In the land of social media your website is your hub (all roads lead to your website). All aspects of everything you do with social media, e-mail marketing, web advertising, and your entire digital landscape, should lead to your website. It should be the hub, the center of your digital marketing universe. Your emails, your tweets, your posts on Facebook, your posts on LinkedIn, your photographs on Instagram and Pinterest – all of these things should ultimately direct people to your website and your website should take it from there.
Compare your website to your office or store. Now compare your social media to your networking, chamber meetings and trade show appearances. The point of all that networking, attending chamber lunches and events and for showing up and working pretty darn hard on a trade show floor is to get those visitors to convert into leads for your office or store. This is exactly the same when you go online. All that social networking, project photos and portfolios, posting and tweeting is to get visitors to convert into leads for your primary hub – your website. The majority of people do not buy from a Facebook Page, they buy from a website. Do you see how this works?
I’ll give you a some tips on how you can do this with each of these social mediums in some of the articles to follow, but first I want to focus on your website.
Today, the website you guide visitors to from your social networks cannot be a static brochure that sits there unattended, uncared for, and forgotten. Your website must be a living, breathing, growing, evolving, ever-changing part of your organization. Just as your organization is doing all of these things in the real world, your website should do all these things as well, not just “sit there”. It should inform, educate, service and most of all, IT SHOULD SELL!
What are some of the primary components to include on your website and how can you ensure that you can make it grow, evolve, AND SELL?
A good platform:
What makes a good platform for a website? Well, the average person should be able to edit content and add new content to the website, with very little study or previous web experience. You should, to some degree, be able to master and manipulate the basics on your own website. These days, that’s what makes platforms like WordPress so easy, helpful, and appealing to the average user. For that fact, it is the only platform we ever use to build our client’s websites. I feel a good website company will teach its clients how to take over the reins on their own website to some degree. Also, a good platform allows for growth and will be able to update as new software comes into being.
Responsive and fast:
These points have to do with the way the site is designed and the platform used. Responsive refers to the website adjusting its look for the size of screen it is viewed on; whether it is a mobile device, tablet, laptop, or desktop. It must be easily view-able on all of these devices. When you consider that 47% of all internet traffic is accomplished via a mobile device then you see the importance of that website having good view-ability on all devices automatically. Many factors go into speed and they are detailed in part throughout this article. A number of those factors are behind the scenes but the simple fact remains that if your website does not load in 3 seconds or less people will go elsewhere.
It is important to your organization that your blog be part of your website – not separate but directly part of it. This assists in drawing much higher numbers into the primary hub. There are many different ways to add content to a blog. What exactly IS a blog? A blog is “A personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.” Think of a log, like the kind the captain of a ship would keep – a running record of his adventures. He might say things such as, “Argh the whale almost got me today.” Its purpose is to keep a running record of what is happening in someone’s life or a record of what’s happening in their organization or what that organization is engaged in and would like to share with others. It also keeps your website fresh by constantly adding pages and sections to it via your blog.
Your website should be usable. A great book and a great principle I turn to is the book, “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. By design, a website should be intuitive and should guide visitors to your site where you want them to go. Have you ever walked into a store you regularly visit and they’ve rearranged the place? Or they have the place arranged in some strange fashion that makes absolutely no sense? That can be pretty frustrating, and it’s not done for customer convenience. In his book, Steve Krug says that when a person comes to your website, there is a certain goodwill meter that either increases or decreases as they navigate your site. Usability is a major factor in this goodwill and a lot of times people stay and suffer through a frustrating site, but many times they will leave. Obviously, you want them to stay on your site and enjoy the experience of finding what they need and want. Usability bleeds over into design and includes good headline use, a search function, a useful navigation bar, and the proper size fonts. Usability also includes not talking over the head of your site’s visitors – be intelligent without confusing them.
Besides the usability aspects of design, you want your site’s design to have a position and a flavor that you’re trying to communicate whatever that might be. Design makes it easy for the person to get around but it also communicates who and what you are. Everything contributes, not only to the usability but the feel of the site and the identity that you want to be perceived as having – from the type style used and the type of layout, to the pictures and other items.
Not a religious experience but rather changing a prospect into a buyer. Conversion in the strictest sense is turning someone from a potential customer into an actual customer. Lesser steps are smaller conversions such as turning a visitor into a lead that fills in one of your website forms but are done in the direction of the ultimate goal of acquiring a new customer. Conversion can be strategically fast or slow and buyers vary in how they respond. The conversion of a purchase, which many websites are leading someone toward, can also be the acquiring of a donation, volunteer time, or a number of other end results the site is going for. Baby steps towards this are often required. You might offer them a free e-book to get their email address. Or get them signed up for a newsletter. Or get them to call you. Or get a request for a sample or an estimate form to be filled out. All of these are in the direction of the ultimate conversion, which is a purchase, a donation, volunteer time given, or some other final product.
Social Media Integration:
Although social media should ultimately bring people to your website, you should also have integration on your website that will allow people to connect with you via social media to share the items from your website on their social networks. This sharing will ultimately help you by bringing further traffic to your website. Your website should include share buttons where people can share little bits and pieces of your website on their social networks. This is a function that, for sure, can’t be lived without these days.
This stands for Search Engine Optimization. It simply goes like this: the search engine has the job of servicing the searcher. The search engine wants to give a searcher a good value; it wants to provide a good listing of items found for the searcher when he/she types in a certain set of words or phrases. Many things can be done to help the search engine properly index your website in the grand scheme of all the things so it will be found on the Internet. Keywords associated with your subject, your location, and other various words or phrases people might be searching for, or what you would want them to be searching for in order to find you. Problems that they have that you could solve. Ultimately, search engine optimization has to do with a lot of hard work and intelligent deduction. An ability to take on the viewpoint of the consumer, a little bit of competitive research, and a willingness to read up on the true and false statement on the subject is needed. One simple thing that a person can do is take a look at successful sites and do what they’re doing. If Joe was able to get to the top of the search engine ranking in a category where you want to be, then you should be able to figure out what to do so your site will also get you on that page or maybe beat him. Everything you need to know about this subject is there if you’re willing to look and see. Any firm that would like to sell you search engine optimization should probably be willing to educate you on the subject as well. If you know something about it and the company that you’re working with you can probably accomplish quite a bit.
We help people every week evaluate and tweak their current site to have these factors. It is an apt adage that you should get your own house in order first and that house is your website. Undertaking social media marketing with a weak website will not get the returns you hope for, so always begin at home with your website.
Find out if your website measures up. Contact me to have your website evaluated and see how you can improve lead generation through your site.