With so many digital marketing tactics and channels being used today, it’s important to make your website the hub of all your online efforts. Rather than operating in silos, your digital efforts should be fully integrated—with your website serving as the home base.
By now you have (hopefully) read many of our blog posts saying that content marketing is imperative for your business. You may be starting up your social media efforts, writing blog posts, sending out email campaigns and promoting other types of content—all of which should be leading prospects back to your website with the goal of conversion. But is your website helping or hurting your digital efforts?
Why your company website is more critical than ever
The Internet has fundamentally changed how people make purchasing decisions. In the past, consumers based decisions on information they received from advertising, brochures or sales people. Now consumers research extensively online, read reviews, download guides and reports and participate in forums. According to the 2012 Digital Influence Index released by Fleishman-Hillard, 89% of consumers use the Internet to find information on products, services or companies prior to making a purchase decision. Prospects want to get as much information as possible before they have to speak to a sales person or make a purchase.
Your website is the front door of your business
What good is web traffic if you don’t have a quality website to send prospects to? Your website is the front door to your business, and is often the first impression your brand makes on prospects. It’s the place where you control the design, narrative and style. And in a split second, your website conveys something about your brand and company.
So is that message positive, negative or neutral? Design and aesthetics aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they are hugely important to reflecting well of your company and keeping prospects on your site. Is your website clean, organized and easy to navigate? If it is confusing or hard to find information, you can say good-bye to prospects.
Your website operates as the center of your content publishing
The idea behind having your website as the hub is so that you can reach out to people where they are, like Facebook, Twitter, email or blogs, and then lead them back to your website. Because what good is great content if nobody knows you have it? Your website acts as the hub for your online marketing efforts, and most of your content will reside there in some form. And it’s fundamentally important to cross-promote your content as much as possible in order to maximize its reach and influence. For example, you can share your blog post on social media channels, promote your eBook on your blog and use email to showcase your latest case study—all of which send prospects back to your website.
Your website provides information at each stage of the buying cycle
Your website should have all the information that prospects are looking for at each stage of the buying cycle, in a way that is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. Driving traffic and giving prospects the information they need is paramount, but generating leads and converting leads into customers is the end goal. And it takes more than simply having a website, you need it to have all the components necessary to get results. It should provide the information prospects need throughout the buyer’s journey, but also have clear calls to action when they are either ready to move forward, or need more information as they move into the next stage of the decision making process.
Your website serves as a member of your sales and business development team
Your sales or business development people work 9-5, but your website is available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. When consumers begin researching for their next purchase, it can be at any time of the day, and you want your website to be your online business development tool. Your website is your central point of contact and should have front-and-center phone numbers, clear calls-to-action, a contact form or anything else that will help your visitors have a way to get in touch with you.
Once you have provided the information prospects are interested in at the awareness and interest stages of the buying cycle, you need to make sure that you also provide information for the “sales” stage. As prospects are considering and evaluating your company or product, be sure your website clearly explains who you are and what you do. What is it like to work with you? How is your product different than the alternative? Why are you the best in the world at what you do? While not everyone on your website is looking for this information, at some point they will be, so take the opportunity to use your website as a sales and business development tool.
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So, are you wondering if your company needs a new website? Check out these 12 reasons your company may need a web refresh. Don’t let your content marketing efforts go to waste because your website is driving the incoming traffic away or failing to convert visitors into leads.