Not long ago a company website was nothing more than an online version of your business card and sales brochure with a contact form. It was something you could buy or build as a one-off project and then leave it until another redesign or upgrade was needed.
This is simply not the case anymore.
The world is turning more and more digital as the web is becoming more fragmented with the variety of connected devices growing. New tools and services that help us manage our of daily tasks more efficiently are launching constantly. We can now easily access almost any information and service right there when we need it.
This is a challenging situation for businesses because we need to be present and active in so many places at once. The number of social media channels used by our target audience is so large that it’s difficult to maintain an active presence in all of them without external help.
Investment in social media and other external mediums, however, is completely wasted if our website does not serve any added value to your potential customer.
Many companies are investing in Facebook for example, but finding particularly hard to measure the impact on sales.
To make sure you get the most out of Social Media, Search and other external traffic sources, it’s best to focus on your website first to make sure you’re delivering something valuable.
In this post, we will go through a few easy tips that will help you get concrete measurable results and drive more sales.
Set one goal and commit working towards it
In many cases, the website redesign project starts going wrong when we start obsessing about design details and choice of platform way too early in the process.
Choosing the right CMS for your needs can have a huge impact speeding the content publishing process in the long run, but you should first figure out what type of content to create, to whom and why.
Why do we want to improve the website, who we want to reach, what are the business goals we need to achieve?
Do not try to do everything at once, choose one thing that will make the biggest impact when improved. This way you are spending the time efficiently and likely to see results.
The goal could be one of the following:
- More traffic
- More leads
- Activate existing leads
Set a clear target goal and a realistic timeline. Find out where you stand at the moment and document all the metrics, results can be hard to measure if you don’t know where you started from. Monitor your progress on a regular basis, at least weekly.
Business goals and budgets are set traditionally for the year ahead with smaller milestones on a quarterly and monthly basis. This same principle can be applied when measuring a website performance and marketing performance.
Your goal may be, for example, to double your leads. If the starting point is 12 leads a month, you will need to make that 24 in a years time. So during the first month, your goal is to get one more making it to 13. Doesn’t sound that hard, does it?
Find out where and to find growth
First, you need to understand what you are trying to improve.
Spend some time analysing your website traffic and visitors. Where they come from, who they are and what content are they reading? How many of them are converting to leads and with those who are not, find out why?
In addition to Google Analytics, it’s a good idea to install few other tools to measure user experience and collect more detailed data on user level. There are some free tools you can use. HotJar and SumoMe can both generate heatmaps, with HotJar you can also get video recordings of your visitors which is really useful when trying fix a specific UX issue. With HotJar you can also do visual funnels, track forms and run polls to collect spontaneous feedback from your users.
Collecting information on individual users is also possible. Traditionally this has been a feature of high-end marketing automation systems, but HubSpot has developed a tool called LeadIn that gives you some of those features for free. You can also sync contacts with third party tools like MailChimp.
Once you have a good idea who your visitors are, you can improve your results in two ways:
- Get more potential customers to your website
- Help them convert to leads by providing more valuable content and guiding them towards the right actions
By knowing who your ideal customers are and where they come from, you can boost your results further by focusing paid advertising on those channels. In the long term, improving organic traffic is much easier when you know where to focus your content publishing.
Make sharing easy
The power of social media is people and what they share with their peers. If you have customers, you pretty likely are talked about in social media already even if your company does not exist there.
People will share your content and talk about your brand and products, good or bad, whether you wanted it or not.
Here are a few simple ways to improve visibility and keep track of what people are talking about you.
1. Make sharing and recommending your content as easy as possible
Sharing functionality should be installed on all pages. There are a number of free tools is available such as AddThis and SumoMe. I recommend the former because it also offers some handy features for tracking analytics growing your e-mail list. Also make sure you optimise your content for sharing, you want your links to look awesome when shared!
2. Monitor what people are talking about your company’s products and services
When people talk about your product or service, I’ll bet you want to know about it? Luckily there are a number of tools such as Mention that tracks what people say about you across social media and the web.
You don’t need a Twitter or Facebook account to monitor your mentions, but should consider creating one to participate in the discussion. Handling a negative feedback the right way can turn it into a positive experience for your customer.
Build your e-mail list
Most of your visitors will not come back, and very few will buy or contact you on the first visit, especially if the visitor has come through advertising, the money is completely wasted if you let them leave without leaving a trace.
E-mail is by far the most effective marketing channel, yet too few use it actively to engage with their visitors and customers.
Just adding a sign-up form won’t do much, your visitors need to receive something. So make sure your sign-up looks as attractive as possible and provides some real value in return.
This could be any of the following:
- A newsletter providing a potential customer with valuable information
- Downloadable content such as e-book or white paper
- Useful tool or test
- Webinar or a video
By monitoring who keeps returning to your website time after time and what content they read, you will be able to target the sales messages to only those who are genuinely interested in your product.
If email marketing is new to you, you can create a free MailChimp account and start building your list today. Using the service is free for up to 2000 contact and still very affordable after that.
If you already have a list in a spreadsheet or a CRM system, you can easily add them in and start nurturing your existing contacts.
Whether you have a brand new website or one with a desperate need of refurbishment, the best thing you can do is to track its performance and start improving it focusing on one area at the time.
If conversions, heat maps and SEO are not part of your day job, don’t hesitate to contact me.