Want to make sure your website is a success? Before you start developing a strategy, meeting with designers, or writing copy for a new site, make sure you have a clear understanding of the 3 elements that can spell the difference between the success and failure of one of your most important marketing tools: your website.
If your website acts more like a brochure, sitting on a shelf to be read, than like a salesperson, out in the world touting your company’s key selling points, it’s time to make a change.
Key Element #1: Inbound Marketing Strategy
Your website’s inbound marketing strategy is it’s way of enticing visitors to come check you out. Primarily, this would consist of the following elements:
- Search Engine Optimization & Marketing (SEO / SEM)
- Inbound Links
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Online Advertising
- Traditional Advertising & Marketing Efforts
Key Element #2: Well-Defined Traffic Patterns & Call-to-Action Strategy
If you can master Inbound Marketing by driving the right visitors to your site, then the next most important factor to consider is: what do you want them to do once they get there? By defining traffic patterns and showing new visitors how to best interact with you (ie: ‘if you’re in this industry, read this report’; or ‘if you’re comparing products, watch this video’), you’ll be better able to lead them to the right information to make better decisions about your company, product or service.
The call to action is by far one of the most important areas to focus on when developing your website layout. Your visitor’s will always want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’, and the call to action will not only provide an answer to that question, it will allow you to gather very valuable information about your target audience. If you ask for them to submit an email address in order to download a report or watch a video, you now have valuable information that will help you to determine where your best leads come from (and where they don’t), so you can make more informed decisions on where to spend your time and money to pursue new leads.
And if they’ve opted to receive information from you, you can then send a follow-up email with more information to continue the conversation and help them make a more informed decision. Which leads us to our final point: the follow-up strategy.
Key Element #3: Follow-Up Strategy
The 3rd most important element in your website strategy is in the follow-up. If you have valuable information to provide to your viewers, you may want to place it behind a form on a landing page where they must provide contact information in order to access it. This allows you to (as long as they’ve opted in) follow up with those interested prospects by email, phone, or snail-mail in order to move toward the next step.
If you have a well-rounded social media community, you can follow up with prospects in that space; provided they have taken the initiative to connect with you there (see Key Element #2). Once a website viewer chooses to follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, or Subscribe to your YouTube channel, your visibility in front of them moves from a one-time random hit on your website to an active, ongoing, and long-term conversation (as long as you are updating those communities regularly).
The TakeAway: If your website is an online brochure, with interesting information that doesn’t do anything more than lie on a page and wait to be read: your website is not working for you. If you are ready to get your website to start working for you (ie: a salesperson you only pay for once), then be sure to dig deep into your strategy with these key elements in mind before even writing a single page of copy.