Why Your Website is Your Most Important Marketing Asset

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  • 65% of people see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source.

  • 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website.

  • 46% say a website is the biggest determinant of whether they trust a company.


If you own a business today, your website is your biggest marketing asset. Even if you get most of your customers from other channels like networking or foot traffic, people still look at your website to see if you are legitimate. Make sure you are using your website as a tool to educate, delight and instill trust in your customers.

What is SEO?

An easy way to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that it is your reputation with search engines like Google. If you have a good reputation, based on the content on your site, the search engine is more likely to list you as a top result when people search for your product.

The best way to improve SEO is to provide a good user experience (UX) for your site visitors. This is done by providing information, products and/or services in an easy to use way. If your site works well for people, the search engines will like it too because search engines like Google are trying to provide good results to their users.

Understand the Customer Journey

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The Customer Journey is the path your customers will take to make a purchase with you. The path will depend on what you are offering and who your customers are. Be sure to create personas for your target customers first.

So when people visit your website, what do you want them to do? How do you lead them down that path? How do you ask them to do it?

Here’s a clue, if you don’t have any call to action (CTA) buttons on your site, you’re customers probably don’t know what you want them to do.

Why Start with Your Website?

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius

 

I’m a marketing professor and have written several marketing books, I love marketing and will talk your ear off about it if you let me. One thing I work with people on is to be strategic. Do some thinking before you spend money. The website is part of your marketing tactics, not really your strategy, so why do I jump ahead to talk about websites with people?

  1. Everyone has a website or needs one

  2. People know what websites are so we can have a conversation

Websites are the way for me to start a conversation with people about their business. From there I can backtrack and make sure their strategy is on target before actually building or updating their current site.

Are You Getting Customers From Your Website?

How many of your customers come from your website? How many people look at your site to see if you are legitimate before they do business with you? If you aren’t sure or you don’t have one, let’s talk.


Do you want an expert to look at your website
and give you recommendations?

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 7 - Mashups, Feeds and Gadgets

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Google Gadgets

When you visit a site and see a little box with news results it is more often than not coming from a news feed place inside a gadget. If your site has great content you should syndicate and make it available to others in the form of gadgets. You can also open up proprietary information and allow others to mash it up into their own creations. Feedburner can help you turn your blog into a feed and sites like Widgetbox and Google Gadgets can help you turn them into gadgets.
 
Making a widget on Widgetbox 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 8 - Browser Based Traffic

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 5 - Microsites and Subsites

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

 

Having multiple subsites and microsites that point back to your main site can be good and bad. On the good side, you can customize these sites to target audiences better. You also have inbound links coming from your own sites coming back to your main web address. The bad news is that unless you are careful, it is easy to confuse your customers as to what site they are on.

Often subsites will click through to a main site and people get lost. You also are diluting the power of your main brand and website when you have subsites. It is better to have all of your traffic going to your main domain so it gets credit for being a popular site with search engines.

Sometimes it makes sense to have a landing page for a campaign or promotion. These can be very effective when they have a single purpose and a clear focus. Make sure that you explain what is happening and where people will go when they click if you send them away from the page.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 6 - Blogs

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Email is not new and not as glamorous as some of the cutting edge web technologies available today, but done right it can be the number one traffic driver for your site. The chart below lays out a solid strategy for any web marketing program using Chuck as your hypothetical subscriber.

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Chuck Gets Email Infographic

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Social Networks

HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 2 - Banner Ads

(This is an excerpt from the book Internet Marketing for Newbies - read the whole book for FREE)

Using Banner Ads
Placing a billboard type ad on other websites has been around for a long time. They have waxed and waned in popularity as some studies show that many people ignore banner type advertisements. 
 
Banner Blindness
Many studies have shown that people are good at ignoring advertising. Site visitors have learned to hone in on the main content and ignore banners as demonstrated in the heat map below. The red areas show where people look the most. Notice that the text is red and the images and banners are rarely seen.
 
