17 Jul ‘18
Website Marketing: A Step by Step Guide
17 Jul ‘18
In: Content Management Systems (CMS), Los Angeles, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Design & Development, / By: Chris Simental
A website is of very little value if it doesn’t get much traffic. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality has never worked. The best marketing strategies for websites include the following high level steps:
- Attract traffic through search engines, social media, and blogs.
- Convert traffic into leads using lead magnets, landing pages, and conversion rate optimization.
- Increase your close rate by leveraging marketing automation, email marketing, and return path technology (re-marketing).
- Evaluate, adjust, and repeat.
Each of those high level “buckets” include several different sub-tasks. This article will explore each separately and provide a fantastic web marketing plan for any company, nonprofit, or individual marketer.
WEB DESIGN & BRANDING
Of course, before you can do any web marketing, you must first have a website!
Sales Pitch Discovery & Differentiation
First you will want to discover what makes your business unique, and why customers should choose to work with or support your organization. This is commonly referred to as brand positioning, which provides a foundation for all your branding strategies. A solid brand position is the foundation upon which all other communication is built. If this work isn’t done first, every other task will be more difficult.
Brand Messaging & Buzzwords
Brand messaging is what makes people relate to your brand by inspiring them, persuading them, motivating them, and ultimately making them want to buy your product/service, or support your cause. A few well-known examples of brand messages, in the form of slogans, are:
- Nike: Just do it.
- Salesforce: No Software.
- Subway: Eat fresh.
If you need help developing your brand messaging, you should seek the assistance of a local branding agency.
Modern Site Design
Your website needs to be clean, professional, unique, and a perfect showcase for your brand. If your website isn’t in-sync with your brand messaging, it won’t be a very effective selling tool. Site visitors will notice that something isn’t quite right and will be less inclined to keep exploring. If you have any reservations about doing website development yourself, you should seek the assistance of a local web design agency.
Your website should only include the pages you actually need. Nothing more. Cluttered architecture not only makes content hard to find, but can also make visitors feel overwhelmed. Once you figure out exactly which pages you need, make sure you create a seamless user experience across them all.
A “money page” is specifically designed to make a sale or in some way monetize the visitor. Contrary to what the name implies, money pages don’t have to be all about making money. They can also just be for lead generation—giving your user something in exchange for their email address. It’s valuable to think about these pages in terms of money since each email address can be worth $10-$15. These pages need to be built specifically to convert search traffic into an action.
Nearly everyone in the world has a smartphone these days. Given that, a top priority for website marketing and web design is mobile optimization. Your site should display well on all screens and devices if you want to reach the largest possible market.
The fundamentals of search engine optimization haven’t changed much. But the specific tactics—what works and what doesn’t—changes frequently. It is important to stay on top of the search engine ranking factors every year so that your site ranks (or continues to rank) high for the keywords that matter most to your organization. The first step is doing a thorough keyword analysis, including checking in with your competitors. Without the right set of keywords you might end up attracting traffic that doesn’t help you reach your goals.
Content Management System Stability
We usually use WordPress as the foundation for our websites. But, whatever platform you choose, just make sure you have a maintenance plan. You need to keep your website stable, agile and easy to upgrade. This is one of the reasons WordPress is so popular. It’s also one of the reasons why website builders like Wix and Squarespace are gaining in popularity. If you’re considering a website builder, just be sure to do your homework. It is important to fully compare each service. A quick search will reveal several WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace posts, and their recommendations aren’t all the same. Generally speaking, WordPress will give you the most options for customizing your design and user experience. It will also allow you to maintain full control over your content. However you will most likely need to hire a web design agency to achieve world-class results. Site builders like Wix and Squarespace can provide a gorgeous, functional website in a short period of time. But just make sure the website theme or template you choose has all the features you want. It might not be easy to add them later.
Competitor Content Analysis
Analyzing your competition is a crucial part of internet marketing. It might seem strange to focus any significant amount of time checking out what your competition is doing. But if your competitors are ranking higher than you, you need to analyze why so you can beat them!
Content Strategy Development
For many years, content has been king, and that isn’t changing any time soon. Search engines are getting smarter about grouping content under related topics rather than just keywords. This means that blogs and sites that offer more content BREADTH and DEPTH will be seen as more valuable. As a result, those sites will rank higher not just for exact-match keywords but also close-match keywords. This means you’ll want to formulate a plan to write better, longer, and more valuable content. This will help your website bring in more traffic and leads.
SEO Content Creation
Ultimately, you’ll want to craft content that seduces Google without sacrificing quality for your readers and customers. This is easier said than done. But strong content strategy coupled with diligence, analytics, and frequent analysis will show you what’s working and what isn’t. As a general rule, you should post at least 2 blog posts a month. 5 would be even better, but 2 will still be pretty strong.
Branding Content Creation
As mentioned above, your brand position is an important first step for all your marketing efforts. You also need to develop a voice for your brand that your customers love. This will help you convert strangers into brand advocates.
Consistent, Charismatic Content
By all means possible, you should be delivering content that people actually enjoy reading. And you should be delivering it at a very high frequency. If you can master this, the results will be more traffic, more engagement, and more leads. One place to start is by following and reading what other influencers in your industry are doing. Keep in mind, some profiles are going to have long lists of bogus followers. You’ll be able to recognize these because their follower list will be large, but their engagement will be low. Don’t spend to much time analyzing those profiles. Spend more time analyzing the profiles that have a high amount of engagement (shares and likes). And then spend time emulating that for your organization.
