I’ve been doing a fair bit of networking recently meeting many interesting people. Now, I’m of the view that networking is about building contacts and relationships rather than direct selling but, with the BSA focus on joined-up marketing it would be wrong of me to network in isolation – networking is just a tool in the marketing mix and after all, we are in business so I want to know whether there might be opportunities for me to discuss relevant BSA Marketing services in the future. With this in mind, as well as logging details of people I have spoken with on our database, I normally take a look their website to find out a bit more about them and also to see how the company’s marketing is reflected on the internet. The more I did this, the more I started to realise there were some key features that help a website to deliver a joined-up marketing message. While most websites I was looking at ticked some of the boxes, I haven’t seen a single one that ticked them all. I feel a Marketing Matters article coming on….
6 tips for a consistent, joined-up web presence
1. Have a single, core point of presence on the internet
With the growth of social media networks and other online tools, there are many places on the internet where you can promote your business but if each is treated independently, there is a danger that your marketing message can get inconsistent and confusing. For most businesses, your own website should be at the heart of your online marketing. Social media, directories, email marketing etc. are all opportunities to engage with your contacts but all should be working to drive visitors to your core content which is on your website.
2. Show visitors a benefit quickly and clearly
There are many studies saying how long people will view a website for the first time but the answer is always the same: Not Very Long! You have only a few seconds to communicate a message that will encourage the visitor to stick around. Get a key benefit clearly on your home page. Try to avoid generic ‘me too’ statements. Go for something you deliver that helps you stand out from the crowd.
3. Don’t feel you must have all the latest website functionality
Every month sees the announcement of new web tools. Websites are getting more complicated and managing an ever increasing range of functionality can become overwhelming. Having the latest bells and whistles on your site may sound good but is it really going to deliver any benefit to you and your site visitors? A simple site with strong, well considered and up to date content gives a much better impression than a site that is so complex it never actually gets finished and is left with unexplained gaps in the content.
4. Let your contacts have their say
It is one thing for you to say how good you are but much better to get someone else to say it for you! Case studies and testimonials make for powerful website content. If a customer thanks you, don’t just feel pleased, ask them if you can quote them – and tell others. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. People rarely refuse these requests. If they are busy, offer to draft some words for their approval (and make sure you get it!) Think about video testimonials – you really can do them using your SmartPhone! Writing case studies can be more time consuming but give an opportunity to highlight specific benefits of your business. I find a simple template based around 3 sections works well:
- What was your customer’s problem
- How did you solve it for them
- How have they benefited since
You can build on this as much as you like including photos, graphics and videos.
5. Monitor your progress
You need to know how much impact your carefully crafted content is having. The best website in the world is nothing if people don’t visit. There are many web stats and analytics tools available. Most simply they show you how many people visit your site on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. You can set visitor number benchmarks and then compare these with traffic levels after you have done some work on your site to check if you are making progress. The stats tool that everyone knows is Google Analytics. It is free to install and use and delivers a LOT of info. It can be a bit daunting if you start digging around but there is lots of help available online and from specialist companies.
6. Keep your site up to date
Keeping your site up to date in NOT about regular redesigns. It IS about ensuring that the content on your site reflects your business and your USPS (Unique Selling Points) as they are now, not as they were when your site was launched. It may well be that the core content of your site doesn’t need updating that often but that’s not to say your site won’t benefit from regular new content. Having at least a section of your site when you can add new content yourself will pay dividends. You can add news, announcements, case studies, testimonials, hints and tips, technical advice etc. all sorts of content that crops up on an ongoing basis and demonstrates your capabilities and build confidence in the reader. You can also use this same content to feed your Social Media feeds – 2 for the price of 1!
If you are already using all of the above, congratulations, you are clearly committed to joined-up web marketing If there are 1 or 2 you are not engaged with then maybe a little more focus can deliver real benefits to your business. If you feel there is work you can do on all (or most) of the above then does your web presence reflect the business you want people to see? Maybe your website is doing more harm than good? Important: None of the above ideas need you to start again with a new website. Marketing is a process, not an event. Where appropriate, BSA Marketing has helped clients add all of the above to their existing sites. If you would like to discuss the opportunities for you, give me a call