Web strategy | That’s built-in, not laid-on

Awareness, consideration & action. Websites are relevant to all three stages of the marketing funnel. That’s why the web is increasingly at the center of all marketing strategy.  The web is a powerful marketing tool, but to be effective, the strategy must be built into the site.  It has to be central to planning, design and programming.  The first two components of web strategy (getting traffic and converting visitors into leads and customers) are about generating revenue.  The third component (having a site that is easy to update) is about controlling costs.  For a site to pay for itself, it needs to generate revenue.  Marketing websites must generate lead; ecommerce sites must generate sales.  In order to do so, sites must do three things:

1. Get Traffic

Without visitors, nothing else matters.  Think about it.  Every website on the internet is waiting for visitors. For some, it can be a very long wait.  Have a plan, even if it’s a typical plan.  Search engine marketing, combined with email marketing is a good start.  Be easy to find and be ready to keep in touch.  There are more than a dozen other ways to get traffic.  Choose at least two and think about adding more.

 2. Convert Visitors Into Leads & Customers

Now that visitors are aware of you, you need to introduce yourself and compel them to act.  A visitor who becomes a lead or customer has “converted.”  Conversion rates are measured as a percentage.  How high or low is determined mostly by three things: design appeal, content and usability.

  • Design – You have to look good because everyone’s a critic and getting a visitor to engage is the key.
  • Content – Communicate clearly and directly with your audience.
  • Usability – Make it easy for them to become convinced they need what you’re offering, and, then, easy for them to take the desired action.

“Easy to use” means easy for your visitors to get around and find the information they need. But it also means having the right features:

  • If you have lots of pages or products, have a search tool.
  • If you have events, have a calendar.
  • If you have a location, have a map.
  • Got photos? Have a gallery.

There are many types of conversions in web marketing: subscribers (for email marketing), members (for directories and associations), job applicants (recruiting sites), registrants (event sites) and Facebook Fans and Twitter followers (social media).

3. Update Easily

If you’ve had a website before, you probably already know that there is another key element to web strategy: managing content.  Sooner or later, changes will need to be made. Digital ink is never dry.  If the site isn’t easy to update, there will be hidden costs, delays or headaches.

Far too often, making changes to the site is cumbersome, at best, and almost impossible, at worst. The result is that needed changes are often deferred leading to an outdated website that the site’s owner doesn’t want customers or potential customers to see.  You’ve probably heard someone say: “Yes, I have a site, but please don’t look at it.”  Not a good situation…

One simple consideration upfront that avoids this completely is a solid, easy-to-use content management system (“CMS”).  This is the name of the tool that lets you update your site quickly and at no cost.  The best content management systems let you choose the page, make needed changes and click “save.”  It should be that simple to keep your site updated.

Having a consistent, easy-to-use content management system is a “must-have” for any web strategy.  Without it, you can expect a slower, more expensive process, even if the changes you have in mind are simple.

Web marketing and web strategy should always start with these three considerations.  In the end, they determine how long your website will remain useful and how soon it will need to be redesigned.  If a site is missing even one of these essential elements, the website is likely to require a redesign much sooner – with all the additional costs, time and hassles involved in creating a new site.

Contact Maimoon to discuss Web Strategy »