If 1,000 people visited your shop or contacted your business but you failed to sell a thing, you would quite rightly, be alarmed and immediately take steps to identify what was preventing them from engaging and purchasing.
Your digital marketing and more specifically your website, should demand the same level of critique and respect. In this age of digital disruption, companies can ill afford for their most visible and accessible resource to be failing to support the growth of their business.
So, why is your website failing to deliver and what can you do to prevent it?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that not all websites are the same and also, that this is a common scenario when businesses look to embark on a digital revamp or new build.
If your website in nothing more than an online brochure, its presence is focussed on simply giving information about a company, its services or products. However, a website could and should be doing much more.
As a company matures digitally, the purpose of the website will evolve from simply providing static information, to generating online leads or sales, optimising marketing spend, providing customer support and gathering insights that lead to future enhancements of products and services.
Companies with a strong online presence ensure they regularly evaluate and report on their website’s lead generation performance and sales, as well as understanding what marketing activities are most effective at capturing those key conversions. Identifying improvements and opportunities ensure they remain ahead of the curve.
Avoid generic content to improve SEO
A regular request from businesses is that they want their website to appear on the first page of Google. The days of cramming it full of keywords and requesting other sites to link back to yours are long gone, with criteria focussing much more on visitor value. Companies need to pay as much attention to the content they provide on their website, as they do to the design.
Often websites rely heavily on stock photography and generic content that fail to help differentiate them from their competitors. This offers limited value for visitors or customers and does nothing to boost search performance.
When developing a website, it is therefore also worth developing the content to help your business stand out. Whilst evaluating popular search terms is useful, companies will get much more value out of speaking to their customers about what they need when they are looking for or using the products or services you provide. Over time, this positions a website as a trusted resource for customers and, it is then, that search engine performance begins to radically improve.
Continue to update your website
The great thing about a website is that it is not restricted to the typical constraints of physical marketing items such as brochures. This provides companies with the opportunity to continually update and evolve the content on their website as a ‘living’ sales tool.
Rather than the ‘set and forget’ approach, websites that perform well tend to be updated regularly – there are several reasons why companies do this. Digitally mature businesses are constantly feeding information from customers into the content. This could be in the form of capturing the frequently asked questions received by the technical team and replicating the advice online. Providing regular news updates and case studies is another way to ensure your visitors have a reason to keep coming back to your website. It could also be through monitoring what is working/not working on a website that becomes the catalyst to refresh the content. Whatever the reason, it is important that your website isn’t a time-capsule but an ever-growing resource.
Rather than it being a cause for embarrassment, a website should be a company’s biggest sales and marketing asset. Taking a holistic approach of reviewing the purpose of your website, the value it provides the visitor and your business, and how your website stands out against a myriad of competitor sites, will ensure you develop a tool that contributes to business growth and becomes a useful resource for customers.