Building a business website is pretty straightforward, and these days there are loads of tools to help you create a really professional looking site. But it doesn’t matter how Google friendly the copy is, or how well managed your AdWords campaign, flicking the switch on your glossy new website is just the start.
Turning your great new website into a source of sustainable sales for your business takes time – at least 6 to 12 months – of continuous and consistent effort.
Like any other part of you marketing strategy a website needs to be actively managed and that means setting goals, monitoring results, and making the necessary changes if the results don’t stack up.
Five Steps to Digital Success
At Sustainable Marketing Services we guide our clients though a five step approach to getting best return from their website.
Firstly, if you want to know whether your website is successful you need to define what success looks like and that’s where we come in:
1. Set Objectives
Sustainable Marketing Services get to know your business, really get to know it, so we can help you set realistic business objectives based initially on industry benchmarks, or assumptions driven by the results of similar businesses or other successful sales campaigns.
Armed with this business knowledge we then help you put together marketing objectives that can be monitored:
- So your business objective might be monthly sales of $10,000
- And that’s supported by a marketing objective of 80 leads per month via the website based on for example assumed conversion rates and knowledge of how much revenue an individual sale will make and the performance of other existing sales channels
Over time those objectives will be refined as feedback from the website’s performance adds to the store of knowledge about what works on the website and what doesn’t.
2. Source Leads
There’s a good chance the visitors to your website found themselves there because they were prompted to visit by some other means, for example:
- An organic search of Google
- Online promotions (AdWords, Display and Remarketing)
- Traditional print advertising
- Social media
- Trade shows
So when marketing budgets are tight it’s important to know which channel drives the most website visitors, and more importantly visitors that convert into sales. In marketing we call that Lead Channel Attribution and it forms a core part of the digital marketing strategies we develop for Sustainable Marketing Services’ clients.
That doesn’t mean if most of your leads come from your Facebook page you drop everything and start bombarding followers with twice as many posts. The most successful strategies adopt an integrated approach that includes a range of different channels.
3. (Good) Content Marketing
Having a website that reaches a wide audience is a start but unless it talks to them in a way they want to hear, it’s not enough.
A successful content marketing strategy gives potential customers enough information so that when they decide to buy, and keep buying, they are confident of always getting what they want. At Sustainable Marketing Services we build successful content marketing strategies that incorporate:
- Promotional banners and supporting campaign pages that target for example previous visitors to your site who are yet to buy anything
- Well informed educational blogs that give visitors to your site added value
- Regular eNewsletters to an existing customer base
- Testimonials and case studies that offer social proof of the benefits of your product
- Capture forms that allow you to add to your database of customers and potential customers
Adding fresh content to your website is engaging for customers, will build your industry reputation, and help maintain any Google rankings - as long as the content is good.
4. Measure and Understand
The only way to know if your website marketing strategy is working is to measure results. For most businesses, website success is measured in terms of conversion rate: how many visitors to my website converted to customers?
At Sustainable Marketing Services we use tools like Google Analytics to help understand where client website visitors are coming from but also their behaviour when they are on the website.
Understanding visitor behavior and using that to modify website design and content is the first step. If for example conversion rates aren’t meeting targets; only after underlying design and content issues have been addressed do we consider other tactics such as promotions and discounts.
For example analysis we did for one of our clients identified that visitors weren’t engaging with ecommerce banners on their site so we turned the banners off and embedded the promotions within the product images for better results.
For another client we developed a more engaging capture form, asking more targeted questions that offered perceived value.
5. Review Refine Repeat
Actively managing your website will turn it into a source of sustainable revenue for your business and at Sustainable Marketing Services we regularly review and report on performance metrics such as:
- Website conversion rates
- Click through rates (on advertising)
- Order values i.e. how much are customers spending and what products are they buying
- Traffic sources
- Unique vs repeat visitors
- Bounce rate i.e. how long visitors spend on any given page
- Pages per session i.e. how many pages visitors view on average per session
We use this information to continually improve the performance of client websites whether it’s revising the content or increasing other marketing activity that drives visitors to the website.
Websites can be a great source of sales for your business but it’s an ongoing cycle of change, review and refinement, and performance improvement.
Book in for a coffee and an informal chat about how Sustainable Marketing Services can help improve your digital marketing strategy.