6 seller secrets to building a killer branded website

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The conventional way of viewing marketing is that there are brand marketers and direct response marketers with very different tasks and goals -- it is sort of the great industry divide. But while the KPIs of one group may differ from those of the other, there's a lot we can learn from people on the flipside from us.

In my view, online sellers have a strong edge when it comes to building powerful and compelling websites and online experiences. They know what works for their needs and how to get it done. Here are six approaches they use for websites that brand marketers should consider.

6 seller secrets to building a killer branded website

Have clear objectives, goals, and measures

A direct response site is built for the express purpose of delivering on a clear and simple set of objectives -- driving sales, purchase frequency, basket size, or lead gen rate. Many brands that don't sell online don't have the same sense of focus when they build their presences. They may have generalized objectives, a laundry list of creative brand experiences, house product information, or any of a host of other reasons. But they often don't put KPIs and measurement in place that assess performance or identify ways to improve.

Part of this is because "branding" appears to be a more elusive objective than sales. But in my view, "branding" should be measured in distinct concrete actions such as CRM program adds, Facebook "likes," Twitter follows, video views, pages consumed, etc. Whether or not these measures are a perfect determinant of branding success is unimportant -- clearly they aren't. But any brand should be able to identify tangible actions that indicate brand development. Just because these measures aren't perfect doesn't mean we would be better off flying blind.

To determine your brand website KPIs, consider:

Your purchase funnel
What steps does the consumer need to take in order to ultimately make a purchase? How can the site speed people through the steps or get more people on their journey?

Your biggest needs
In general, most brands need to increase awareness, purchase, or buying rate. Identify KPIs that reflect your greatest need.

Your purchase cycle
Identify steps that reflect the hours, days, weeks, or months in the buying cycle. If there is a business reason, for example, for why you want people to sign up for monthly emails, then why shouldn't you measure your site on the extent to which it drives them?

Then design your measurement plan at the same time as you are designing your site. That way you can ensure that you will have the best possible data on which to measure success and optimize. If you already have a site, take a couple hours to learn about many of the measurement and testing solutions available so you identify data partners that can truly meet your needs.