The un-rocket science to working out a marketing plan for your website

By Michelle O'Keeffe on February 21, 2018

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Anyone with an expensive MBA or post-grad Marketing degree will tell you that you will need one of those before you can be any good at marketing your business website.

Codswallop. Mostly.

I’ve worked with many business executives, owners and marketers to develop new plans for them, or fix existing plans that don’t work. And you know, the solution always comes back to one of two things:

  1. Chosen poor technology, or implemented that technology poorly, and
  2. Forgotten that marketing and sales is people

Sounds simple, but it works.

So if you’re looking for an audit of your existing digital sales/marketing activity, or putting together a new strategy, here are some of my tried and tested strategies to get you moving:

Objectives. Get some.

Are you selling a product to consumers? A service to businesses? Why are you doing that? How many are you trying to sell? How often? First time around, answering these questions will be a bit of a guestimate, but it’s important to have something to aim for. Be as realistic as you can.

Personas

Who are you trying to sell to, or connect with? Here is a great tool that HubSpot have developed to help you think about all of the key types of people you’re trying to sell to, and what may motivate them. What problems can you solve for them? On which social channels would they expect to see a message or ad from you?

What problem are you solving?

I’m going to make the assumption that you have developed your product or service to fill a need people have, or solve a problem for them. When you’re talking about your product or service, make sure you talk about what problems it solves. Develop different content for each of the key Personas you developed, so it’s like you’re talking directly to them. Call it personalisation, or segmentation, but these days, web users are quite a sophisticated bunch – they will expect that you know how they are and what they like. They’ll get annoyed if you send them an eDM for winter coats in January and they live in Australia (I’d like to say that’s a purely hypothetical scenario, but unfortunately, I get these emails way too often!).

A decent website platform, CRM, and/or marketing automation tool, such as HubSpot, will allow you to segment your users easily and send content that is relevant to who they are.

It’s not just a website

You may think you’ve got your website, so you’re all good. But you’re not. If you’re selling anything on your website, you’ll need to be able to keep customer data, email them easily, store their preferences, know which ads they clicked on to get to your site. So when you’re budgeting for your website, make sure you allow for the likely monthly licensing costs associated with Marketing Automation tools, or emailing tools, etc. You can find out a bit more about these systems and why they’re important in this article.

A digital conversation

Once you work out who you’re talking to, and where you’re going to find them (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, etc), put yourself in their shoes as they follow your breadcrumbs of content.

For example, if you’re putting together a PPC ad, make sure you very clearly state what problem your product or service solves. All going well the user will then click on your ad, make sure you have a specific landing page (NEVER, EVER LINK A PPC AD TO YOUR HOME PAGE) which then talks further about exactly how your product or service solves that problem – give them some answers. Make them see that you understand their problems and that you can solve them better than anyone else. Then make sure you make it really easy for them to contact you – in a way that they want to contact you.

This is an interesting one, as user behaviour has changed quite a bit over the last five years. The latest HubSpot reports show that users want instant and intelligent answers to their questions. They used to want to email, or submit a form, but now they want an AI chatbot (not just any chatbot, but one that actually works).

Leave your ego at the door

The super cool thing about all these digital systems and analytics is that you can see, at a glance, what works and what doesn’t. So you may have had this awesome hypothesis when you started, but actually, your customers have told you they preferred something different, and their money talks.

Make sure you take time to regularly work through all your analytics for all your digital assets, see the trends, the messages and products that your customers prefer, and then adapt to more of those as you plan for your next few months.

Ok, so this is all very high level, but more often than not, these are the conversations that I have to reiterate with clients (the large and the not-so-large) over and over again. Selling and marketing your website is not rocket science, it’s people. If you’re ever stuck, put yourself in the shoes of your target persona, and make their journey and experience with you and your website as seamless and obstacle-free as possible.

Together with our complex website builds, we do also offer marketing audits and consultancies. If you’re interested in finding out more, just drop us a line (our AI chatbot isn’t ready yet ;-)).

Michelle has been in marketing strategy for over 20 years. Michelle got involved in Engaging from Day 1 with the conviction of creating a business that ‘does great work with great people’, including clients, partners and staff. A born problem solver, she immerses herself in clients’ businesses and reconstructs their sales & marketing activities to ensure they operate to deliver directly on the business’ objectives. Michelle is passionate about maintaining a company and company culture that leaves the world a better place than we found it.

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