Here's where it all comes together.
Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing and branding efforts.
Awesome strategies, killer tactics, a sensible budget, superior branding, intelligent goals — these all mean nothing in the modern era if you don't have a website.
Websites are expensive. Learn how to get a return on your website investment in this episode of Marketing With Clarity and Confidence: Your High ROI Website.
And while you're at it, check out the companion piece to this episode, The Website Content Template.
This is Adam Fout with The Marketing Forge by Blue Steele Solutions, and this is the final module of Marketing with Clarity & Confidence: Your High ROI Website.
In the modern era, having a website is a necessity to any business. If you don't have a great website, your brand suffers.
Before we jump into the discussion, I want to remind you that our The Website Content Template is the perfect companion piece for this lesson. Go to bluesteelesolutions.com/resource-download/website-content-template to pick it up.
Your Website Is the Centerpiece of Your Marketing
So we talked in an earlier episode about the importance the visual components of your brand, and about the importance of a brand generally. Successful brands market to a narrow audience and align themselves with the needs and values of that audience.
For almost all small-to-medium-sized businesses, your website is the centerpiece of your branding.
In the modern age, when someone is interested in a brand, they visit the website first.
Those first few seconds are critical. Some research shows that Once your website loads, users form an opinion in half a second. A website that looks beautiful and says the right things, that has an attitude and a style that aligns with what the customer cares about and thinks, is going to be successful.
A bland, boring, or worse, low-quality website, will immediately affect a customer’s first impression.
Consider this: Some research shows that 48% of people surveyed cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.
Here’s another one: 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
The Right People Need to Come to Your Website
So the branding and audience stuff we talked about earlier is critical to a successful website.
The content on your website needs to speak to those target markets you’ve identified, the visual aspects of the brand need to amaze those folks, or at least not turn them off.
But this is all assuming we have people coming to the website in the first place.
To take those goals that you set in an earlier lesson and employ the strategies and tactics that you’ve come up with to reach them, you’re going to need a website.
Very few modern marketing methods bypass a website, and if they do, that’s generally foolish. Sure, a billboard that gives people a phone number, say, for an attorney, could be successful, but just as likely, someone is not going to remember that phone number, will remember the name of the attorney, and will just search online for that attorney.
If that attorney doesn’t have a website, that billboard might be a failure.
The same can be said for almost any type of business.
Websites Are Research Tools
The modern customer wants to research, so your initial marketing efforts are often only successful at spurring someone into the research phase.
Your website is where they go to do their research. Visual branding ensures that they don’t leave right away, that the website appears to be legitimate. Most customers base their first impression on the look and feel of your website. A website that’s ugly may drive them away before you ever have a chance to talk to them.
But getting the right people to your website is more important than just getting anyone on your website.
For example, let’s say you’ve created a series of social media posts and ads designed for your target markets. If those people are intrigued and go to visit your website, you’ve already vetted them, which means they’re more likely to take action once they get to the site.
That audience piece drives the strategies you choose, and the strategies you choose almost always are trying to drive someone to either make a phone call, send an email, visit the physical location, or visit the website.
But the kicker, as mentioned before, is that before anyone sends an email, makes a phone call, or visits a physical location, they often visit the website first. Even if a billboard sends someone right down the road to a physical location, it’s quite common for people to pull out their phones, check out reviews, and then drive over to the store.
Your Website Matters, no Matter What
So we find ourselves back to the same issue — your website matters, no matter what kind of marketing you do. It needs to look good if you want your target market to find you professional and trustworthy. You need to be funneling the right types of customers there. You need to have branding, shown both visually and in the tone of your content, that is designed to resonate with that audience. Otherwise, your marketing strategies are likely to be less effective, or even ineffective, and your goals are going to be difficult to reach.
This affects your budget. You end up paying more money for marketing tactics that are ineffective, but that may only be ineffective because of what happens once users make it to the website. We see this all the time. Beautiful Facebook or Google ads that lead users to a horrible landing page. All this money is being spent on advertising, on content and images for the ads, on someone to manage them, and then nothing converts, because the landing page is an afterthought.
Your website is where it all comes together, but as we’ve alluded to so far, the website is only a piece of the puzzle, no matter how important. If your website is awesome, but you don’t have a strategy in place to get people onto that website, then it’s not going to do you much good, and you’re not going to get a return on your website investment.
Organic search is one way people find your website. This is where they're searching on Google or some other search engine for an answer to a question, or maybe they’re just trying to find location or navigational information, or they're actually looking for a specific product or service, and hopefully, if your site is set up and optimized correctly, you display in the search results for those queries.
That's your organic search presence. That’s happening outside of the time and effort you’ve put into SEO, outside of anything you pay an SEO consultant.
Organic search traffic is the holy grail because it’s generally self-sustaining and usually doesn’t cost anything beyond what you paid to create the content on that page.
Another common source of traffic is paid search. When we talk about paid search, we mean the ads that show up at the top of a search engine results page. You type in a query, and then Google or Bing shows you a series of results with a little tag that says “ad” next to them.
This is a pay-to-play arena—ads on other types of search engines, like social media ads on Facebook or ads on Amazon or YouTube, follow essentially the same principles.
