Provide some food for thought as you refine your web strategy. Provide context to help you plan and prioritize moving forwards. Generate some discussion around websites. Note: While this will provide a good overview not an in-depth review examination of each area!
A vast majority of websites are set up to dramatically underperform. This is ridiculous when you consider that the website is the focal point of most marketing activities. Several root causes of the problem: ◦ Business owners/managers aren’t always web experts. ◦ Website developers don’t always understand business goals and/or know how to integrate them in sites. ◦ Website developers typically aren’t experts in all the online channels. ◦ Business owners/website developers don’t want to slow down the site creation process. ◦ Bottom line is that you need someone within your organization to “own” the process and make sure all the right things happen.
There is no one “formula” but rather a set of principles to apply and analyze: ◦ Goals X Audience type X strategy X execution = infinite variations. The ultimate goal is to create your own set of best practices.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there! Hierarchy of strategy:1. Overall Business Objectives.2. Web Strategy (how can the site support the overall business strategy).3. Overall site goals derived from strategy.4. Goals as they apply to the different sections/pages of the site.5. Measurement of goals and adjustment. What might this look like in practical terms...
Simplified example – PlusROI’s upcoming site redevelopment: Our top business objective is to build a portfolio of long term clients with an appreciation for the type of work we’re doing. Our web strategy is to build credibility and educate our clients/potential clients in order that they can understand web marketing and consider us if they’re ever looking for help.
Our site goals are to: 1. Get visitors who are not “in the market” to sign up for our educational newsletters. 2. Generate inquiries regarding our services. As we’ve clarified and prioritized our goals, it’s fairly easy to identify how to apply them in different sections of the site: ◦ The main call to action on the home page will be to sign up for the newsletter. ◦ The secondary call to action will be to contact us. ◦ The over-riding call to action on service pages will be “contact.” ◦ The over-riding call to action in our blog and resource pages will be to “sign up.”
To measure our goals (simplified): On a monthly basis we’ll track the number of contacts and signups according to which page they came from (and the campaign source). We’ll test different calls to action for the different actions. We’ll tinker (and track) how different page layouts and types of copy/content affect our goals.
What do these home pages tell us about their respective focus and goals?
At a high level, you need to understand the needs of your visitors so you can: Let them know immediately they’re in the right place and that your site/company offers the best solution for their needs (benefit-driven headlines, subheads, bullets, images). Establish instantly that you’re credible and trustworthy (short testimonials, recognition, featured high profile clients, professional affiliations, good design and professional copy). Offer a clear and logical call to action. This is particularly important on the home page but critical to consider this on all important “entry pages.”
We don’t have time today to dig deep into persona development, but at a minimum you need to:1) Prioritize your visitor types after describing each different “target”: ◦ Age. ◦ Sex. ◦ Location. ◦ Education. ◦ Motivations for using your product/services). ◦ Etc, etc, etc. ◦ Note that a fully fledged effort goes MUCH deeper than this and often involves creating several fictional “personas” who embody your different visitor types.
2) Prioritize your visitor types and consider ALL the decision makers. ie: ◦ For a photo app site the visitor likely IS the decision maker. ◦ For a family activity, the kids may be stakeholders but MOM is likely the decision maker. ◦ Corporate purchasers looking for a technical solution may have: An IT researcher whose wants the most advanced technical solution. A Manager who wants a functional solution, but for whom the CYA imperative is the most important factor. A CFO who needs to sign of whose criteria are cost and/or ROI. If you don’t consider your visitor types and decision makers, you’re not going to be nearly as successful as you could be.
Crystal clearexample of justtwo types ofvisitors target: People wanting aproject managementsolution (they havealmost certainly testedimages of women vsmen btw). Customers wantingto log in.
Invite visitors to take the next step (which you know because you researched your users). Resist the myth that offering ALL choices they may consider is in the best interest of your visitors (or your business). Pick the right calls to action for the right pages. On any given page: ◦ Identify where visitors have “come from.” ◦ Identify the logical “next steps” for them. ◦ Prioritize the next steps and present them accordingly.
Incredibly focused call to action – any thoughts on making it more persuasive?Lovely images, but wherethe heck do you go?
SEO is often NOT a part of the traditional web development process. You must integrate your SEO strategy with the site creation process and all other marketing efforts for it to be effective (which also drives dramatically higher ROI for those other efforts over time). SEO requires some ongoing effort, but is an extremely high-ROI activity for those companies who pursue it!
