We hear a lot about Customer friendly websites – is the navigation simple to use? Are the images arresting? Is your colour scheme looking good? Does the site load quickly?
But in order to be customer friendly, your website needs to be ‘Marketing friendly’. What do we mean by this? What we mean is that are you able to quickly adjust to changes in your business environment? Maybe you need to quickly change your messaging or add new products or quickly do a blog or even respond to external events.
Our experience is that an emphasis on how your site looks often excludes and in fact interferes with building a marketing engine which attracts customers as well as giving them a nice experience when they land. It’s also important that when a customer lands on your website there is content that interests them and helps them do their job, as opposed to just simply read about your latest products.
So how can you tell if your website is Marketing friendly? Here are 5 things you need to check to make sure that your website is in good shape for your marketing people to take advantage of the site.
How easy is it to change your front page?
Can you quickly and easily change the messages on your front page? Can you add images, announcements or blogs so that they appear instantly on your front page? If the answer is no, you should speak to whoever developed your site and explain your requirement, or get rid of them and re-build with something that allows changes.
Are you able to build marketing campaigns within the website?
Marketing campaigns aren’t one offs. Your marketing people want to build campaigns that firstly attract visitors then move them along a process to ultimately purchase something. That means ensuring that you can create campaigns consisting of content, landing pages, download pages, calls to action and forms then lead them to order a service or product. To do all that you need a website that helps you to do that, or alternatively a Marketing Automation system that integrates with your website.
You probably get statistics but does your website provide data, information and insights?
Google Analytics is fine – you get the numbers, but it takes a well trained individual to extract data and insight from Google Analytics. Sometimes you need the website to provide information in a simpler way without paying a Google Analytics expert. Often this type of information and insight – like what pages are performing better, which pages attract customers, what pages are never read and which pages are more constructive. To use a football analogy – a top notch striker won’t score goals unless he is being fed balls and that’s what you need to know – which pages convert visitors into customers and why?
Is your website integrated with your Social Media, SEO & Keywords?
One of the real surprises we’ve discovered over the years is that because the website is so damned difficult to change it’s often out of date and all the real marketing goes on in Social Media. But when people want to find out more they go to your website and find out that it’s inconsistent or what you were promoting on Social Media doesn’t appear anywhere on the website. Here you need to create content within the website and feed it out to Social Media, not the other way round. Our experience is that Marketers are comfortable starting at the Social Media end and the website, at some point, might catch up. Don’t fall into this trap. Make sure that your website is designed to help you feed your social media.
Can your website help identify ‘ready to buy’ customers?
The answer we suspect is probably ‘no’. Traditionally built websites are not built for this. They key to understanding where a customer is in their buying cycle is to produce content that fits in with their requirements as buyers – Are they just looking in which case a 10% off deal probably won’t work – but a customer who is ready to buy may like the idea of an offer. That’s why your website needs to provide content that’s tailored to the buying cycle of the customers.
We hope this is helpful – please let us know if we’ve hit the right spot or whether you have a different take. We’d be delighted to hear from you.