For small businesses, using your website as a main hub for all of your marketing efforts can be a really cost effective way of managing customer experience. In the current era of “content marketing”, websites become the core of a marketing strategy, and all the communications and promotion around that drives traffic to your website. This in turn helps to improve your SEO and so the merry-go-round begins. It’s vital to use other marketing and social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on – to drive customers to your website, since this is where you can monitor conversions to sales, hits, behaviour and interaction. It helps you to learn more about your customers and their specific needs, which is gold dust information if you’re looking to continuously improve and develop your offering.
Creating a good first impression
As we talked about in this post, your website will often be the first interaction people have with your brand, whether they’re customers, journalists and the media, or even potential investors. If you hand out business cards at events, they will contain a link to your website and that’s the first place people will go. When articles are written about your business, they will contain a link to your website.
It’s very important, therefore, that right from the off site visitors get a clear and quick sense of your values and your “mission” as a business. The general look and content of your website – whether it’s sleek and simple or more intricately designed, colourful or more monochrome, containing a lot of text or with more of a focus on other media such as photos and videos, what press you have received, information about your team, and so on – can tell people huge amounts, even from a quick skim.
The best way to think about it is to work back from what impression of you or information about your business you want site visitors to take away, and create that experience by carefully positioning that information on your website. You can prioritise certain things depending on that impression you want to give. For example, if you want your business to appear especially knowledgeable then a clearly signposted and regularly updated blog might be right for you. Or if your target market will be particularly impressed by extensive media coverage then you could include a carousel showing the logos of all the media outlets who have featured or written about you.
How to keep evolving your brand and attracting visitors
No business ever remains static and your brand will evolve over time, as your product/services change and your logo and other visuals are updated to reflect this. It’s important, not only to update your website in line with this, but also to drive previous visitors back to your site to see what’s new. Your website should make it easy for you to collect email addresses to send out regular newsletters to maintain the constant flow of traffic, especially the flow of loyal customers back to see what you’re up to. You can incentivise sign-up by offering deals for people who subscribe to your newsletter, or promise exclusive content to create an enhanced experience for those visitors.
Also often discussed is the importance of social media – any news, whether it’s a press article or a new product or a great endorsement, should be disseminated over your social media channels to encourage your various social followers to return to your site. If you write a blog, it’s crucial to keep adding fresh posts as this not only shows that you are active in your industry but also creates newsworthy content for your social channels.
Other tools that can interact with your website
Whatever marketing materials you use should be designed to drive traffic to your website. This applies just as much to offline or non-digital materials as it does to online tools. For example, for some businesses paper flyers are a great way to catch people’s eye but the ultimate goal should be to get those people to visit your website – the place you have the greatest control over your brand. An online search of your business name should yield your website, however impressive it might be that Google brings up a stream of media articles, and so it’s crucial to ensure you’re doing everything you can to maximise SEO (for more about that, read here).