Websites have been around since the beginning of the internet and its probably for that reason that we take them for granted. If your website could talk, it might throw out comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s signature line, “I don’t get no respect.”
There have been plenty of new advances such as social media and digital ads that have been portrayed as the next big thing. The magic bullet that will put your efforts into the stratosphere.
Just as the smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch haven’t killed off the desktop computer, social media and digital ads haven’t killed off the website. These advances have only made the website even more valuable.
In this post, we are going to talk about why your digital marketing efforts should start with your website. But first, we are going to take a look at some of the other channels and why they have been seen as a magic bullet.
It’s all about the Media
For years the media was the place to go to get awareness and public relations had, or at least acted like, it was the key to get media attention. Whether it was getting on the news or in a popular newspaper or magazine, media was coveted.
And why not, media attention was free. You didn’t have to pay a dime and it came with a huge number of eyeballs.
But, it was all a myth. First, the news coverage was free but chances were good that a public relations agency was placing the story in the media for you and they weren’t free.
Second, being covered by the media isn’t a silver bullet. Media coverage doesn’t necessarily equal sales and even when it does, results are hard to measure.
Third, it’s hard to get media coverage. The coverage has to be earned. You couldn’t call the New York Times, Time magazine, or CBS and they would just run a story. There is more to it than that. The media has to agree that it’s something that their audience would be interested in. If they don’t think it’s a good story, it doesn’t run. This is much to the chagrin of companies who might feel everything they do is newsworthy.
While the media is a great tool. It isn’t something we could count on. But then there was a new kid in town and was all thanks to the internet.
It’s all about Social Media
Friendster and MySpace were ok but we all know that social media took off with Facebook. Twitter took off a couple of years later. Suddenly, social media was talked about like it was a magic elixir that could solve all our problems.
Whatever ailed you, social media was the answer. Want to take your organization’s customer service efforts to the next level? Just join social media. Need more customers? Join social media.
Websites were passé. It was all about social media but there is a problem with it. We are always at its mercy. If Facebook wants to change how it functions, whether it be new features or an algorithm, there is nothing we can do but deal with the changes.
Facebook has always been rented land. It’s not about our business goals, it’s about Facebook’s business goals. If they align great but Facebook and all the other social networks are businesses and it is foolish to think they won’t do what is in their best interests.
But, social media was great at bringing people on to their platforms which meant that there was a great opportunity to reach them via ads.
It’s all about Digital Ads
Social media wasn’t the first place we saw digital ads. Google was aggressive and it wasn’t long before they owned search. But how do you make money off of search? With ads. And within a few years, the social networks were doing the same thing.
Digital ads are a good tool. Unlike their older counterparts on television, print, and on the radio, digital ads can be measured and highly targeted. Marketers from thirty years ago would most certainly be jealous.
We can create everything from a simple ad to a full-scale multi-media masterpiece and we don’t have to intrude on people. They can seem completely organic with what somebody is already doing.
Put it on Google and it can show itself to be in-line with what a searcher is looking for. Put it in a social media feed and people can choose whether to engage or not.
But an ad needs something to connect to and it’s either going to be a landing page or a website.
It’s all about the Landing Page
Landing pages are great at expanding your original ad and in capturing information. But after somebody has given you their information the landing page is done. So, it’s not really all about the landing page.
A landing page is like a can opener. It’s great at opening cans but it’s not going to do anything else. Once it has opened the can its work is finished. You might need a bowl or a pot or something else to deal with the contents of that can. And that brings us back to…
The Website is the Goal
I’m not going to suggest to you it’s all about the website because it’s not. The truth is the media, social media, digital ads, (all elements of PESO) and their tactics all have their place. They are great at getting attention and generating interest, but they aren’t the final landing spot.
The website is almost always going to where you want prospects to go because you own both the content and the channel. Your website isn’t an ad, it’s your digital storefront.
No doubt you have been into some stores that have been disheveled or had employees who just weren’t helpful. If you have this experience, you probably aren’t thinking of going back anytime soon. If your website is cluttered and not helpful, you will have the same problem so focus on making it great.
You can have the most amazing ads, the greatest social posts, and get tons of coverage but you need to send them somewhere and in digital marketing, it’s going to be website most the time. A poorly designed website can easily destroy your efforts.
Focus on the Design
I used to work in call centers and every single one will tell you that they provide great customer service. In most cases, I would agree. What I found strange though is the customer service experience was always looked at as the person to person interaction.
Chances are you have called into a call center. Before you ever speak to somebody you are going to have to navigate through the IVR. I’ve never met anybody who likes the IVR but it is part of the customer experience.
Your website has something in common with the IVR. It’s just technology. Customers aren’t interacting with a person. They are interacting with technology.
Some of you might have a bot but until it hands off to a real person, the bot is just artificial intelligence, i.e technology, interacting with your prospect. So design your website with the customer in mind but don’t forget about your goals. Create funnels that pull people to your website to your goal.
When I say design, you’re probably thinking about how it looks. I’m going to suggest to you that design is more than that. It’s the experience. That includes the content, the look, the feel, and the navigation.
If you have a
It’s like going to a store to browse. If you stay a few minutes you probably won’t buy something but if you stay a half-hour chances are that you are walking out with something.
Contrary to what people might think, the website has proven itself to be extremely valuable in digital marketing. Forgetting about it or neglecting it will only hurt your efforts.
Focus on creating a website that provides a great experience. Your bank account with thank you.