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3 Key Steps to Make Your Web Presence Work Harder

Will Davis | August 6, 2009

A colleague of mine often says “Your website should be as good as your best salesperson” – which for many organizations is easier said than done.  Those of you who read this blog regularly know we always advocate looking at your overall marketing strategy, your web marketing strategy as a set of that, and your website itself as a piece of that.

In addition to looking at the big picture, sometimes it helps to slice off a few clear and actionable improvements you can take.  Some organizations have never done all 3 of the steps outlined below, while for others this is a chance to get back to basics and make sure you haven’t lost site of these 3 keys.  Here’s 3 key steps you can do to make your web presence work harder.

1). Take an Honest Look at Your Search Presence

We all know that search engines play a huge role in the web — In fact, 80% of online session start with a search  engine (via  PC Magazine).  So, even if you are doing everything you can to get the word out on your brand and website in other media, if you don’t have a significant presence in search you may be sunk.  Since search is where people go first when they go online, you need an effective search strategy — both paid and organic — to make sure that you will be found.  So take an honest look at your search presence, look with a keen eye and really re-evaluate everything.  Once you ahve done that and reformulated your strategy (or confirmed it was right all along), start working on keyword testing in paid search and SEO (learn more in a  previous post The Obvious Yet Underused Way to Build an SEO Program) and continue to monitor and adjust as you go, utilizing your analytics systems as a guide for what’s working and what isn’t.

2). Segment Your Audiences and Match Their Expectations

Too often we see campaigns where all visitors are sent to the same generic homepage, which may not speak to a segment’s particular needs.  One of the things we love about the web as marketers is it is trackable and customizable. So, for example, if you are a bank and know you have a prospect looking for CD rates, make sure you take them to a page about CDs.  If they are looking for mortgage refinancing make sure you take them to a page about refinancing, not new loans.  Utilize targeted landing pages and microsites in order to better match the prospect’s expectations and you’ll see much better results (see our previous post Microsite or Landing Page? to learn more on when to use landing pages and microsite ).  While these examples seem obvious, I’m constantly amazed by how many organizations aren’t doing them.  This feeds right back into #1, if you match your customers expectations when they come to your site, your campaigns — whether search, social media, print, or anything else — are just about guaranteed to perform better.

3). Optimize your Conversion Opportunities

So you’ve knocked down items 1 and 2 – what’s next?  Well, some people still think getting traffic to your website and getting a few leads is doing the whole job.  Getting visitors to your website is really just the first step, what we really want to do is convert those visitors by making them take your key actions.  That generally means converting them to leads by an activity such as filling out a form, converting them to customers by an activity such as an online purchase, or sometimes by an activity such as viewers of key information like using a retail locator to the nearest store.  By reviewing your analytics, you can develop a baseline for your conversion activity.  Then, begin to test different variables against this baseline, including copy approaches, offers, calls to action, imagery, landing pages, form fields and other variables.  By understanding and continually optimizing your conversion opportunities you’ll get much more value out of your marketing activities.

Whether you are new to online marketing or a seasoned veteran just circling back to make sure you are still doing the basics right, these 3 steps will make your web presence work harder.

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