It’s incredibly important that you understand your brand and your audience. For some, I may be preaching to the choir, but many times I’ve found that customers will simply want a good looking site with information about their organization and a contact us form. However, for you to build a successful website, you need to understand who you are talking too, and what preconceived notions the audience already has of the brand.

It’s your responsibility to dive deeper. The most successful projects that I’ve been involved in including a deep conversation about the customer’s audience and exactly what the customer wanted to accomplish online. As you are reading through these questions below you may feel that they are a bit ridiculous, or too intrusive, but I’m telling you with great confidence that by asking these kinds of questions you will be putting yourself in a better position to build a successful site. Actually, you’ll be putting yourself in a position to maintain a successful organization.

Note for other PM’s – Remember, your customers love talking about their organization. Once you start asking these types of questions you’ll notice that your customer will begin seeing your sincere desire to understand them.

– Who is your audience?
– What do you want your audience to “feel” about your organization?
– Does your audience feel comfortable with the internet?
– What do you want your audience to do to engage with you on your website?
– How will people find you online?
– What will people do when they find you online?
– Will people want to share your information with others? If so, why? How do we ensure they want to share the things that you want them to share?
– Will people want to tell you about themselves? Why? How will you get them to tell you about them? What will you do with that information once you have it?
– Why does your organization exist?
– Imagine your ideal customer. Now describe them to me.
– How would you define a successful website?

Continue asking questions and recording everything you hear. Another practice that can help you in defining your brand and audience is to simply research what already exists online. If your brand is large enough, or significant enough there is a great chance that it’s already being discussed online. Find out what people are already saying. Where is the brand popular? Where is it lacking? Does the existing image line up with their desired image? What can you do to help align the desires?

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