Imagine if clothing shops never updated their window models with new designs. People would likely get bored, and they’d stop attracting new customers because of the outdated styles. Your website is a lot like that shop. Technology is constantly changing, and people expect that respectable companies maintain a reasonably modern website.
Your website is your main lead generation tool. It’s where customers go to learn new information, compare, and shop. And it’s your brand’s most far-reaching visible presence. Even if the bulk of your business comes through referrals, the first thing those referrals do is check out your website. If you don’t keep up with important trends your business could suffer. Let’s look at what this means for your business.
Why you need to budget for your website every year
Because the market is constantly shifting you can’t afford to have a static website. For example, between December 2013 and December 2015, smartphone internet consumption grew by 78%. Companies that didn’t adapt lost out or fell behind. How can you make sure your website is working at its best?
- Stay up-to-date with relevant marketing tools: Online marketing tools are always changing. Having the flexibility to pivot will give you a marketing advantage over your competition.
- Keep your website secure: One of the best ways to keep your website secure is keeping the software itself (the “backend”) updated. Getting hacked and losing client trust (or worse, client data) isn’t good for your brand or client retention.
- An effective website is an advantage over your competitors: 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility based on their website design. (B2B is no different; consumers and B2B clients are all people, after all.)
- Search engines are always changing: Search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms. This means that search engine optimization techniques that were improving your ranking yesterday could be less effective a month from now.
If you don’t regularly analyze your website’s efficiency, start here…
1. Marketing power
Review analytics to see if your website is working effectively. Your bounce rate, time on page, and click-through rates are a few data points that can show if your website is getting people to move further along the buyer’s journey. Another way to track your website’s marketing power is to analyze form submissions and signups. Using analytics to track goals such as “get a quote” form submissions or softer conversions like whitepaper downloads and newsletter signups are great indicators of your website’s effectiveness.
2. Intuitive web design
How easy is it to perform the most common tasks on your website? An unintuitive design will frustrate users and drive them away. The following website checklist can help you audit your current website design and determine if there’s room for improvement.
- Are your CTAs getting clicks? Could a simple design change improve the click rate?
- How hard is it to contact you? Do users leave the contact page before completing it because it’s too much work?
- Have you thought through the user’s path from entry to contacting you? Could this be more intuitive, so that there’s always a clear “next step” in the journey through your site?
- Are there any visual aspects to your site that are starting to look old or dated? Do you have a blog that hasn’t been updated for a few years? Do you still have a slider on your homepage instead of a tightly focused hero image and well-crafted positioning language?
3. Content alignment
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar
Content alignment builds trust and builds your brand. But the most common inconsistencies are often found in a hyper-visible part of your website, your content marketing. This is because with good intentions writers often vary your voice to keep readers interested. While this isn’t a bad thing, too much variation can lead to an inconsistent brand message. This makes it especially important to work on your brand’s content alignment.
Content alignment means that the content you are producing is helping you reach your business goals. Everything you create should be in line with company messaging to make your company voice louder and more distinct. What can you do to keep your content aligned?
- Clearly define your company’s goals, mission, and main messaging for your team
- Ensure that your company’s positioning statement is unique and valuable to your target audience
- Create a company style guide to keep your writing consistent
Following these points will help you differentiate your business, communicate consistently, and enable your employees to build your brand.
4. Sales and marketing alignment
Since your website is one of your biggest marketing tools it’s crucial that it be aligned with the sales and marketing teams. If not, they won’t be able to leverage it.
Use the feedback your team is already getting, and use it to perform incremental updates to the website, to help the whole organization function better. Ask what questions frequently come in from new customers to the sales team? This may be indicative of unclear messaging on your website, or something that could be fleshed out further.
You can also gauge the effectiveness of your website by analyzing your leads. Are you getting mostly qualified leads from ideal prospects? Or is your sales team getting inundated by nuisance queries from unqualified leads? If so, think about how your site can better communicate to attract your ideal client and help unqualified leads better understand that you’re not the best fit.
Set up a plan that makes the best use of your website as a marketing tool
Now that you have a checklist for reviewing your website, it’s time to create a plan to keep your most important marketing tool running smoothly. Use the results of your analysis to create a prioritized list that includes small, manageable changes (or SMART goals) that will move the needle for your organization. Set realistic time targets, execute, and then measure the results. This will help you measure your success, and make sure you’re always moving forward.