This is the second post exploring my 8 digital marketing priorities in greater detail. This post focuses on step two, your website.
2- Website = Building your permanent digital headquarters
You absolutely need to have an online base of operations, as well as a mobile version – the same as you have a head office in the physical world. Your website, like your flagship store or service location, need to first and foremost service your client’s needs, possibly your business partners’ as well, much more than it needs to serve yourself. Not all information and contents you find important to your business are also important to your clients and business partners.
If your website is only a digital brochure about your business, it is not a website. An annual report digitalized into a website is not what your website should look like. It should much more resemble a digital version of your client services, your storefront and your product complete with all relevant specifications a customer might like to obtain.
Here as well you’ll need to draw up a comprehensive plan for what your website should be, should do, before getting started. There are a number of considerations and linkages to consider including planning your SEO (search engine optimisation) before your website gets programmed. This particular consideration should remain top of mind as it requires regular fine tuning (every other month or so).
You’ll need to include an analytics package across your website, but more importantly determine what you want to get out of that data: what do you want to learn or know? What will that enable you to do? What actions could you take given a particular new knowledge about consumer behavior on your website. Are there other potential other aspects you should consider in tagging your site, for future tracking. It’s important to set up for all contingencies as returning and changing things around isn’t only very lengthy, but also creates many risks. Remember that your website is your online equivalent of your home base or your head office. Every action you take online should ultimately lead back here either ultimately or on its way to your physical location or an online vendor / store.
Ensure your website presents you in the best possible light. It’s your grand opening all the time. In your physical store, the place would be impeccably cleaned, well-organised, and your personnel well trained and agreeable – ready to serve and sell. Your website should be the same or at the same level as your physical location and staff – not significantly better or worse as you want to ensure constancy across channels.
Include a blog on your site. This is a place where the company can share ideas for the future, solicit client feedback, offer tips & tricks, how-to’s and alternative / creative uses of your products and services.
Your complete catalog should be available on your website even if you don’t have everything available at every location. Make it easy for people to find what they are looking for.
As mentioned above, you’ll then need to consider the mobile version of your website which should not be just adjusted to fit a mobile screen, but service your customers’ needs when they are out and about, as opposed to sitting in front of their computer at home or work – 50% of Canadians have a smartphone as of Q1 2012! Ensuring your website is easy to navigate using a tablet is also a good idea even if only 6-8% of the population has one. Consider that the bulk of the tablets out there are iPad and thus cannot read Flash. Tablet ownership is expected to double before the end of the year.
Finally, offer your clients, visitors and prospects every possible way to stay connected with you: email newsletter, RSS, social network accounts, SMS, etc… It isn’t important which is most popular or experiences the biggest growth. What matters is that people are using primarily 1, 2 or 3 methods to keep in touch with friends and brands – you need to be available in the method or the platform they prefer using.
Next week we will look at priority #3: your email newsletter.
Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below: would you change the order of digital marketing priorities I’ve put forth? Have I forgotten anything significant?