It used to be that a website was just an internet-based representation of a business; the virtual storefront for a real-world physical business somewhere.
If that’s what you think, keep two words in mind: Borders and Amazon. To visit a Borders bookstore today you would have to travel to Malaysia (where it isn’t even owned by Borders anymore).
Amazon is a few keystrokes away from where you’re sitting right now.
For most of your customers today, your website is your business. They expect to be able to find everything they used to be able to find in a brick and mortar store on your site: product information, purchase support, customer service. They expect to find it easily and fast, 24 / 7 / 365.
So it’s helpful to think of your site as a physical place — one that’s open day and night and that customers don’t have to change out of their pajamas to visit.
It needs to be welcoming and easy to navigate, with clear signage that leads visitors to the various departments. It should display your products or services in ways that make them appealing and engaging. It should have expert customer service available when it’s needed. And when a visitor is ready to make a purchase, the process needs to be easy, fast and enjoyable.
When you’re building a site, you’re not designing it for your business. You’re designing it for your customers.
Why is it so important to see your site through their eyes? Because of the one major difference between your online business and a brick and mortar store: Statistics say 85 percent of the first-time visitors to your site will never come back. If your competitor’s store is as close as yours is, and customers wear pajamas there, too, you need to do everything you can to keep them from shopping around.
When it comes to your website, “What it is” may be all about your customers, but “Why it’s important” is all about you.
Your company’s website is the most important marketing asset of your business. Period. For your business to be successful, you need to focus time, attention and investment on your site before anything else.
For your customers, your site is where your business lives. But for you, the role of your site is more complicated. It’s the hub of all of your marketing efforts. All of your marketing spokes — everything you can read about on the pages of this website — converge at that hub: paid media, social media, podcasts, SEO, video. The only reason you do any or all of them is to get people on your site.
Why are you you trying to get them there? Not just to make a sale. Chances are they won’t buy right away. But once they’ve visited, you can start engaging with them.
All the social media channels you want to be on offer tracking pixels you can incorporate into your site. That means after a visitor arrives at your site, our analytics can follow them across the internet and communicate with them — even when they’re not on your own site.
Does that sound creepy? It’s not. It’s good customer service. Someone showed an interest in what you offer, and you — just like an expert floor assistant in a brick and mortar store — thoroughly explain all their options to be sure their needs are met and they have an excellent shopping experience.
Your website is all about marketing your business. But the experience it provides is all about your customers.
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WILL HELP YOU
If your website is the hub of all your marketing efforts, the first thing we’ll do it ensure your site is ready for that role. (If you don’t have a site yet, we’ll help you create it.)
Because an underperforming site will cripple everything else you do.
To optimize your site we’ll use analytics to tell us what visitors to your site are doing while they’re there: What they’re looking at, what they’re looking for, where they’re coming from and going to. That lets us re-engineer your site to give visitors everything they need to become customers.
With that essential hub in place, we can start work on the spokes. We can implement search engine optimization on the content on your site and social media so your business moves up the Google search results page. We can make sure your content on social platforms is providing what visitors to your site are looking for.
We can show you how to use video to reach out to people who are likely to be interested in your products and services. You can start a podcast that enhances your brand by offering shareable information that goes beyond the sale.
All along the way we’ll use analytics to prove the benefits of your efforts and to maximize the impact of your next steps.
Marketing success depends on a successful website. And a successful site makes many, many future successes possible.