Your site positioning is the website equivalent to product positioning in market strategy and product strategy. You need to relate your website to the benefits offered to target users, and locate it in relation to its strategic focus on defined benefits for defined target users. Position your website to play towards strengths and away from weaknesses.

The classic marketing concept of product positioning is closely related to market segment focus. Positioning targets a product for specific market segments, with specific product needs, at specific prices. The same product can be positioned in many different ways. The illustration below shows an example taken from Philip Kotler’s book Marketing Management. The example shows how Kotler looks at the positioning of an instant breakfast drink, relative to the key variables price and speed. We think you can see how you can apply this concept to your website, positioning your website as if it were a product:

Another common framework for classic product positioning is taken from a series of questions. As you apply this idea to the Web, think about the Web version of the classic product positioning statement. You can position a product using a positioning statement that answers the important questions:

  • For whom is the product designed?
  • What kind of product is it?
  • What is the single most important benefit it offers?
  • What is its most important competitor?
  • How is it different from that competitor?
  • What is the customer benefit of that difference?

For example, the following are positioning statements used by Palo Alto Software to focus marketing for two new products:

  • For the businessperson who is starting a new company, launching new products, or seeking funding or partners, Business Plan Pro is software that produces professional business plans quickly and easily. Unlike (deleted), Business Plan Pro is a stand-alone product, and requires no other programs to buy or learn.
  • For business owners and managers who oversee their company’s marketing programs, Marketing Plan Pro is software that creates and helps manage professional Web plans. Unlike (deleted), Marketing Plan Pro provides a system for scheduling and tracking the entire marketing process from plan to action.

As a specific example of website positioning, consider this positioning statement used by Palo Alto Software to position this site,

  • For the person developing a business plan, offers directly relevant free information including dozens of sample plans, wizards, tools, and content. Unlike more general small business information sites, is focused on business planning and is full of valuable, real information.

Some positioning strategies will work better than others. Here again, strategy is focus. The best positioning plays to your company’s strengths and the product’s strengths, and away from weaknesses. Position your product to reach the buyers whose profiles most closely match needs you serve, in the channels you can reach, and at the prices you set.

AvatarSabrina Parsons

Sabrina Parsons is a successful Internet expert, veteran of several successful Internet ventures, and co-founder of her own consulting company Lighting Out Consulting. She is currently CEO of Palo Alto Software.