What is Not a Website Marketing Strategy?
By Thomas Young, CEO Intuitive Websites
A lack of website marketing knowledge is no longer an excuse for the business leaders lack of involvement in marketing their company online.
As you analyze your web marketing strategy and develop your strategic plan it will be easy to confuse some of the things you are currently doing online as strategy, or you may be misled into thinking that these approaches work online. In reality, these mistakes often result in under-performing websites. Here are ten common approaches that often pass for strategy, but do not work.
Get something up on the Internet—do it quick and cheap, and we are done.
Many business leaders take the approach of just getting something on the web and that this is better than nothing. However, this strategy can erode your brand and drive potential customers away, to your competitors. A lack of understanding about web marketing should not translate to inaction. Also, getting a website developed at a bargain price generally leads to poor results and can hurt your brand. An expensive website can also crash and burn. It is the right strategy that drives the results. Websites are never done. You may launch a new website, but it is always under construction and should be improved and updated on a regular basis.
Everyone else has a website, so we need one too.
Websites are used to define your competitive advantage and communicate clearly what separates your company from the competition. Having a copycat website will not differentiate you or grow your market share. Do not build a website because everyone else is doing it. Build a website to position your company above the competition. Take what is unique to you and your loyal customer base and incorporate that into your web presence.
Use the company brochure for the website.
Most brochures do not make good websites. Website visitors will leave quickly if they sense the site’s main purpose is to sell or promote. The site’s content must have value. Brochure copy is often made up of large blocks of text with interchangeable, marketing-speak content that no one reads. That is the last thing you want on your website. Toss out the company brochure, and look to your website to translate and communicate your marketing strategy in a way that draws people to you online.
Our IT or design department handles the website.
Rarely should the IT department or the graphic designers on your team be the leaders of the website marketing strategy. Website marketing strategies must come from the highest levels of marketing. Delegate those tasks to people with strategic marketing and sales experience, or do it yourself. You can learn about the different roles people play in successful website marketing in coming chapters of this book.
I haven’t been to our website in weeks.
What you give attention to in web marketing drives results. It is always surprising to see how many business leaders have not visited their company websites in some time and do not review their website stats on a regular basis. Chances are, if you are not visiting your website, you see it as dormant and not very important. The work on your company website is never done. Design, development and content updates are an ongoing part of online marketing success. Also, make time to review your website stats, as they are key indicators of marketing and business performance.
We don’t need a great website.
This strategy is very difficult to justify in today’s marketing environment, where the majority of buyers research online before contacting a company. This is true in consumer and B2B markets. Every company needs a a modern and high performing website.
Customers know what we do and understand our website.
Your website should be easy to use and understand. This means that just about anyone who comes to your site will understand what your company does and how you add value. Never assume that people understand your website just because you understand it! This is true of even your most loyal customers. Make it easy for people to refer others to your company from your website. Follow the ten-out-of-ten visitor rule: Ten-out-of-ten visitors that come to your website should be able to easily explain the value you bring to clients and customers. Don’t make assumptions about this. Get feedback from your target market and visitors to your website.
Our customers don’t use the Internet; I don’t use it much either.
This is probably a false assumption. Get inside the head of your website’s users and you will find ways they can use your website as a resource. A percentage of website visitors will use your website to research your company and that percentage is growing. The question to ask in this case is: How can we take advantage of the Internet to grow our business?
We don’t have the time or the budget.
This strategy is really an excuse for not doing your homework on web marketing ROI. Website marketing has the best ROI and tracking ability of just about any sales or marketing expense. The best question to ask in this case is: What opportunities are we missing in online marketing?
Our sales leads don’t come from our website.
Generating leads from a website happens when the web strategy implementation falls in line with the research conducted with the target market. Leads won’t come unless you work at it and these leads can be very profitable for your business. These efforts should not happen in a vacuum, but through coordinated efforts with your sales team. Some of your best sales leads may come after they have been referred to your website by your sales team!
Do these ten approaches sound familiar? Many of them are there by default because business leaders have not taken the time to understand how web marketing can grow their business. Replace these losing strategies with a winning web marketing plan defining how your strategy will at website marketing.
- Write a website marketing plan and develop a real strategy, following the four steps.
- Put direction for the website in the hands of marketing and sales strategists at your company.
- Don’t wing it when it comes to web marketing!
- Your website is an investment and will bring a return if you follow the guidelines in the book “Winning the Website War.”