5 Ways to Make Your Website Work Harder for your Business
Is your website adding as much value as possible? Make sure it’s performing at its peak for your business
The world of digital content and search has completely transformed over recent years, with Google algorithm updates eliminating ‘black hat’ (unorthodox or unethical) SEO techniques, and pushing the industry towards quality digital content that targets and pleases customers, as well as Google’s own rules. Failure to toe the digital content line can not only result in ranking relegation, it adds nothing to the business’s online offering.
With this in mind, here are five key considerations for businesses looking to ensure their website performs at its peak.
Make it personal
A key element of creating effective digital content is an understanding of who it is being created for, and what the desired outcome of the content is. To increase conversions and interest in the company’s products and services, devising a set of ‘buying personas’ which represent the characteristics of current and target customers should form the starting point for creation of any digital content. Examine the ways these personas conduct search queries, and shape the messaging, design and interaction of the content around this information. This in turn encourages increased interaction from them with the brand, not to mention increased sharing of that content via social media, increasing its organic reach. A brand may often have several buying personas, so it’s vital to do the research to establish what they all are.
How can one company differentiate itself online from its competitors and increase appeal to customers and potential customers? By ensuring it is useful to those interacting with it and helping with their ‘pain points’. Not only does Google favour original content which is considered ‘useful’, but if it contains answers to common customer service queries and site search information – even answering questions about the topic area or product the customer didn’t even know they had – positive associations with, and goodwill towards, the brand are increased. This content can take the form of online tools, infographics and mobile apps. It must be genuinely informative and provide the reader with insight or guidance they didn’t previously have access to, rather than being full of spurious and marketing-led points.
Providing informative and insightful comment is part of a digital content led process which guides the potential customer or client through an online ‘journey’, which if done successfully culminates in a purchase or new client sign up. The user is guided through a customer ‘funnel’ which comprises their interest being piqued by informative content, either on-site or virally via social media, helping to create positive feelings towards the brand and products, and highlighting the expertise of the company and the benefits to be gained through its products or services. Their interests, preferences and buying behaviours are appealed to via content which has been designed with the intention of adding real value to them as individuals, and along with proactive social media strategies which again take their personal characteristics into account, these tactics dramatically increase their propensity to buy.
The customer journey is not a standardised process, people can be pulled into it at any stage. Not only does Google favour businesses doing the things the best brands do well (interactive improved customer service, informative, well designed and intelligently performing websites packed with useful information), but these can also impact the bottom line. If multi-channel marketing and social engagement are added to the mix, this strengthens the potential even further.
Once the initial contact or transaction has been secured with the customer online, it is extremely important to make every effort to ensure that it becomes an ongoing relationship. Personalised e-mail marketing – not spam but useful content which is based on information gained about the individual – and insightful social media interaction can help make this happen.
The internet has become a place where quality thrives over quantity, and with online search terms and results becoming more conversational, location-based and interlinked with social media, businesses must ensure they are prioritising their digital content offering. They neglect it at their peril.
Kath Dawson is Creative Director at Strategy Internet Marketing