A company’s website is a showcase of its products and services. Similar to how our homes are a reflection of our taste and style. If you invited friends to your home for a few hours, evening or a weekend, would you clean and organize it before they arrive? At minimum, you would most likely make the bed and do the dishes.
Think of your website the same way. Before marketing it, buying advertising, or investing in PR you want to make sure it is in the best possible shape it can be. It is the one place that represents your company’s branding and product and service positioning. Therefore, treat it like your digital home.
As any proud digital homeowner, the first thing you want to do is make sure people can find you. Address books and the yellow pages collect dust on the shelf. Today everyone is online all the time. On their PC, laptop, tablets and mobile phones so catering to your guests is essential. Make sure that no matter where or how they find you online, your information is always easily readable with a responsive website design. When your website adapts to the device used, it not only provides a much more pleasant viewing experience, it enables the visitor to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
Your website should be so well laid out that your guests don’t have to work to navigate the information. Is there a search tool that makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for? Is the menu intuitive and does it offer just the right amount of information? Is there a call to action on each page attracting the visitor to the goal of the page and/or walking them through the overall purpose of the site? Address all of these questions during the planning of your site to enhance user experience and increase goal conversions.
When people enter your digital home, make sure your website depicts the message you want it to portray from both a design and content perspective. Is it pleasant to the eye? Does the user know what to do and/or have a good experience within seconds of entering? If not, clean it up. Rearrange the content and images to attract your target audience. When you renovate or redesign with SEO in mind, you will be easier to find online. This means choosing the right words combined with the right structure to make you attractive to search engines like Google.
Not only do you want a website you like and feel good about; you want your friends and visitors to feel the same way, and tell others how great it is as well. Similar to a physical address, a website is owned property, and it is known in the digital marketing industry as owned media. Your blog, mobile sites and social media channels are also owned media. You control the content and design. Therefore, you should take pride in the look and feel and make sure people want to stay awhile and keep coming back for more. Utilize the content and structure to attract guests, keep them informed and entertained, and make it easy for them to share their experiences with others. Have a newsletter sign up, downloadable information, and frequent blog posts with relevant social media sharing options.
When people talk about your digital home or brand that is known as earned media. In the traditional sense you can think of it as PR, but it is so much more than that. It’s not content or messaging that you can necessarily control, but it is one of the most valuable pieces of advertising you can invest in. It’s word of mouth marketing and content that creates buzz. You want people to feel good about what they just saw, read, or experienced and share it with their friends, colleagues, and online community. This requires strategy and resources that can create engaging content and interact with people that care about your product or service on social media channels or other owned properties (David Armano). Identifying those triggers and influencers is as delicate a balance as the art and science of marketing.
Now that you have created an environment you are proud to call home, show it off! Consider paid media an open online invitation to attract visitors to your website, product or service. Target your audience based on carefully selected key words and messages that best describe your business or brand and meet their needs. Regardless of whether they are passive or active guests, there are advertising strategies for each online personality. Paid search, display advertising and retargeting are all effective methods to drive visitors and ultimately revenue.
Remember, at the end of the day we all want to be delighted, intrigued, and have a good experience to tell our family and friends about. Your website is your digital home. It’s the center of your business. Make it as pleasant an experience as possible so you have a continual stream of guests coming from all avenues of the online spectrum.