You can simply pay to place yourself in those positions and send that traffic to your website. This is a short-term approach and should be used to jumpstart traffic to your site or sell a specific product or service, and should be done at the same time as long-term approaches, like regular content marketing (think blogging or vlogging).
Paid search is a great way to get traffic to your website immediately if you have the budget to participate.
Social media is another potential source of traffic. So maybe we've got a great social media presence and we can capitalize on that to send traffic to our website by sharing product information, interesting things going on in our industry, offers and price reductions, blog posts, or free downloadable content that we’ve created.
Social media has the potential to build relationships, so when traffic moves from social media to a website, they may already be ready to convert, and may give you their email address or make a purchase.
We may also get direct traffic from people who we know in person, or who we maybe have on our email list. Traffic can also come from many different offline marketing efforts, like TV ads, radio ads, outdoor advertising, events, contests, or even just old-fashioned word of mouth.
Where your traffic is going to come from depends on your audience and where, both physically and digitally, they spend their time, your brand and where it makes sense for you to market your business, on your goals, on your budget, and on the marketing strategies you’ve put in place and the marketing tactics you choose.
If the point hasn’t been driven home yet, it’s this: It is absolutely required that you have some sort of traffic plan in place so that you are actively working to get people on to your website.
Plan a Source of Traffic
So take a few minutes today and think about where you're most comfortable. Do you have an organic presence already on search engines? Do you kind of understand how it works? Maybe spending more time on what’s already working for you is a good idea.
Or maybe you don’t have much organic traffic, but you do have a budget available to be able to go out and do some Adwords, and maybe you can even learn how to set those up yourself.
Maybe it’s best to rely more on your social presence, or maybe in-person networking events are going to work better for you. Whatever you choose, make sure it works best for your customers and your brand.
Focus on one source of traffic to begin with. Get that down solid so you can understand how well it's working and how scalable it is before you actively work on improving another source of traffic.
Primary Calls to Action
Now once you've got people on your site, the next step is to have a strong call-to-action, which is essentially what you want people to do next. Getting them to your website is only the first step. They're reading and interested in the content or looking at your products or watching a video, which is great, but you need them to do something. Website traffic alone is not sufficient to keep your business profitable.
The easy answer is we want them to buy something or take a step toward a purchase. We want them to schedule a consultation, or request an estimate, or buy a product, or at least join your email list — we want them to convert.
It's not always the case that we're going to be able to entice someone, who has just gotten on your website for the first or even the fifth time, to convert, and converting in a big way on an initial visit is uncommon, so we need different types of possible conversions for people who are in different phases of the sales funnel. We need primary and secondary calls to action.
Your primary call to action is going to be what you most want them to do. I want you to think about this in terms of your entire website, and keep in mind that as you're actually writing your content, this may differ a little bit from page to page. You might have a different call to action for every page on your website, but the overall CTA for your site should be the one thing you most want them to do.
Do you want them to pick up the phone and call you? Do you want them to fill out a form so that you can set up a meeting? Is there a product or service you want them to actually click through, read, and add to the cart?
What is that one action that will be most profitable to your business? What is that one thing that, if you can get a good number people to come to your website, see it, and think about it, you would consider your website to be successful?
Write that down in your notes.
Secondary Calls to Action
Now, knowing that not everyone is ready to buy just because they came on your website, and worse, some people might not even realize they need your product or be interested in what you do, you need to have a secondary call to action on the site.
This secondary CTA is going to be something that hopefully begins a relationship between you and this potential customer, something that converts anonymous visitors on your website to actual people, to potential customers you know a little bit about and can start making contact with.
This is often as simple as a CTA asking someone to sign up for emails in exchange for a free ebook or product comparison sheet or case study, or even entry into a contest.
It could also be trying to sell a much less expensive product to someone who may not be ready for an expensive service, like selling a low-priced hair product to someone who isn’t ready to schedule a hair appointment.
What this does is erase the anonymity of the website visitor and bring them one step closer to that primary CTA. You are then able to follow-up directly, if that’s how you do things, or get them started on an email drip that perhaps includes special offers.
If building an email list is your goal, you may want to use something like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor to send emails regularly to your list.
Another option might be to try to get people to interact with your chat bot. Yet another option is to try to encourage visitors to follow you on social media. This allows you to start interacting with them regularly, or at least allows you to keep popping up on their feeds and staying top of mind.
The hope is that, eventually, they're going to come back and they're going to take that primary call to action.
Take some time and think hard about what is it that you want people to do on your website. What’s the primary call to action, that golden ticket, what you really want everyone to come your website and do, and then also the secondary CTA when you can't get what you really want.
Make sure that every single page and part of your website supports these two objectives.
Grab 8 Steps to Planning a High ROI Website
Well, that’s it for the Marketing With Clarity and Confidence Series! Remember to go to bluesteelesolutions.com/resource-download/website-content-template to pick up your copy of The Website Content Template.
The Ultimate Website Content Template holds your hand through the process of writing every piece of content your website needs with detailed instructions and suggestions. You'll walk away with content for your website that you'll know is correct.
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