Many see SEO as an awkward, artificial process. To succeed in having a site that appeals to both users and search engines you need to get beyond that. We advocate that you: 1. Use research to find the actual terms (keywords) people are using to search for your type of product or service. 2. Incorporate these keywords into your site copy. 3. Optimize the relevant pages on your site for the relevant keywords. Not so hard, but few people do it well! Guide link provided at end of presentation.
If you “set it and forget it” you can expect very few visitors. Imagine opening a physical store without signage, ads or a phone listing. Many see a web site launch as the end of a process. It’s really just the start! You need to look at the right combination of: ◦ Advertising. ◦ Branding (even as simple as a great signature encouraging visitors to your site). ◦ Community Participation. ◦ Social Media. ◦ Online PR. ◦ Guest Posting. ◦ Link Building. ◦ Offline Activities.
For fast-moving companies, content is not always the most exciting area BUT: ◦ Google has made it necessary to create content and leverage a content strategy if you want to succeed in a competitive market. ◦ Content is critical for building trust/credibility with visitors (which you MUST achieve before they’ll get out their wallets). ◦ Content is mandatory for “inbound marketing” (the current en vogue term for “pull” marketing). ◦ If you don’t have content, it’s impossible to succeed at: Search Engine Optimization. Social Media. Email Marketing. Two kinds of currency on the web: cash or content.
Your content plan should incorporate some or all of the following: ◦ Your blog. ◦ Guest posting on other sites/blogs. ◦ Your “news” section. ◦ Your case studies, white papers, user stories, etc. ◦ Your email marketing efforts. ◦ Your social media strategy. ◦ Your Search Engine Optimization goals and priorities. ◦ Your online PR and traditional PR. ◦ Offline trade shows and advertising. ◦ Speaking engagements. You don’t have to do all these things but you’ll be hard pressed to succeed on the web without some consistent efforts. By leveraging a strategy and common themes you can exponentially improve your content ROI.
Websites are the most important marketing presence for most companies and yet few are properly tracked. Websites (even small ones) can be tracked and improved. Google Analytics is free, but you need to understand how to leverage it!
Smart companies build in ROI ratio tracking on a campaign by campaign basis, often with campaign tracking feeding automatically into the CRM system. Same theories apply for software downloads/sales, appointment bookings, membership signups, email subscriptions, etc, etc, etc. Does it matter?
Google Analytics URL Builder allows you to track all external links.
Ad Conversion Tracking Example (Adwords): Campaigns & Budget Hidden for Client Privacy Hmm. Should we focus on the campaign that converts at $11 per sale or the one that converts at $202 for this $40 software product?
“Organic” Search Tracking by Search Query (Analytics): Search Queries Hidden for Client Privacy Hmm. Having identified the top terms, we’ll: Review at the Page Title/Description (which make up the Google search results). Look at the bounce rate and content on the page to ensure the page is serving us well...
Top Landing Pages, showing performance (Analytics): Page URLs Hidden for Client Privacy A healthy set of pages, but with this information we might: See if we can improve the bounce rate on the most visited page? See why one of the pages leads to rather low visit durations?
Which pages are people leaving from on our site (exit vs bounce)?: Page URLs Hidden for Client Privacy In this example we’ll immediately look to see why one of the pages has a 70.75% exit rate? Does this make sense? (i.e. If it’s a contact page). Otherwise, is there something wrong with the page?
Other elements to look at include: Percentage of visits from mobile devices (including exactly which devices). Visits by Country, Province/State and City). # of visits “referred” by other sites (and which sites are sending traffic). There’s a wealth of information that most small to medium size businesses don’t even look at monthly, much less act on!
Prioritize the areas you want to work on so you can focus on the most important one and not feel overwhelmed. Adjust your scope so you can do a good job on the areas you tackle (better than doing a bad job on a wide variety of areas). Do further research on your top areas. Use common sense – look at everything in the context of your visitors and goals and you’ll do great!
Google Campaign Builder (for links tagged as campaigns): http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en- GB&answer=1033867 Google Guide to SEO (PDF): http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/u ntrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search- engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf Our blog: http://jumpstartweb.com/blog/ (for now!) Upcoming Seminars. With your permission, Ill also sign you up for our newsletter and send a link to the slides. Contact me at Rob@PlusROI.com with any web marketing or website questions.