It’s great to have a website which you’re proud of, but if you haven’t got enough visitors, you have to ask: what’s the point?
Quite often, customers are referred to us by web design agencies which have made their clients aware that if they expect better online marketing results, a shiny new website is only the start of the process.
What will a well-designed website do? It will certainly support your company’s image and help to convert your web visitors into customers. However, what it won’t do is get potential customers to visit your site in the first place. The internet is a very crowded place – it’s definitely no longer a case of ‘build it and they will come’.
The internet is a very crowded place – it’s definitely no longer a case of ‘build it and they will come’.
You’ve got to find a way to get more people to your website.
Getting more people to your website
If you’re going to sweat more value from your website, you’ll have to put a bit of effort into raising its profile and getting it noticed – this rarely happens by accident. And while some businesses have sufficient budget to do all aspects of marketing really well, most have to decide what activities will give the best return for the invested time, effort and, potentially, spend.
While the right approach will depend upon your business, your budget and your goals, here are five key areas to consider when promoting your website.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
High organic rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo are undoubtedly a fantastic way to draw a mass audience to your website. You need to weigh up the search terms which most customers would use to find your products and services, then audit where you stand today. From there it should be possible to assess the amount of effort which will be required – ongoing – to improve your rankings for those search terms, or to broaden your appeal across a wider selection of keywords.
There are lots of factors which affect your rankings. In a nutshell, you will then need to ensure your website is properly optimised with your most important search terms; that it contains quality content using appropriate keyword references and you’ll need to seek relevant, quality backlinks.
This may sound like a lot of effort though once you’re on top of the main tasks and have an appropriately-scaled plan in place, the maintenance can become business as usual.
While pursuing organic rankings, it may be appropriate for you to consider online advertising. This can be a helpful way to achieve visibility for particularly competitive keywords for which you’re not ranking organically. There is a cost – so again, it’s necessary to analyse and plan your approach before you sign up.
Online PR involves promoting your website on other websites which are visited by your target audience. This may involve writing some articles for the online version of your industry journal, and approach which many B2B organisations find helpful. For B2C companies, it may be possible to link up with some popular bloggers who will write about your products.
The added benefit to doing some online PR is that it can help boost your Google rankings, so it makes sense to tie in your keyword targeting strategy with your PR outreach.
Social media marketing
To begin, you need to choose the right social media channels – LinkedIn remains the most popular choice for B2B with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for B2C.
There are still a lot of companies which simply use social media because they feel they have to. In these instances, social media rarely gives a return. To grow business using social media you’ve got to focus on two strands – building your audience and quality content.
The early days can be disheartening – you’ll usually have to create really good quality content, but feed it to a relatively small audience. However, it’s the only way to build momentum. Once you do, however, you’ve got instant access to a switched-on audience for all your company news and messages.
Be mindful that you may need to do some social media advertising in order to maintain a high profile, though this can be low level and inexpensive.
Why do so many companies now put time, effort and energy into creating quality content for their websites?
There are two significant factors. Firstly, Google likes fresh content, so the regular posting of new, high quality content will make a difference to your search engine rankings. Secondly, a large portion of people use the internet for research before they make a purchase.
So consider ways in which you can answer your customers most burning questions and create high quality articles to showcase your expertise. It’s a good idea to have a news or blog on your new website and ensure it’s maintained. That way, you’ll encourage website visitors to become your advocates by sharing your content with their associates. (You can get added mileage from your content as it can be used on social media channels too.)
Use your contacts for links
Most businesses grow through referral so it’s worth thinking about the organisations you work alongside to see if you can generate some cross promotion. For example, if you’re a member of a trade association, you can usually ask for a link from their website. Also, if you have good relationships with your customers and suppliers, you can ask for links from their sites too.
Marketing is sometimes seen as a wishy-washy discipline with an elusive ROI. Fortunately, most digital marketing channels can be analysed.
You can use Google Analytics to measure traffic levels on your website – you can see your bounce rate, examine how long people stay on your site for and explore which pages are visited. You can interrogate exit page trends and learn much from the terms people enter into your search field.
When it comes to PR, you can see whether people clicked on a link from a third party website. In social media channels you can see if your audience is growing or engaging with or sharing your content.
That means it’s possible to continually tweak your approach to ensure you take the best approach for your business and goals.
If you have any questions about any aspect of digital marketing, or would like to explore how we may be able to help your business to reach a wider audience of potential customers, please get in touch.
We either support in-house marketing teams, bringing digital marketing skills and expertise to the table. Or customers use us as their outsourced digital marketing resource, commissioning us to generate leads and sales using digital marketing channels.