At the risk of sounding like a broken record, your website is your most valuable employee. This concept drives everything we do at GuppyFish Web Design, which is why we repeat it so often. Your website is the only part of your organization that never sleeps, gets sick, or goes on vacation. It doesn’t have to take care of sick family members. Even the owner of your business or organization can’t make that claim! So let’s talk about how to leverage that power and use your website as a marketing tool instead of just a pretty page.
First of all, you can’t use your website as a marketing tool if nobody ever visits it. That may seem obvious, but it still bears repeating. For that reason, you must concentrate on your site’s SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. For those who use WordPress, the Yoast plugin gets you off to a great start with that. While we have other posts that address SEO in more detail, suffice it to say for this post you need to pay attention to search engine rankings. We also have a free SEO email course that will help you learn how to improve this aspect of your site.
Know Your Website Marketing Persona(s)
Sadly, too many business owners skip this step. You absolutely must know your audience. You can’t use your website as a marketing tool unless you know who you’d like to reach. Therefore, spending time establishing a marketing persona will take you a long way toward publishing content and information that caters to your audience. This is too important to stab blindly in the dark.
Improve Website Functionality
How easy is your website to navigate? As we’ve mentioned before, visitors will drop your website like a hot potato if it’s difficult to use or unattractive. Ask yourself what you want people to DO when they visit your site, and make it easier than easy to allow them to perform that action. Ideally, you need more than one way to get where you want the visitor to go, from links on the homepage to the menu bar.
If you really want to use your website as a marketing tool, ask others what they think about it. Find out from a fresh set of eyes whether people can find what they want or need easily or if they find it confusing. The latest design trends may look cool, but they serve no purpose if they complicate usability.
Use Clear Calls to Action
As stated above, once you know what you want the user to DO on your website, make sure you make it really, really easy for them to do it. You must have clear and prominent calls to action that draw in the user and make them want to do the desired task. Your website should feature buttons, forms, and other easy to spot calls to action directing them to the right place.
Use Your Website for Marketing Lead Generation
Lastly, but definitely not least important, your website should generate leads for your business. To do that, you need to be able to gather email addresses and other contact information. Once you have the ability to email the user, you can establish a trusting relationship through marketing automation. Some examples of lead generation tools include:
- Lead magnets
- Content upgrades
- Blog subscriptions
- Free trials
- Special offers or coupons
If you don’t offer anything like this on your site, what reason do people have to give you their information? That just screams “missed opportunity”.
So instead of having your website just sit and collect virtual internet dust, make it work for you! In the meantime, keep swimming along!