Written on July 26, 2013
Your website is the most important tool you have for marketing your business, services or products. Period.
There, I said it :) and it's true. Now, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise and certainly you've considered this to be the case if you're not already a bona fide believer!
Think about it - any time you want to learn more about a company, product or service, what's the first thing you do? Pull up your search engine of choice (67% of search share goes to Google btw) and start typing. What you find (or don't) often immediately shapes your perception of the company or brand you're researching and weighs heavily on your decision-making. Does the website look trustworthy? Can you learn all of the details you're after? Is the site easy to use and is this truly an indication of what doing business with this company will be like? Your website speaks volumes about your company, for better or worse!
In-fact, so much information (inferred & tangible) is gained by your prospects and existing customers through your company's website that it absolutely should be considered the cornerstone of your brand and marketing. Your website is THAT PLACE where you have a captive audience and an opportunity to communicate your brand, culture and maybe most importantly your story. This is often where your prospects will make the decision to interact with your company further and take the next step in the marketing cycle to immediately purchase a product, opt-in to receive regular content or pick up the phone and call you. This is true for both B2C and B2B websites.
From a recent Gartner Survey:
"Almost half (45%) of the 250+ marketers surveyed for Gartner's poll cited the design, development and maintenance of a corporate website as the most important to a successful marketing campaign, beating out both social media marketing and online advertising."
So, if your website is so darned important, then you don't need to run ads or spend money on brochures anymore right? NO! Traditional advertising and marketing tactics are happily, still alive and well! They just need to be utilized a bit differently these days.
While it's absolutely true that some advertising and marketing campaigns can (television, print ads, radio etc) are being used to create an immediate need/want and spur a sale or interaction - the majority of today's marketing campaigns are used to drive prospects to a company's website. So although the role of traditional advertising has changed it's still quite valuable and necessary. Use these media outlets to generate interest in your company and then drive traffic to your website, where your full story can be told and then lead those prospects to convert either at the website level or off-line.
No matter the advertising medium, your offline marketing and advertising should be directing your audience to visit your website or interact with your brand socially (but more about that in a sec)!
Fortunately for advertising and marketing agencies such as ourselves ;) the traditional corporate and product brochures still have their place as well. The highly refined, well-written and professionally printed marketing piece still makes a great impression, is a must-have leave-behind and definitely serves a purpose. And that purpose should be to generate a high level of interest in your brand and product and then get those prospects online where they can form a deeper understanding of your company.
The great thing about this approach is that if your website is designed properly - the printed collateral can contain less textual content and contain more visuals that wet your prospects appetite and communicate your culture. The heavy lifting of your textual content is better suited for your website. There, not only can your prospects dive deeper at their leisure - but that content becomes valuable search engine food as well - and hopefully attracts more prospects to your business!
So, if traditional advertising should be used to drive website traffic, how come so many big brands are sending folks to Facebook or Twitter instead? Simple - the intent is the same, drive traffic online to interact and become more personal with their brands. And by sending prospects to the brands' social channels, not only are they likely to still visit company's website - but there's the likely possibility that the user will share the brand with their friends or colleagues (bonus).
This works the other way around too by-the-way. By making your website content easy to share through social channels, you have the chance of attracting like-minded individuals to your brand by way of qualified referral. So, it's important to include links to all of the social channels your company uses and make content like products or blog articles as easy to share as clicking a button!
With all of this talk about your website being the most important part of your marketing efforts, I hope it goes without saying that you must invest the appropriate amount of time, budget and effort into making sure your website is everything it can be. After all, by now we should agree that your website, in many cases, can make or break your business.
While this article isn't about how to create the perfect website (note to self: write that article) there are number of elements that should be considered:
These are a handful of the elements that should be considered when reviewing your company's current website or planning one for the first time.
I hope you find this article helpful and just maybe gets you either thinking differently about the role of your website - or confirms for you what you're already thinking.
Like to get a little assistance putting together and executing a website strategy for your business? Give this Orlando web design and marketing agency a shout - we'd love to sit down with you, audit your existing website and marketing and let you know where we can help make your brand stronger!
Subscribe to our monthly wrap-up and you'll gain new insight and perspective on taking your outdoor company to the top of the mountain. You can rely on us to inspire your creative thinking and challenge the status quo!
You look like a nice outdoor company,
but are you courageous?
Looking to grow traffic, target your customers effectively, and increase sales? Check out our monthly-ish newsletter!