So, you’ve decided to launch a new business website and need to get noticed. But, before all the designing, developing, content creation, outreach and performance measuring begins, there are a few things that you need to know.
Have You Got the Right Bait?
Before we get into the details, I'd like to tell you a quick story which will draw a simple comparison to help you understand new website marketing strategies.
Imagine a broad expanse of water, swimming in the pool 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 swim on by paying the bread no attention, over time it 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.
Fish? Websites? Huh?
You may ask yourself, what have fish got to do with new website marketing strategies!? Well, I'm not asking you to become an expert at fishing, but I am asking you to think like a digital marketer before you start your website project.
The point I'm making is, how you research, plan, design and launch your new website makes the difference between attracting the right customers who will engage with your content, services and product, or attracting the odd visitor who doesn't understand what you're 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. The good news is that you can tackle this stage-by-stage.
- 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.
"You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology."
- Steve Jobs
1. You, Your Customers, and Nobody Else
Who Are You?
Before undertaking a single design, you need to define who you are and what you offer. A business with a clearly defined goal and mission statement will answer its question of who its ideal buyers are.
The worst scenario as a visitor is being confused as to what a business does. It should be clear.
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 develop your relationship with them. Remember, your website is trying to take your users on a journey. Don’t create dead-end pages that fragment your sales and marketing funnel. If you do you’ll end up with a website full of 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 you're re-branding, it must be consistent. From the logo to the look of the site, to any strapline, visitors should instantly know you. Get your creative hat on!
We see many websites launching with good brands, but over time the brand gets watered down because of inconsistent design, fonts and colours.
5-7 seconds is all you get to make an impression. That’s not a lot of time. All branding should be recognised instantly. There’s no need to plan a visual treasure hunt for visitors to discover who you are.
Who Are Your Customers?
Develop ideal buyer personas for your business, by profiling your customers and asking what their wants, needs and problems are you're in a better position to develop a website that engages them.
For example, if your customers like budget furniture, sell budget 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 go-to business for making their purchase.
2. The Strategy
Effective new website marketing strategies identify 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 before you establish that very first design concept.
Success depends on the right strategy. Seperate strategies 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?)
Consider the Design…Carefully
Any new website must be up-to-date with current trends. If not, you’ll be re-designing your site 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 social media integration. More people are searching for products and services through social media. The odds are that visitors may land on your site, AFTER having seen a Facebook ad or an interesting tweet.
People are now searching on mobile devices than as well as laptops and desktops. If your 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 searching on their smartphone.
Content Marketing, Social Media & 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 buying 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 buyer's journey by answering the questions your customers have.
Remember, each customer will be at a different stage of the buyer's journey, so you need to make sure your content covers every stage. You're attracting potential buyers and engaging them while making it as easy as possible to buy from you.
Get the Word Out
A successful blog can define or re-iterate a brand's 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, giving buyers a reason to come back and hear what you have to say.
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
Every 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 in search engines. Think about when you choose to post. What time will someone want to hear your 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 in social media marketing (SMM). The last few years have seen a seismic shift in the ways browsers consume online content. Today their instincts are to use social media to find out what they want to know.
25% of adult internet users use LinkedIn
Google now indexes platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This means that businesses are communicating online. And this extends all the way to single tweets! SMM (social media marketing) strategies can be comprehensive or straightforward. Companies can use the strategy to let customers know when their new website is launching. 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 while building your new website.
Once the website is built and live, SMM can direct visitors to your site, highlight USPs or special offers or even develop your brand identity with a few simple links. Bottom line? Social media can attract customers before you build a new website, while you build a new website, and after you’ve built your new website.
73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes.
Be Technical As Well As 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 do you intend to use? How competitive are they? Do you want to appeal to local, national or international customers?
An excellent 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 in 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 are £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 platform's advertising tools.
3. Reporting & Analysis
When your website is up and running, and you've used the above methods to get people to your website, you need to report on how well you've done!
Your figures could determine whether your customers use you, or a competitor. So always provide as much digestible information as possible.
Here are a few metrics you can use to measure success:
- Traffic - How many visitors does your website generate? And more importantly, where are they coming from? You may see spikes or dips in traffic, so you need to find out why that happened. If you've got a substantial social presence, you'll probably generate a lot of traffic from that. Use reporting software like Google Analytics to work it out.
- Bounce Rate - Fantastic! You're getting visitors, but how many stay on your website? If most are leaving instantly, you need to find out why. This could be design, page speed, or the quality of your website content. Either way, you need to hold their interest to keep them on-site.
- Average Time On Page - If your visitors are staying on your website, are they on there long enough? If they're reading a 10-minute blog posts for 1 minute, you need to increase that time. Remember the type of page when analysing this metric
- CTA Success - It doesn't matter how long your visitors stay on your website, if you don't have a clear call to action they'll leave without engaging with your business. This could be a blog subscription or shopping trolley. Either way, you need to keep your customers interacting.
Get Ready to Launch!
There's a mass of information to consider before the launch of your new website; I can't stress enough that developing an effective website marketing strategy, plan, design and launch will see that your newly-launched website hits the ground running and attract the right type of customer.
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. Happy fishing!
Editor's note: This post has been revamped and updated for 2018. At Red-Fern, we love keeping our content fresh, it ensures our articles are up-to-date, relevant and accurate!