Why Brand Websites are still Relevant
While I do think social media is still a primary way to capture a select demographic of your target audience, it’s still important to have an engaging and dynamic website as the foundation of your brand’s story. I think of social media as the eye-catching, visually appealing movie trailer that sparks the interest of your audience … that will hopefully lead them to pay the $12+ to watch the movie. Without the movie, the series of trailers are just snippets of visually appealing photos without any real content.
A website is the full narrative that either engages to lead the viewer to a particular call-to-action or promotes your value-added products or services. Your website also tells the continuing and expanding story of your company, your products and services, your skillset and expertise and changes in your industry. A website is a progressive, growing body of work that should house your blog or newsfeed (for maximum SEO benefit) that consistently adds valuable and keyword-rich content to increase your page ranking (on the SERPs).
A well-developed, designed and well-written website should accomplish all of the above with a planned and intentional focus on a cohesive design or branding. A website should draw as much if not more traffic than your social media platform, if done right. Once the site is designed and published, then the real work begins.
A website visitor is much more likely to make a purchase than a social media impression or reach. People visit social media to be entertained and informed, while those who visit your website are looking for services and products to fill a need. Don’t disregard either source but understanding how social media and SEO work hand-in-hand will refine your marketing strategy and save you time.
“In fact, social media traffic has an average conversion rate of 0.71 percent, which is very small compared with search’s 1.95 percent and email’s 3.19 percent.” – Adweek
A well-executed internet marketing strategy should include leads (acquisitions) from the following sources:
- an optimized website with a growing library of keywords (organic),
- an effective email marketing plan and print ad strategy (direct),
- paid and organic social media marketing (social),
- and a diverse, relevant backlink strategy (referrals).
All of the above can be measured through Google Analytics, and if done right, you should see a good ratio of traffic (sessions) from each source. Let’s discuss how to use these above channels to increase traffic to your website and convert those visitors to customers.
Using Social Media to Draw Traffic to your Website (Social)
If you only focus on social media or only focus on your website/blog or email marketing, then you are limiting the demographic you reach. When you have a diverse digital media strategy, then you reach a diverse audience of various ages, genders, educational & income levels, professions and interests. Not only do various social media channels attract diverse age groups and genders but the way you use each platform (with the use of hashtags, content and images) will attract diverse sectors of each of those audiences.
As I manage various clients’ accounts, I’m always amazed how each account’s insights vary wildly on the same channels. So the point is … do not be too hasty to stereotype any social media platform based on their audience majority, as demographics continue to evolve and will continue to shift as privacy standards increase.
Each post, image and story is an opportunity to engage your user and to promote your brand. Show the value of your product, services, and personal skillset. Show them you care and how your customers are satisfied. Show off your fun, humorous and light-hearted side. Promote your knowledge-base, experience and lessons learned with a link to a recent blog post. And always include a link to your website, blog or a defined call-to-action.
Using Traditional Marketing to Draw Traffic to your Website (Direct)
Irregardless of the various types of print marketing, (business card, postcard, flier, print ad, program or brochure), always include your URL and/or QR code. Are QR codes still effective? Yes, if utilized correctly, especially when combined with a coupon, discount or special.
“ExactTarget says that 34% of smartphone users (and 46% of tablet users) in the U.S. have scanned a QR code while shopping in a store.”
If your audience are Baby Boomers or Millennials, then you may want to consider a shortened URL, which is easy to remember and you don’t need to download a QR Reader on your smartphone. (Like startupprod.co which leads to a FREE web analysis of your website.)
Using Email Marketing to Promote your Website (Direct)
While social media marketing continues to become more of a challenge with all the recent changes, email marketing is making a comeback and now often showing better results and higher conversion rates than social media. While people turn to social media to be entertained and informed, people opening emails are expected to engage with brands, read about upcoming sales and specials, and be linked to a brand’s website. Some interesting statistics regarding email marketing, when MailMunch surveyed internet marketers, shows the growing potential of emails:
“60% of respondents believed that email outperformed social media.”
“58% of people check their email before anything else, 11% their Facebook accounts, and 2% check Twitter.”
“Email gets more conversions. On average 66% of users make a purchase after email messaging, 20% for Facebook and 6% for Twitter.”
Use your social media platforms to increase your email subscribers, promote your email list and showcase exclusive benefits for those who do subscribe (a giveaway, first peek at new product, exclusive deals and coupons) to increase your conversions of your social followers.
“While social media is a traffic superpower, email is a conversion superpower. A union of both will deliver maximum results.” – Adweek
Using SEO to increase Traffic & Conversions (Organic)
Search Engine Optimization sounds complicated but can be broken down in three steps: Age, Authority Content. While creating a website with a professional design, dynamic functionality and visual appeal, the real work begins when the site goes live. Dedicating time each week or each month on building a library of content, in turn a library of keywords, is your best strategy for climbing the search engine’s page ranking. Patience, trusted and relevant backlinks, videos, skillful placement of keywords, consistent traffic, and high engagement of your visitors will also affect your ranking. It will take time and effort but the return on your investment of time will pay off.
“61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.” (HubSpot, 2017)
“61% of consumers are influenced by custom content.” (Dragon Search Marketing)
“Ranking highly for organic search results is crucial; between 70% and 80% of users completely ignore paid advertisements.” (Search Engine People)
How to Increase Traffic via Backlinks (or Referrals)
Backlinks are links to your sites from other third-party websites, which increases organic traffic to your site in two ways. When the sites linking to your website have relevance and authority, you acquire visitors from your particular target audience and your SEO rating with Google is positively affected (which increases your search engine page ranking). So you receive traffic from the linked sites as well as organic traffic via the search engines.
There are several ways to increase your backlink profile: guest blogging, testimonials, building internal links, building & sharing infographics, getting placed on link roundups, online memberships to industry-related organizations or networking groups, sponsorships to non-profits, and reaching out to journalists and bloggers in your niche. Your backlink strategy should be a long, slow buildup rather than an overnight success.
Analyze, Grow and Be Creative
It took time for my own website to perform well among my much larger and bigger-budget competitors but eventually I began to climb the ranking with purely organic processes. When 90% of leads in the past came from referrals, now my new leads are split 60/40 with referrals & website traffic. Never become complacent with your internet marketing but continue to explore new techniques, which may take stepping out of your comfort zone but can result in reaching a new untapped sector of your audience.
Keep tabs on your marketing results by checking your analytics at least once a month, so you understand the trends, the successes and the areas that need further tweaking. Don’t give up, stay consistent and be persistent in building your website traffic.
Need help, call or email Startup Production for assistance!