Seven simple steps for getting more from your website

25/04/2008

Education & Training | by Danny Meadows-Klue

Every firm has a website these days, but that's only the start of internet marketing. Why do some websites do almost nothing for their companies and others change the perception of a brand or generate massive numbers of leads? Could you be getting more value from the time and money you've already invested in your site? In this article, Danny Meadows-Klue, chief executive of the Digital Training Academy, share a few tips for simple steps firms can take to get more value and engagement out of their existing web presence.

Everyone knows the internet has changed the communications mix, but why do most firms fail to do anything more than build static web pages and simple corporate brochures? Digital channels hold the keys to powerful relationship marketing that can transform engagement, boost brands and build trust. When Digital’s training team were invited to share their thoughts about quick steps every company can take, it was clear that most firms were missing some easy tricks in getting their websites to amplify messaging, boost brand values and generate leads. Having trained digital marketers for more than a decade, there are plenty of lessons relevant in the Digital Training Academy, and here are some tips any business can apply straight away. They are only intended to be a starting point, but are a sure fire way to help amplify marketing messages by building engagement with the right stakeholders on their terms.


1. Telling a deeper story
The web is the starting point for most firms researching new products, and for many consumers buying big ticket items like a new car or holiday. Whether the story is being told in words, pictures, or video, have a deeper version for stakeholders who want to learn more. In the time pressed channel-zapping media culture, don’t presume everything needs to be delivered in the two minute packages of a YouTube video. Give your audiences the chance to go deeper and you’ll be able to add richness and context to stories, targeted just at the people who are most interested. Package up elements of the story as stand-alone pieces, build links between them that allow the narrative to be explored, while maintaining a package of content that is interesting and compelling.

2. Use video to engage
The power of video as a storytelling medium is unbeatable. Whether it’s about explaining the features of a product or the vision of a company, video can be a great way to deliver complex information in a way that’s engaging and effective. If a firm isn’t using their websites as another broadcast channel then they are missing one of the simplest steps. Smart marketers will not only rebroadcast footage online, but will go back to the cutting room floor to develop additional footage that can take the story further. Non-linear viewing is the structure for web media consumption and that means audiences diving deep into, going backwards, and navigating through their own path, and in their own time.

3. But use text to describe the video
It’s easy to forget that Google and the other search engines can’t see what’s in a video. So when it comes to video on the web, communications teams need to ensure that the keywords and phrases that would describe its content are written in the text of the web page. Get this type of website content right and the site bubbles up to the top of the search engine listings; get it wrong and it might never be discovered.

4. Build a stakeholder group
When someone finds exactly the content they want on a firm’s web page, why not invite them into a simple relationship: “Want to know more? Leave your email address and we’ll send you the news.” This is one of the simplest tools of web marketing, but creating a list of stakeholders and then sending them occasional, relevant communications is one of the ways the internet trumps other media. Ask just a couple of questions to help profile the person’s interests, and remember that the people signing up could be journalists, staff or partners as well as the stakeholders you were intending.

5. Build an email newsletter
Email newsletter publishing is simple, fast and straightforward. Take the headlines and introductions of the stories and package them as a way to present an overview of what is new on the site, and invite stakeholders to click for more. Fast, efficient and very effective. The analytics tools will not only tell you how many people opened the email, but exactly who they were.

6. Profile your database
The more time you invest in building stakeholder profiles and segmentation, the more you’ll be able to deliver the most relevant of messages. Within any given area such as climate change, the interests of a journalist, a customer or a financial analyst who say they’d like to hear from a firm are subtly different. By profiling effectively, messaging can be tuned to become even more relevant.

7. Look, listen, learn
Watching how your digital services are used gives a fantastic insight into the business. Web analytics has come a long way from its geeky origins, and today every package can give management teams immediate feedback on the levels of traffic, where people went and what they did.

The Digital Training Academy was set up to help marketers get the web right first time, there are more hints and tips on www.DigitalTrainingAcademy.com

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