Technological advancements in the past two decades have added a new dimension to the way we communicate, shop and interact on a day to day basis. The spread of internet use has created a very unique and cost effective opportunity for businesses to reach customers and interact with them. At the same time, websites have become an important tool for customers to get in touch with their favorite businesses.In order to design your website as an effective marketing tool, it should provide information that fulfills the immediate needs of your site visitors. This is a basic principle of good usability. If your website goals are not compatible with the immediate needs of your visitors, and if your site doesn’t generate potential sale leads, you should start to redesign your website as effective marketing tool. Let’s take a look at these nine key concepts that you should consider:
From appearance to performance
Communication is essential
Easy and effective content sharing
Give away valuables
Use drip content marketing
Create optimized landing pages
Use visual marketing
Attract and retain your ideal client
Build your reputation and credibility
1. From appearance to performance
According to constant contact 98% percent of small business owners already use their website as primary marketing tool. It is therefore essential that your site does not only look nice, but also performs well regarding your marketing goals. You should shift the way you think about your site from appearance to performance. Make the performance of your website your major concern for all design decision.
Certainly, the visual aspect still plays an important role for the overall success of your website. However, if the visual appearance is not in line with your desired performance, don’t hesitate to let go and focus on a more promising alternative.
2. Communication is essential
When creating a website, one of the most important aspects is to focus on whether your website communicates effectively with your visitor. Communication can be one-sided or two-sided. Any design element pretty much communicates something. Some of the basic design elements that can help you communicate with your visitors effectively are:
Titles and headers
However, all these design elements only allow for a one-sided communication. They tell your visitors something about you, your content, and anything you want to tell them. Only when your visitors get the chance to interact with your site, you create a two-sided communication. Here are some examples of two-sided communication:
Contact form / contact details
Social media platforms
Social media sharing
Customer ratings & references
Websites that can effectively communicate with their visitor’s benefits can bring in several results. For example, a website design that allows for good communication can help you to:
Improve your branding
Reduce bounce rates
Generate more leads, sales, and subscribers
3. Easy and effective content sharing
Sharing content can increase traffic and encourage conversation with potential consumers. Relevant and consumer preferred social plugins or tools can be very helpful in marketing your content effectively. As seen below is an example of how Amazon offers sharing options for their products.
On the other hand, Smashing Magazine felt that social buttons such as the “Facebook like” button are not a very effective tool in generating traffic. Instead, they were more successful in generating traffic by using “Facebook sharing”.
According to the Content Marketing Institute study, article posting and social media (excluding blogs) are the most popular tactics that can help in marketing your content very effectively and are currently used by 79% and 74% of B2B marketers, respectively.
Here is what you can do to provide and promote good content:
Publish regularly high quality content on your blog
Publish detailed white papers with in-depth insights for your customers
Create videos with relevant content on your product or service or on related topics
Publish case studies with customer success stories
Twitter is the most popular social media channel among content marketers. However, there is an increased adaption between 2011 and 2012 for all popular social media channels:
YouTube: 47% increase
LinkedIn: 39% increase
Twitter: 35% increase
Facebook: 30% increase
4. Give away valuables
We all create template files and methods for making our jobs easier. Why not share a few of them with our audience? Photoshop files, design templates, spreadsheets, and/or word documents can provide great value, if they are distributed to the right audience. Strategically placing a “call to action” to download eBooks, sign up for tips, or resource pages, is an effective way to share content on a regular basis. An increased willingness to share will take us all a long way with content marketing.
5. Use drip content marketing
In drip content marketing, series of emails are automatically generated and sent to potential leads once they have submitted a conversion form on your website. When following up on these potential leads, consider a precise and consistent communication methodology to show you are an expert in the field. A professional appearance will help you gain trust. By further educating your prospective clients and bringing them down the sales funnel, you place yourself on the forefront of their mind. This will eventually increase chances that they come to you when looking for a solution as yours.
Drip content marketing can help you understand which content is working and which content is producing higher quality leads and closing more deals.
6. Create optimized landing pages
A great deal of website design and planning should be concentrated on the landing pages of your website. Landing pages provides a unique platform, where one can highlight the products and service offering very effectively. Besides, landing pages provide you with a first contact point to interact with potential customers.If the landing pages content is not effectively organized, then it will probably have an adverse effect on your efforts to engage with the potential customers and as a result you might reduce sales.
7. Use visual content
Visual content is one of the most prominent features of your website which tend to draw more attention of your visitors and provides you with a unique opportunity to build your brand. Visual representation of data — like charts, graphs, and info graphics — helps in making it a palatable experience for your visitors. Whether the viewer spends few minutes or few seconds looking at the visual content, they can take away meaningful information and share it with their peers via email, social media or any other interactive media.
8. Attract and retain your ideal clients
Websites can be information focussed, product focussed or a combination of both. Based on different requirements of your audience, various feature listings play an important role in the decision making of your audience. By customizing features and highlighting benefits you can help build long term relationships. Benefits can also help in addressing the crucial questions your audience might have on their mind. Here are a few examples:
How does your product or service help me?
Does your product or service add value?
Can I test this product?
How do I learn more about this product?
How do I buy this product?
Differentiating Features vs. Benefits is very important to attract ideal prospects. Case Studies on your website are a great way to differentiate between the two. Benefits get to the heart of how the product or service helps people, which again adds that unique human element to the equation.
9. Build your reputation and credibility
A major factor that determines your website’s conversion rate is its credibility. Customers who visit your website will comfortably share personal details and make online purchases when they view your website as trustworthy and secure. Here is what you can do to build credibility on your site:
Offer customer testimonials
Offer case studies and customer success stories
Offer sufficient information on your product or service
Offer contact details and easy ways for people to get in touch with you
Add some personality to your site to show people you really exist
For example, testimonials can help you increase conversion because they offer genuine third party evaluations of your products and services to your customers.
What are your experiences with using your website as a marketing tool? Let us know in the comments below.