Sales Content Creation
If you have a sales team, re-purpose your website content to make life easy for them. Well-written content should unify your message and address common buyer objections.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
As with content development, SEO benefits greatly from analyzing what’s working for your competitors. The goal is to beat them at their own game. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should simply copy what they write. Google is smart enough to recognize plagiarism and will penalize for it. Instead, put your own spin on some of the topics your competition is raking well for. And do that over and over again until you have more content than them.
Deep Keyword Research
Keyword strategy is a bit of a moving target. Every new version of search engine algorithms make some of the previously successful tactics less successful. In the past we focused a lot on “stuffing” exact-match keywords into several blog posts. The latest shift in keyword strategy is to write long blog posts. Your articles should by 1,000 words or more and use several variations of your main keyword. SEO plugins like Yoast haven’t exactly caught up with this shift. But as long as you know what you’re doing you can work around those shortcomings.
Internal & External Linking Strategy
Google rewards sites that have powerful links. In the past, reciprocal links improved site rankings. Reciprocal links are when you link to a website and they link back to yours. That showed that you each gave each other a vote, which helped both of your rankings. These days, however, what’s most important is the Domain Authority (DA) of your site and that sites that link to it. Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). The scores range form 1 to 100. All new sites start out with a score of 1. There are a few different factors that go into the Moz DA score. The most important one is incoming links from high-DA websites. Simply put, if you have lots of incoming links from low DA sites (in the 1-30 range) this would do less for your rankings than a few incoming links from high DA sites (in the 70-100 range).
So, now that we know Google judges your domain power by links, how do you go about getting the powerful links you need to make your domain a juggernaut? Guest blogging is one very effective way to do it. Guest blogging is a method in which bloggers offer to write content for other, similar blogs in their industry. In exchange, the blogger receives links to their own blogs and an opportunity to promote their own names and blogs. This should be done on a regular basis (i.e. monthly) and is part of all our managed SEO service packages.
Once you get into an SEO grove, you should regularly perform audits to uncover what’s working and what isn’t. It is extremely important to not let a single drop of SEO “juice” go to waste. Be sure to get and keep your site in top shape.
Paid Channel Strategy
When it comes to paid advertising, there are several channels to consider. The possibilities and differences are worthy of their own blog post, which we’ll get to later. Generally, though, you need to consider what your audience is doing when they’re using LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Google products. These details will help you determine which channels are the right fit for your brand and advertising message.
Media Asset Strategy & Creation
You’ll need strong creative (words AND visuals) to attract clicks to your website. Studies have shown that the number of clicks and ad receives gets lower over time even when the ad is exposed to new users. This means that, if you want your ads to perform their best, you need to rotate your creative regularly.
Re-targeting Campaign & Management
Re-targeting, also known as re-marketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Re-targeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away. You will want to set up and optimize successful re-marketing campaigns with Google Adwords & Facebook that will target prospects who have already visited your site.
Google Adwords Keyword Strategy
As noted above, keyword research is very important for SEO. And it’s just as important for paid search advertising. You’ll want to find the keywords with the biggest benefit to your business. Especially ones your competitors are missing. And then…
Google Adwords Campaign & Management
Create and manage smart Adwords campaigns designed to leapfrog competing ads and win more business.
Facebook Ads Campaign & Management
When it comes to Facebook ads, you’ll absolutely want to create and manage campaigns that integrate naturally with your customers’ online ecosystem. Again, make sure you’re clear about what your target audience is doing on Facebook. Then build your campaign around that. If your target audience spends a lot of time sharing cat videos, your campaigns better include some cats!
Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
Lead Magnet Strategy & Creation
A lead magnet is an irresistible offer of a specific item of value provided to a prospect in exchange for their contact information. It’s a very popular website marketing tactic and typical examples of this are white papers, e-books, custom eLearning modules, website SEO reports, and free consultations. You will want to create powerful lead magnets that actually provide value to your customers. The result should be a huge list of potential customers to further market to.
CTA Strategy & Implementation
Call to action (CTA) is a marketing term used extensively in advertising and selling. It refers to any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. The CTA is the thing you most want your visitors to do on your page. If you’ve created an enticing lead magnet, THAT would be a great use of a CTA. An effective CTA should get your lead magnets downloaded, your list subscribed to, or your inbox stuffed to the brim.
Services like ClickFunnels and Drip are powerful tools because they make sales and follow-up funnels fairly effortless. You can create the same service ClickFunnels provides directly in WordPress using one of the “funnel builder” plugins available.
For those with e-commerce stores, you’ll want to regularly post offers and deals to give customers an excuse to buy.
Sales Email Sequences
Sales and website marketing is a process. While one-off emails can do a lot of the heavy lifting, you can benefit from creating email sequences if you want to have an “automated salesperson” working for you around the clock. Create emails that keep reeling in the fish long after they’ve left your site. And make sure your emails are written so they actually get read!
A regular newsletter email is a great way to consistently add value to your customers’ lives. It can also build trust and rapport for the long haul. Feel free to repurpose blog content in your newsletter. Just make sure your newsletter is attractively designed, easy to read, and easy to share.
The above is a mighty long list. We don’t necessarily expect that you would be able to perform all these tasks yourself. Heck, that’s why large companies have their own marketing departments! If your team is small or just starting out, we recommend you contact Ripe for a free consultation (especially if you’re in the Los Angeles area) so we can discuss all the options for improving your website marketing and increase web traffic!