Your website is an essential tool in your marketing strategy. In today’s digital world people live online, doing research and comparing suppliers. It helps new customers find you and advertises what you can offer. You can use it to keep existing customers informed, improve your customer care and offer online sales through an ecommerce website. It reaches consumers and businesses nationally and internationally - and it can do all of this very cost-effectively.
Planning your marketing website
Before developing your website, you'll need a clear idea of who you are trying to reach and what you want to achieve. Many businesses see their website largely as a way to attract new customers.
To get maximum exposure, you'll need to promote your company website on search engines such as Google. Search engine optimisation (SEO) can help to get your website to the top of natural searches, although this does take a lot of effort. You can also use online advertising to drive traffic to your site. An appropriate and memorable domain name is an essential starting point to help customers find you.
But a website can do more than attract new customers. You can use it to keep existing customers up to date with special offers, product launches and news about your business. You can improve your customer service and cut costs by providing information and contact details online.
Website design and content
The design of your website should reflect your business image and brand identity. A cheap, do-it-yourself approach is unlikely to give a good impression. But complex design and technologies are only worthwhile if these suit your image and help your website fulfil your goals. Above all, your customers must be able to find what they need quickly - via clearly laid-out information and straightforward navigation.
Your content should be led by your marketing objectives. For example, if you want users to visit repeatedly, provide regular updates. To encourage visitors, you can send email alerts when the site is updated or circulate a regular newsletter.
Maintaining your company website
Building and launching your website is just the start. You then need to make sure that it works properly and is regularly updated. Out-of-date content, slow page loading and technical hitches are deeply frustrating for visitors and they will simply click away.
Choosing the right internet service provider (ISP) to host your company website will ensure your website performs. You should also respond to customer enquiries promptly. If you don't have the time to do this, pay someone else to do it.
A good website design will also incorporate tracking software that enables you to see which pages are popular and which are under-performing. Tools like Google Analytics will allow you to test different content to see how you can improve your performance. Regular monitoring and ongoing website development are critical if you are to continuously improve the results you get from your marketing website.
Lisa Hunter is an experienced Marketing, Events and Project Manager. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the IT and marketing industry, delivering strategic marketing support and managing creative projects for a wide-range of clients. In this blog she shares her knowledge and experiences…we hope you enjoy it.