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Website Marketing Tips – Start Here

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Your digital marketing strategy should start with your website. You need to understand if / how your site currently performs towards your business objective, and following this audit, optimise and improve your site with your target customers in mind.

website marketing tips - SEO
CC image courtesy of Hong Xing on Flickr

When you start out in digital marketing, especially as a small business with little experience, it's easy to get lost in the overwhelming amount of information and conflicting advice about what digital marketing channel (e.g. website, social media, etc.) you should focus on!

That's why I've compiled a few website marketing tips, because I really believe you should look at your existing website as the first and highest priority:  Your website is your primary and most important piece of owned media.

Think of it as your digital real estate.  You can control it, measure it and improve it - and it's owned by you, not a third party site (such as Facebook).

Your Website ~ Your 'store front' online

A good way to think of your website is to imagine it was a physical store. My view is that the fundamentals of marketing haven't really changed - the trick is to approach your website in the same way you would a store or presence in the real world (= digital real estate) . Believe it or not, it's mostly common sense! And it starts with the customer and her or his needs, and satisfying them profitably. It's not about selling them your products or services - that's sales.

Website Marketing Tips

store
CC image courtesy of Dave Wilson on Flickr

In what follows, I'll be outlining 7  key marketing considerations or objectives for a physical store, and then suggest what the equivalent factors could be your website. I hope these tips will help you start thinking about your website strategy, and demonstrate why effective website marketing should be the central pillar to your digital marketing strategy.

My starting point is a standard marketing framework for a business. I'll look at seven typical consideration or objectives and how they affect a physical store, followed by the digital equivalent (i.e. your website). Caveat: This list is by no means complete - it's just a collection of website marketing tips that I think are important consider - especially for small businesses. Last but not least, these are factors that you can influence and action on your own site, and they don't cost anything (other than time, self-education, and effort).

1. Objective: Awareness (Visibility)

Why? Be seen by your target customers

Real world (physical store)

  • Location of physical store (e.g. select high footfall areas or areas your target audience lives or shops in)

Digital (website)

  • On-page SEO (be findable – match search demand for your target audience’s key search terms)
  •  Local SEO (optimise for local search queries; get on Google Maps if your business has a physical location – see Google My Business for more info)
  •  Technical SEO
  • (Inbound Marketing / Link earning)

2. Objective: Branding

Why? Generate positive associations with your brand (excitement, happiness) - the ultimate goal is 'brand love'

Real world (physical store)

  • Look and Design of physical store (window dressing, furnishings, displays etc. - the 'Physical Evidence' P in Marketing speak)

Digital (website)

  • Web design (this includes visuals, images, 'look and feel')

3. Objective: Customer / User experience (UX)

Why?

  • Provide smooth customer journey – remove obstacles
  •  Make it easy and pleasurable to buy / convert now and in the future
  •  Generate trust

Real world (physical store)

  • Store layout, arrangement of products, easy to navigate, well-placed support facilities (such as toilets)
  • Efficient payment check-out (length of queues, operators)
  • Friendly sales staff

Digital (website)

  • Site navigation, Load times, page errors, mobile optimised, relevant, useful, and fast
  • Easy to find key information
  • Addresses and matches the site visitor’s needs

4. Objective: Customer service and support

Why?

  • Nourish and retain customer relationships (retention) - increase life time value
  • Generate positive WOM and Advocacy

Real world (physical store)

  • Customer service desk
  • Easy to change / return items
  • after-sales care

Digital (website)

  • Easy to find support / contact function, FAQs, HowTos, etc.
  • If ecommerce,  good change / returns policy
  • Relevant social media channels (priority for big brands; for SMEs only if able to resource otherwise little ROI)

5. Objective: Measuring success - Quantity

Why? To answer the question: How many customers did I attract?

Real world (physical store)

  • Physical footfall

Digital (website)

  • Digital footfall - Google Analytics data (e.g. sessions, page views)

6. Objective: Measuring success - Quality

Why? To answer the question: Did I attract the right customers? (This is REALLY important!)

Quality measures of success could also be reputational / PR

Real world (physical store)

  • Time spent in store, no. of items browsed, facilities used (does anyone actually measure this in a physical store?)
  • Demographics of customers
  • No. of items returned
  • PR: Positive media and / or social media coverage

Digital (website)

  • Page views / time on page for key landing pages
  • Bounce rates (careful with benchmarks – always consider context)
  • PR: High-quality referrals (i.e. links to your site); Positive media and / or social media coverage

7. Objective: Measuring success - Conversions

Why? To answer the question: Is my business presence able to generate leads and sales? Does it make me money?

Real world (physical store)

  • Sales (volume / value)
  • Conversion rates (does anyone actually measure this in a physical store?)

Digital (website)

For website marketing, how you measure conversions can vary hugely and depends on what you consider a conversion for your website, i.e. the action you’d like your site visitors to take. Very difficult to have a 'one size fits all' answer, but this may be a contact enquiry, booking, PDF download, etc. etc.

  • Sales
  • Enquiries / Leads
  • Goal completions
  • Conversion rate
  • etc.

 

There you have it! My 7 tips to help you get started on your website marketing. Just start with your most important objectives, and then use the framework above to optimise your digital real estate.

This won't just get your business in front of the right customers, but crucially, will make it easy and pleasurable for them to buy from you, again and again!

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