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Copyright 2003 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.
Reach Web Site Goals by Understanding the Customer Decision Making
Process (Part 1 of 2)
by Bobette Kyle
An important question to answer when creating or revising a
Web site is "What are the goals of this site?" because the
answer will drive your site design and marketing decisions.
A good way to choose the correct goals is to think in terms
of the customer decision making process.
Customer Decision Making Process
Not all visitors to a site have the same needs. Karon
Thackston, copywriter and proprietor at
explains by breaking the customer
decision making process (i.e. buying process) into at least
four stages: Need/Want Recognition, Information Search,
Evaluation, and Purchase.
If a visitor has already made the decision to purchase a
product or service, for example, she needs easy ordering
options. If the customer is early in the decision making
process, however, she needs more general information.
Information or Sales?
Dee Kreidel, owner of Dax Development Corporation
recommends identifying a site as
either an information site (for early decision stages) or a
sales site (for late decision stages), but not both:
"Our experience with our clients demonstrates that most
people will not shop at a site if they see it as an
informational site because their state of mind/focus is
different when they are there - they aren't necessarily
looking to shop, they are wanting information."
One way to keep sales and information content separate is to
set up a "hub and spoke" system of Web sites.
Putting it Together with a Hub and Spoke System
James Maduk developed and runs his own "hub and spoke"
system of Web sites. He uses a two step process to guide
potential customers from his informational "hub",
www.jamesmaduk.com, to one or more of his 55+ sales "spokes"
(summarized here on the James Maduk hub site).
"The purpose of my main site www.jamesmaduk.com (hub) is not
to sell. Rather its to 'buy'," James explains. "I want to
'buy' my visitor's email address."
Step one in his sales process originates from the hub. James
does daily online events for free, radio broadcasts, live
webcasts, gives away free ebooks, asks for newsletter
subscriptions, etc. for the express purpose of collecting a
new visitor's email address and educating them.
"I want to earn the right to sell something to them. I want
to earn their trust and rapport." By providing an email
address, potential buyers open the door for James to do just
James helps a visitor through the decision making process by
initiating step two of his sales process - an autoresponder
series - after she has opted in with an email address. Each
email, one to three a week, includes a short tip and directs
readers to one of James' sales pages or his small business
internet marketing "member's only" site.
Attract the Right Visitors
By understanding your site visitors' decision making process
and providing them with the right information, you can
convert more visitors to purchase. Attracting more of the
*right* visitors can improve conversions as well.
In Part 2, "Reach Your Web Site Marketing Goals: Profit By
Attracting the Right Visitors"
will take a look at some tips for attracting the right
customers to your site and ideas for profiting through
About the Author
Bobette Kyle draws upon 10+ years of Marketing/Executive
experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in
Her book, "How Much for Just the Spider? Strategic Web Site
Marketing for Small-Budget Businesses", shows how to better
find, target, and attract Web customers.
Read about it at WebSiteMarketingPlan.com -