content through virtual window-shopping.

Your goal for your website is to offer as many opportunities for visitors to get actively involved with your brand as possible. In other words, create on-site experiences that deliver information, entertainment, and conversations that your target audience is interested in. Creating these types of brand experiences not only make your website more usable and valuable to visitors, but it also makes it more social and engaging. An important part of brand building is building relationships with consumers that lead to brand awareness, recognition, recall, trial, repurchase, loyalty, and advocacy.

Your website plays a huge role as a catalyst to all of those brand behaviors as well as word-of-mouth marketing that can spread far and wide across the social web. With that in mind, it’s critical that you include social elements in your web design, so people can join the conversation and share content with their own audiences. Let your brand advocates help you spread the word about your brand promise and positive brand experiences by making it easy for them to accomplish the five actions and activities listed above.

Consumer research plays an integral role in determining what kind of actions and activities to offer on your website. Conduct surveys to learn what brand experiences consumers are most likely to use, enjoy, and talk about, and then prioritize their inclusion on your site accordingly. It’s also important to survey consumers about their perceptions of your brand and various online activities to ensure those activities accurately reflect your brand promise and meet consumers’ expectations for your brand. The last thing you want to do is confuse consumers about your brand by offering experiences on your website that don’t match your brand or consumers’ expectations for it. This causes confusion, which is the number one brand killer.

Once you understand the types of activities and experiences consumers want from your website, you can build out your website and launch it to the world. However, your job isn’t done after your site launches. There is performance tracking and analysis as well as post-launch research that needs to be done on an ongoing basis to ensure continued success for both your brand and your website. That’s the topic of Part 4 of the Using Brand Research to Build a Better Website series, so stay tuned to the AYTM blog.

If you missed previous parts of the Using Brand Research to Build a Better Website series, follow the links below to read them now:

Images: Flavio Takemoto

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.