So, you’ve decided to launch a new business and need to get noticed with a new website.
But, before all the designing, developing, content creation, outreach and performance measuring begins, there’s a few things that you need to know.
Before we get down into the detail, I'd like to tell you a quick story which will help you draw a simple comparison to help you develop new website marketing strategies.
Imagine a large expanse of water, swimming in the water is a shoal of fish. You toss breadcrumbs in hoping to get a few nibbles, but only a single fish pops its head above the water for a bite. The rest just swim on by paying the bread no attention at all, over time the bread just disappears and disintegrates.
Now, imagine you’ve done some research and discovered the fish in this particular stretch of water are partial to brown bread over white, or smaller crumbs over larger ones. The next time you throw your breadcrumbs into the water, you choose a nice brown loaf and cut these into perfect little squares, you see them all swarming around for a bite.
You may ask yourself what have fish got to do with new website marketing strategies! Well, I'm not asking you to be experts on fish, but I am asking you to think like a digital marketer before your start your website project. The point I am making is how you research, plan, design and launch your new website makes the difference between attracting the right type of customers who will engage with your content, services and product, or attracting the odd visitor who doesn't really understand what your offering.
Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine.
What Does This Mean?
You must know what you want to achieve.
You must understand your brand and buyer personas.
You must have a strategy and execution plan to achieve your objectives.
You must track your data, allowing your website and business to adapt.
The good news is that this can be broken down and tackled stage by stage.
"You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology"
- Steve Jobs
An effective strategy identifies business goals and website objectives, which in turn creates actionable ways to achieve those goals. Website design is not reactive, everything should be planned out even before that very first design concept is created.
Success depends on the right strategy. This can be separated into three separate phases – the strategy (researching what type of bread the fish will like!), the experience (how many fish did you attract?) and performance measuring (how many of the fish took a bite?)
Who You Are and Who You're Customers Are
Before undertaking a single design or content activity, you need to define who you are and what you offer. A business with a clearly defined purpose and mission statement will organically answer its own question of who its ideal buyer personas are.
This is imperative. The worst question a visitor can ask of any business website when browsing is ‘what do they do?’
How to do This
Develop ideal buyer personas for your business, by profiling your customers and asking what their wants, needs and problems are, you are in a greater position to develop a website design and content that will engage with them.
For example, if you sell cheap furniture online, sell cheap furniture. Don’t tell visitors you’re ‘an interior design connoisseur.’ Develop a website design and content strategy that will nurture your customers through the awareness, consideration and decision process to position your company as the goto business for making their purchase.
Focus on your USPs. If you pride yourself on a one day delivery, highlight this! If you offer a ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme, highlight this!
Be who you are. Define why customers need to buy from you.
Deliver content that will inform, educate and delight your customers to further develop your relationship with them. Remember, your website is trying to take your users on a journey. Don’t create pages that disengage your sales and marketing funnel. If you do you’ll end up with a website full of good content, but no user journey.
Hone Your Brand
Your brand is who you are. Everything about it should stand out. Think of Starbucks and Nike. You’d be hard pushed to find anyone that won’t recognise who they are.
If completely re-branding, it must be consistent. From the logo to the look of the site, to any strapline, visitors should instantly know you online. This is where you should be getting your creative hats on!
We see many websites launched with good brands, but over time the brand gets watered down because of inconsistent design, fonts and colours.
Remember 5-7 seconds is all you get to make an impression. That’s not a lot of time. All branding should be able to be recognised that quickly. There’s no need to plan a visual treasure hunt for visitors to discover who you are.
Consider the Design…Carefully
Any new website must be up-to-date with all current trends. If not, you’ll be re-designing your website again in a matter of months.
Don’t forget that website browsers have become increasingly sophisticated. They demand a user experience, not a library of information.
To complement any website, you’ll need to have complete social media integration. More people search for products and services through social media than Google. The odds are that visitors may land on your site, AFTER, having seen a Facebook ad or interesting tweet.
