So many times, we have clients who want to jump into social media, which is great because social media marketing definitely works. BUT…there are a few components you have to have in place before diving in head first.
The very FIRST PRIORITY and MOST IMPORTANT TOOL in your toolbox when marketing online is your website. Just “having” a website is not good enough. You must have a well-engaging, well-converting website. You have to remember that when it all boils down to it, one of the main reasons we market on various online networks is to DRIVE TRAFFIC TO OUR WEBSITE. So it is imperative that when people get there, that the site engages them to convert in some form or fashion. We don’t want all of our efforts in driving people to our website to result in them just hitting the back button. What good does that do?
Let’s first address what a conversion is. A conversion is when a visitor takes a call to action. They essentially take a step to consume your information. Conversions could be:
- Subscribing to your blog RSS.
- Downloading free report/signing up for your newsletter.
- Following you on Twitter
- “Liking” you on Facebook
- Connecting with you on LinkedIn
- Emailing you
- Calling you
- Purchasing something online
When we drive people to our websites, we want people to CONVERT. All of the above conversions are valuable…not just the “purchase something online”. 65% of people do not “buy” the first time they visit a website. Generally they are just consuming information first, or researching. That’s why it’s so important to give people options on how to receive this information. Many times we have to build trust and credibility with our visitors before they “buy”.
So, what makes a WELL ENGAGING, WELL CONVERTING website? There are five things I always look for in a website.
- Does it look professional, or does it look like my 14-year old nephew made it? Many times, our website is our first impression online. So it’s extremely important that if you’re doing business online that you have a professional appearance (meaning a professional-looking website). You wouldn’t show up to visit a new prospect in a T-shirt and shorts, right? Same idea goes for your website.
- Does it have a blog? A blog is ESSENTIAL to a good online campaign for several reasons:
- A blog is your education component. Again, the goal is to establish trust and credibility…that YOU are the industry expert. Show you are up with the latest-and-greatest, and you care enough to share these resources and tips with your visitors. Obviously don’t give away any proprietary information.
- A blog feeds into your social media outlets and syndicates out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…again getting your great information out to the masses, building trust and credibility.
- A blog is essential for a good Search Engine Optimization campaign. Content is key to the search engines. Google LOVES new content…relevant content. By providing new content consistently on your site that is relevant to your keywords, you are going a long way to increase your search engine rankings. Keep in mind, this is not the ONLY thing you have to do…there are over 200 items that go into optimizing a website for search rankings, but fresh, relevant content is essential.
- Does it have a free giveaway to entice them to sign up for our newsletter? People get so many emails in their inboxes these days…no one in their right mind is going to sign up for another newsletter. HOWEVER, by providing a great free report in exchange for their name and email address, we can capture leads. Generally a “Top 10 List of…”, “7 Secrets to…” or a “How to….” are great giveaways that people will want to download. If they download the report, obviously they are a hot lead that you can now continue to market to through your email marketing campaign.
- Is it integrated with your social media outlets? Can people easily follow you on Twitter, “Like” you on Facebook, see your YouTube videos or connect with you on LinkedIn? Can people easily share or “Like” content on your site? This is essential to help spread the word and great content you are producing with the masses.
So, all of the above is to say, BEFORE you jump on the social media bandwagon, take minute to make sure your website is a true MARKETING TOOL that is working to engage and convert the visitors that come to your site. If your website does not do this, NO AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE WILL GET YOU BUSINESS if your site doesn’t convert!