Is Your Website Working For or Against You?
You should expect a lot from your website, as it should be one of the center pieces of your Digital Marketing strategy. Your website is still the best, cost-effective way to get your message to customers and potential business. It is also an important part of your digital sales funnel which should include Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and even email marketing.
Websites and their functions continue to evolve. Especially in the last few years as websites have moved from the online “business card” and “online brochure” style to a much more dynamic and interactive experience, yet I see businesses continue to just throw something up “so we can be found”.
This can be driven by costs or time, but mostly a lack of understanding of the true value of a website. Too often it is that “thing you do” – like getting business cards and maybe letterhead. The faster and cheaper you do it, the better. Unfortunately, you end up missing out on some of the most powerful opportunities to attract and retain customers.
Now, I am not talking about the ever present fancy, icon-dancing, music-playing websites that bombard those attempting to access it. Nor is this a cost issue. As a matter of fact, some of the worst sites I have seen have been the most expensive. The key isn’t to throw money at a website, but to understand its purpose and spend your money intelligently.
I am talking about a website that becomes your best employee – working 24×7 without a break, during holidays even – and no complaints. A website that can train and support your customers, saving you time and money in customer support. A website that becomes the center piece of your Digital Sales Funnel, where the site’s visitor becomes a customer. A website that gives the information that the customer needs and prompts them to contact your business to book an appointment or place an order.
Let’s look at some ways to improve your website:
1. Make it Part of an Overall Digital Marketing Strategy.
Don’t have a Strategy? Sit down and create one. Make sure it includes all pieces of Digital Marketing – Website, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Blogging, Content Creation, and Videos.
Identify your business’ marketing goals and how you plan to get there. Identify your target audience and where you find them on the Internet. This will help identify where to spend your time and money.
The strategy will help you identify where to budget your money and help you to see the big picture from your cash flow point of view.
Bring in help if you need to. This is where having that expertise will help tremendously and save you money down the road.
2. Update your website often.
A website that is not updated regularly is missing important information for potential customers and will slowly fade away as Google and the other search engines look at your website as a dead website and push it farther down the results list.
Not sure what to say? Keep your site active with information on what is happening in your business and industry that is relevant to your customers. Make it worth their while to come and visit your website often.
3. Engaging Content.
Great content encourages engagement, creates deeper relationships and generates leads. It shows the viewer you have an understanding of your industry and sets you up as a leader within that industry.
How to come up with content? Start with what you know. Talk to existing clients to understand what information they are looking for. Additionally, collect websites, books, and online articles that are relevant and use them to understand what topics are needed out there.
4. Make it dynamic – Blogs, Videos, and Links to other relevant sites.
Nothing worse than showing up to a website that is a wall of text. We read less than we should, but we are more likely to watch a video. Use this to your advantage. Make video blogs and training videos. Remember: keep them short and to the point. They do not need to be professionally done, but they should still look professional.
5. Make it Social.
Connect your website to your Social Media sites. Don’t just tack on an icon and a link to Facebook etc. Get all your platforms working together and supporting each other.
If your product or service is photogenic, use the power of Pinterest or Instagram to encourage your clients to post pictures and videos on how they use your product. Encourage your customer to feel that they are part of a community.
Your Facebook page should be full of information and encourage readers to not only engage and interact, but head over to your website for more information. Your LinkedIn posts should connect its readers back to your website so it can do its job. Host your videos on your own YouTube Channel and link them back to the website.
Make sure your logos and colouring scheme are the same between sites. Don’t just repeat info from the website on Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter, but get them supporting each other with relevant, dynamic information.
When referring back to your website, don’t just drop your potential customer on the front page and hope they find their way, setup special landing pages that are relevant to the Ad or Social Media post. This ensures you message is consistent and your visitor doesn’t feel lost.
6. Answer the question.
We find about 85% of website traffic is coming from Search Engines. That means most potential customers are getting to your website because they have a question.
In general, you have about 15 seconds to answer that question, or they will move on to the next site. Making sure your website answers potential questions requires planning and constant reviews as questions may change. This is where a professional digital marketer can make a difference.
Rethink the way you look at your website, not as a stand-alone “thing”, but part of a Digital Sales Funnel that integrates with Social Media, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Email and paper-based marketing that has the potential reach out and bring in new clients.