More people search on mobile devices than on laptops or desktops. If you’re website isn’t responsive, or gives a poor user experience on a mobile device, you may find yourself back at the drawing board faster than you would have thought possible!
51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone.
Content, Outreach and SEO
The name of the game is to get buyers to come to you. To build a rapport with them, turn them into leads and make the decision to buy from you a no-brainer.
How do you do this?
By developing content that engages buyers, highlighting how your products and services perfectly meet their needs. Develop a content strategy that defines your buyers journey by answering the questions you customers have. Remember, each customer will be at a different stage of the buyers journey so you need to make sure your content covers every stage. Your attracting potential buyers, engaging them whilst making it as easy as possible buy from you.
Get the Word Out
A successful blog can define or re-iterate brand message, promote products and services, build brand authority, and even become the most effective lead generation tool a business can have. It can also complement other website page content perfectly, giving buyers a reason to come back, and come back again to hear what you say.
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
Any blog needs to have a content strategy behind it, research the keywords that your buyers are using and will give you a chance of being found on search engines. Think about when you choose to post. What time will someone want to hear news, first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon?
Using the expertise of guest bloggers is a valuable way to build authority and have a fresh voice and perspective. Repetitive blog content is boring.
Neglect Social Media at Your Peril
Any website strategy must factor social media marketing (SMM). The last few years have seen a seismic shift in the ways browsers consume online content. Today they’re instincts are to use social media to find out what they want to know.
25% of adult internet users use LinkedIn
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are now indexed by Google in their search rankings. This means that businesses are communicating socially online. And this extends all the way to single tweets! SMM (social media marketing) strategies can be simple or comprehensive. Businesses can use the strategy to let customers know how long before their new website is launched. All they need to do is tweet, ‘Our new website lands on Monday’. Simple, effective.
A Facebook page can act as your primary online resource for information whilst your new website is being built.
Once the website is built and live, SMM can direct visitors to your website, highlight USPs or special offers or even build your brand identity with a few simple links. Bottom line? Social media can attract customers before you build a new website, whilst you build a new website, and after you’ve built your new website.
73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes.
Be as Technical as You are Creative
It may not be as glamorous as the creative design, but having the right technical elements to your website strategy will amplify your website, giving you a much better opportunity of getting in front of the customers you want to sell to.
What keywords are you intending to choose? How competitive are they? Do you want to appeal to local, national or international customers?
A good technical strategy understands current SEO trends and what’s forecasted in the future, if possible.
With any new website launch, paid advertising will always get you exposure. The only concern is you have to include this into your budget.
Trying to justify any marketing budget with a new website launch can be a daunting thought, but, if you do this correctly you can define a clear budget and calculate the number of estimated visitors to your site and how many of those visitors you need to convert into customers in order to calculate your ROI (Return-on-Investment).
Below is an excerpt from google's ROI Formula to help you understand how to calculate your marketing and project budget:
Let's say that you have a product that costs £100 to produce, and sells for £200. You sell 6 of these products as a result of advertising them on AdWords, so your total cost is £600 and your total sales is £1200. Let's say your AdWords costs are £200, for a total cost of £800. Your ROI is:
- (£1200 - £800) / £800
- = £400 / £800
- = 50%
In this example, you're earning a 50% return on investment. For every £1 you spend, you get £1.50 back.
Remember, google is not the only source of paid advertising, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have paid advertising opportunities. You need to understand where your buyers are most active and then decide how to select your demographic with each social platforms advertising tools.
There's a mass of information to consider before the launch of your new website, I can't stress enough that developing an effective strategy, plan, design and launch will see that your newly-launched website hits the ground running and attracts the right type of customers.
Remember, profile your customers, research keywords they will use to find your services, write content that will engage with them and detail a paid marketing plan within your whole project budget. Finally, plan your website structure, then, start the design of your new website.