You know you need a website. That’s nothing new.
So you put together the budget, and spent the money hiring a great web development firm to do the job. But after you launched it, then what?
You took the time and money to build a big website, but then you wonder if it’s doing any good for your business.
Maybe you had that feeling that should do something, or you read an article on a marketing site that said you need to start doing [insert fancy new marketing tactic here] and you need to get some help from your web team to get it going.
But other than that, you didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. It was supposed to “just work.”
You probably haven’t spent a lot of time trying to do much with it. The person who’s in charge of doing updates is your assistant or an intern, and every time you think about your website, you’re reminded of the money you invested and wonder if it’s actually doing anything for your business at all.
Your website can’t be an afterthought.
There are few greater wastes of resources than to take all the time and money you spent on building a fantastic website then not being able to measure a return on investment and not knowing if it’s helping your customers or if it’s helping your business grow.
Here’s the question:
What do you do with your site after it’s been launched?
You can’t just crank out a website, throw it out into the virtual world, and think that it’s going to do anything for you just by sitting there.
Here’s the bottom line:
Everyone has a website these days, so you need to make yours delivers results and stands out from the crowd and delivers results.
It can’t be something delegated to a random staff member who’s the “techie” person, or neglected like that treadmill you bought so you could exercise in the comfort of your own home. Your site must act as a pillar of your marketing strategy and support your overall business goals.
Here are five ways to maximize your website’s power to drive your business:
Build a list
Build a list of customer and client email addresses. With that list, you’ll want to communicate valuable, useful information.
If you want people to continue to open your emails, your content needs to be interesting and engaging. Avoid constantly pitching to your audience or requesting action after action (fill out this survey, call us, go here, etc.).
Provide helpful information, and build relationships.
The connections you create with this list can become one of the most important elements of your marketing toolbox if they’re created thoughtfully, and they can do wonders for your website.
Produce valuable content
This could be a blog, video tutorials, a podcast – anything.
Think about it:
Your phone rings, and a customer asks you a few questions which you helpfully answer. Maybe you get similar questions via email.
Rather than continuing to simply answer the same questions on a one-to-one scale, you can use these kinds of inquiries to create content that serves a vast majority of your existing and potential clients in a public way (ahem, on your website).
Regularly posting informative, helpful content to a blog is a great way to show both the personal and professional sides of your business. Your team is full of all kinds of valuable information, and your blog is the ideal spot to churn out tricks, tips, and more to better serve your audience. Remember to be constantly referring folks to your site through any of your marketing means (social media, radio ads, etc.) to best support this content.
A quick note: be sure to make it easy for your site visitors to subscribe to your content. Set up an RSS feed or an RSS-to-email feed. If you’re producing video tutorials, ensure you have a page on your website that links to your YouTube page. In terms of audio content, like a podcast, make sure you have a way for users to subscribe to your podcast via iTunes, Stitcher, and other common podcast directories.
One of the biggest things that can give credibility to your website is displaying testimonials for clients you’ve helped in the past. You know how powerful testimonials are; you probably use them in your sales collateral already. So make sure you include them on your website in a tactful and classy way.
Whenever anyone talks about the most effective method of sales, word-of-mouth is always the number one answer. When you use testimonials on your website, you’re delivering word-of-mouth reviews front and center. Let your customers tell your story for you…how you helped them, how you could help others like them, etc.
Let your customers interact with you through your website
One thing that often leaves me scratching my head is when I encounter a website for a company whose service or product I need, yet for some reason I can’t buy that product or service through their site.
Make it easy for people to buy what you’re offering. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for adding an e-commerce element to your site, and there are lots of unique examples out there. Can you offer a unique subscription service through your site, like an HVAC maintenance service, that’s easy to buy? What about a lawn care subscription where customers automatically pay each month for your service? What can you productize to simplify purchases?
Use your website to deliver special offers and promotions
Make sure your website is worth visiting. Long gone are the days where a simple “brochure website” was sufficient. Long gone like MySpace ancient history. Your website needs to be an active part of your marketing plans, and you need to give visitors a reason to click on through.
Your site is the perfect platform to announce exclusive promotions and/or new product and service offerings, and the promise of your site always boasting up-to-date content and money-saving deals will keep folks coming back.
To sum things up, it’s vital that your website is robust in interesting and helpful content while offering a means for your customers – past, present, and future – to purchase your products and/or services. If you instill your site as a resource and invest the time and effort into creating and promoting it, it will be one of the strongest and most successful tools in your marketing toolbox.