Heat map showing banner blindness. Yellow boxes are banners, red and yellow areas are what the visitor is reading
People do block banner ads for the most part, but don’t rule them out completely for your site. Sometimes a well placed banner ad that contains related content can be effective.

 

Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 3 - Email Marketing

MPulse Mobile Web Application added to the Portfolio

Campaign:
Entry into the Maritz Mprize competition

Client:
marketingenious

Address:
mpulsemobile.info

Summary:
This project involved creating a moblie application for entry into the Maritz Mprize competition. I created the initial concept for the project as well as developed the video, Google video ads, logo, colors, marketing plan, social media sites (Twitter and Facebook), QR Codes, and presentation to judges.

 

MPulse Overview (Artwork by Jon Bullok)
 

 
Ad: QR Codes + Mpulse = The Future
 

 
Ad: How to Give Feedback from Your Mobile Device
 
Check out the rest of my portfolio

TIP: Boost User Experience By Adding Hyperlinks

I got the above email from my daughter's grade school the other day. Sure there are many things that could have been added to this email to get my attention like what the newsletter contains, that there is important information I need to know, maybe even a line from the person or organization that sent the message. Not to mention the CANSPAM Act mandated unsubcribe links or a physical address.

But the one thing that could save this email is a hyperlink.

All the schools are given long URL's containing some combination of edu/us/k12/kitchensink. I can't ever remember it, and even if I do, now I have to hunt for the newsletter link.

I appreciate that schools are embracing technology, and I give them points for trying, but next time send me a link please.

A good rule of thumb for them, and you too, is "When in doubt hyperlink."

 

Are your emails useful? Is your site easy to navigate? Do you take the guesswork out of how to find information on your site?

Should You Build a Mobile Website or App?



I've been working with a team to build a mobile app for Maritz in the MPrize competition. One of the first debates was whether to build a mobile app, or a mobile website.

I argued that a mobile website would be easier to implement and be available over multiple platforms all at once. Mobile apps are great, but they take a lot more effort to put together. Then you have to get people to install them, and keep them updated. The team decided to go with the mobile website instead of an app.

Today Mashable posted a report of how the top Twitter client Tweetdeck is building a mobile web interface, which makes it sound like I may have been right ;)

The article goes over in more detail the many reasons why they chose this path.

What do you think is the best approach?

Quick Guide to Internet Marketing: 9 Tips for Success on the Net


To market successfully you must incorporate the Internet into your business plan, but be sure to follow these 9 tips for success on the net:


1 Get Sticky

Your site is sticky if it keeps visitors looking and returning to your site. A good way to do this is to have up to date relevant information or “heroin content.”


2 Heroin Content

“Heroin content” is what web usability guru Vincent Flanders calls the information that people would crawl through a sewer for. Heroin is the most addictive drug on the planet so people will do anything for another fix. What does your website provide visitors that they just gotta have?


3 Customize

The unique quality of the internet is the ability to interact and customize content. Customized content keeps them coming back for more. Keep the connection alive by following up with useful information and news.


4 Start Your Engines

Customers that don’t know you will likely find you through a search engine. The trick is getting the search engines to find you first. Invest in good search engine software, or pay someone who knows how it works.


5 Provide Answers

People use search engines to find solutions to their problems. Is your site about solving your customer’s headaches? Most sites are self centered. Make yours customer centered by providing answers to their questions.


6 Hard Sell Vs Soft Sell

Build relationships by providing value before the sale. When it comes time to purchase, you already have an established relationship. Ask yourself what you can do for your customer rather than what your customer can do for you.


7 Navigate Straight

Don’t create a million dollar website with ten cent navigation. Simple easy to follow navigation is far more effective than nonsensical animated graphics. Think Google!


8 Be Professional

Your site reflects your work ethic and the type of service you are likely to provide your customers. Put some time, effort and money into your site to show you are top notch.


9 Don’t Be Professional

People are looking for an original and authentic voice, not the same boiler plate information. Nobody likes stiff and snobby people and they won’t like their websites either. Take advantage of the rare opportunity when someone reads your content to make a real personal connection.