Your website is the heart of your online marketing presence. This is the only place on the internet that gives you full control over graphics, messages, and content. Everything else you do online should drive visitors to this website.
But that’s it too, there are plenty of other online channels to consider, from various social media to paid and organic search to local listings. With all of these other marketing channels in the mix, it’s best to plan everything related to your website and train from there. Here are the steps to achieve this.
1. Publish a working website
The first thing you need to do is create an effective website! I’ve already talked about our marketing maturity model. The point is to make sure that the basic marketing elements are in place before moving on to the more advanced elements. You have to crawl before you can run and run! As you can see, a marketing website is at the top of the list in our initial build. If you don’t have a great marketing website, now is the time to fix it.
That means building a website with modern promises and elements of trust. It should be mobile friendly and have a smart, simple design that is easy to navigate. It should have a strong SEO strategy including metadata, keyword research, and off-page elements.
Each page should have a call to action to drive conversions. Additionally, you want to share content in a variety of forms – blog posts, videos, and podcasts – that are valuable to your audience and establish you as a focal point for information in your area of expertise.
Once these basic elements of a great website are in place, you can move your focus outward to incorporate the other online marketing channels into your plan.
2. Create organic social media
We also include social media in the basic stage of the Marketing Maturity Index, and that’s because social media has become an integral part of most people’s daily online experience. Websites like Facebook advertise billions of users every day. Hence, it is important that you have a presence on these important social websites.
When you create profiles on these websites, you want to make sure that your messages and design are consistent with what is going on on your website. Logos, color schemes, and the voice and tone used in writing should match what visitors find when they land on your website. A break in the look and feel between social resources and your website can turn off prospects and undermine trust in your brand.
Once you’ve created the basic profile (which of course includes your website URL!), You can use social media to actively drive visitors to your website. Sharing content on your website is one of the easiest ways. When you’re creating a blog post, explainer video, webinar, or podcast episode, share that content on social media. The content should be accompanied by a small blurb that lets followers know what it’s about and a link that leads them to the content on your website.
3. Create Email Marketing
Email marketing is an integral part of a complete marketing system, but it can sometimes feel disjointed and disconnected from your website. What does a website have to do with communicating directly with your audience via email?
There should be a symbiotic relationship between your email list and your website. A great website has lead capture forms so that interested visitors can sign up for your mailing list and gather valuable information about who they are.
Also, emails sent to your list should contain links to your website in the content. Perhaps you send out a monthly newsletter that can link to relevant blog content on your website. You may be sending emails about new products that are about to be launched and the link in the email sends readers to a page on your website with exclusive inside information about the product that is about to be publicly announced.
4. Add paid social and search
Once you’ve built an organic presence on social media, you can expand your marketing horizons to include paid social and paid search. With paid social and search efforts, you can create ads that target specific groups. This could mean people who live in a specific geographic area, are already customers, or people with a demographic profile similar to the customers you already have.
After you’ve segmented your audience and created a copy of the ad that speaks to each subset of the population, the final step in setting up a successful ad campaign is to create a landing page on the website that is specifically created for each ad.
A landing page tailored to the messages in the ad can help increase conversion rates in paid social and search advertising. Instead of sending visitors to a general page of your website, they are greeted with the information that is specific to the advertising campaign and that caught their attention. This means it will be easier for them to find the information they want and then take action.
5. Integrate offline and online tactics
While online marketing is essential to modern businesses, it’s important not to neglect offline tactics as well. For local businesses in particular, advertising is often of value in more traditional channels such as local print ads in the city newspaper or a direct mail campaign aimed at neighbors.
Even when this tactic is carried out offline, it is possible to direct traffic from offline marketing efforts to your website. Creating UTM codes is an effective way to keep track of where the traffic is coming from. By creating separate codes for each offline tactic, you can measure the results of any print ad, direct mail, or radio spot you run.
An effective website should be at the heart of any company’s marketing efforts. Online or offline, all marketing channels should lead back to this site. That way, you can better understand your target audience, control your messages, and get conversions at every stage of the customer journey. But a great website cannot exist in a vacuum. It takes all other marketing efforts to be your most effective self.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.
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