Most businesses have a website, but many fail when it comes to consistently creating a web strategy that will make their website successful. We recommend stepping back and reviewing your web marketing strategies from a high-level perspective at least once a year.
Out of this review will come clear steps to position your company as a leader in your industry, continue to build your brand and credibility, and will continue to drive new sales for your business.
Here are five steps to create a successful web marketing strategy:
1) Define Your Business Objectives
This step seems like an obvious one, but it is quite necessary to define business objectives around your website. If the main business objective for your website is to generate leads for your sales team, you should define metrics around this and then actively monitor them. How many leads should the site generate every month? What is defined as a quality lead? How are these leads followed up on to achieve the business goal?
If you have an eCommerce business then your main business objective is probably to sell more product. Beyond the number of items you sold on your site, you may want to think about measuring a metric such as conversion rate (a percentage of visitors that purchase). This will help you better understand how your pages are performing.
Other metrics that may help support your main business objective may be data like “bounce rate” or “time spend on page”. A high bounce rate or low time spent on page are good indicators that something is probably wrong with the page. Testing your pages will help increase conversion rates to help achieve your business objectives.
2) Understand Your Competition
Each year you should analyze what your competition is doing from an online marketing perspective. Do they have a new website? How is their information organized on the site? What audiences and industries are they targeting? How active are they participating in social media? Do they have pay-per-click campaigns running? If so, how much are they spending a day on these campaigns?
Performing a competitive analysis will help you get answers to these questions and will help you better understand how you should be marketing your business online.
3) Get Your Site Ready for Visitors
What does “ready for visitors” mean exactly? Well, there are two types of visitors that your website should be ready for:
a) Search Engines Spiders – This is in regards to the back-end of your website and is highly critical to the success of your web marketing. The first question you need to ask yourself here is, “are all my pages being indexed into the search engines?”
Here’s how you find out… go to Google and search for “site:www.yourcompanywebsitehere.com”. Look under the search bar at the top in gray text “About xxx Results”. This will tell you how many pages Google has indexed from your site. Does this number reflect how many pages you think you have in your site? If not, you may have some issues with how your pages are getting indexed.
Next, look at the search results that come back. Do the page titles and descriptions reflect what you think your pages look like? If not, you have problems and you may want to consider search engine optimization (see below).
b) Human Beings Looking for Information – Yes, real human beings are using the Internet to research information about your products and services. When these humans get to your site is it designed in a way that will get them to become your customer?
When visitors come to your site you want to make sure they get the information they need quickly and can easily find several ways (email, forms, phone number) to contact you to purchase your product or service. If they can’t find the information they need quickly, they will leave and move on to a competitor’s website. If your site is not keeping visitors engaged (Are you noticing high bounce rates?), then you may want to consider information architecture services.
If they manage to stay on your site because your information is good and relevant, then you need to find a way for them to purchase right away or leave you with their contact information to nurture them (see more on lead nurturing below).
4) Get More Traffic
So, your website is ready to receive search engine spiders and human being traffic, what’s next? Well, how do you get as many visitors as possible coming to your site on a continual basis? Here are a few strategies that will help generate traffic to your website:
a) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engine optimization is were you create content on your site that targets specific keywords. The first step in SEO is to research keywords that will bring your site the most qualified traffic. Then you need to create pages on your site to target these keywords. Once that happens the search engines will index these pages so when someone searches for those specific keywords your page will come up. The next step is to get those search results to rank the highest they can for those keywords. This comes from some of the items mentioned below.
b) Content Creation and Syndication – Once you have your keywords selected you need to start creating content around those keywords. If you already have pages on your site you may need to change the page title, meta tags and content in the site to include your targeted keywords.
Blogging is one of several web content services that will help generate traffic to your website. When writing blog posts be sure to include targeted keywords, make the posts relevant to your targeted audience, and write good quality posts. Blog posts should be written with some amount of frequency (at least once a week) to keep the search engines happy and to help position your company as a leader in your industry.
Writing and distributing press releases is a great way to get your message out there and to help drive additional traffic to the site. Press releases also help build quality in-bound links into your site to help increase search result rankings.
c) Social Media – Social media is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and to engage with your prospects and customers. If you have a B2B company we recommend feeding your blog and tweets into your LinkedIn account and joining or establishing a group withing your industry. If you have a B2C company then feed your blog and tweets into Facebook and LinkedIn.
d) Video Marketing – Video marketing is another great way to get more traffic and links coming into your website. For each of your main products or services, create a video that illustrates the features and benefits of the product or service. Then, post the videos to several video services such as YouTube or Vimeo. Be sure to include a URL to your product or service page in the text description.
e) Pay-Per-Click Advertising – If your website is less than 6 months old, establishing a pay-per-click advertising campaign will help drive much needed traffic to your website, but it will cost you. We recommend starting with PPC campaign management and then slowly ramping your campaigns down once your organic traffic starts to grow (this all depends on your budget – many companies choose to continue PPC campaigns to drive additional traffic to their site). In most cases organic traffic takes many months to grow so supplementing your traffic with paid traffic is a great way to get started.
f) eMail Marketing – eMail marketing is a very cost effective way to reach your prospects and existing customers. As you create new blog posts, distribute new press releases, or make any kind of company announcement, email marketing is an easy way to communicate these messages. We recommend separating your email lists into two groups (to start with), 1) prospects, and 2) customers. In most cases the messages you want to communicate to each group will be different and should be handled as such.
5) Convert Prospects Into Customers
a) Conversion Optimization – Once you have a visitor on your web page the next step is to get them to interact with your company. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Is the information on the page laid out in a way that visitors find what they need quickly, and can they easily perform the main call-to-action (purchase something or provide contact information). Testing multiple variations of page elements on a page to achieve the highest conversion rate is called conversion optimization. Conversion optimization testing will increase conversion rates of your pages thus bring in more sales.
b) Lead Nurturing – The first step to lead nurturing is to get a prospect to give you their contact information. We recommend offering something on your website to the visitor in exchange for their minimal contact information. For example, when they download a white paper on an industry topic, register for a webinar, or request an extended demo of your product or service.
Once you have their contact information it is your job to turn that prospect into a customer. You can do that by continually communicating with them via email. Offer webinars to walk through your product or service. Bring them up-to-speed on industry issues via email. Do everything you can to position your company as the leader in the industry. Be sure your company is top-of-mind when your prospect is making their final decision.
By following these 5 Steps to Success for web marketing strategy, you will find that your website will receive more traffic, keep visitors engaged longer and will convert more visitors into customers.
We can work with you to create an effective web marketing strategy that will help you be more successful with your online marketing initiatives. For more information on web strategy please contact us.