If You don’t Have Time to do it Right….
Know Where You Stand BEFORE You Spend a Dime
Chasing buzz-words and shiny objects has a tendency to lead you right back where you started…with less resources to try it again.
Face it, Digital Marketing (any marketing for that matter) is an investment in time and money, and you MUST get a return on that investment. It can be time consuming if you do it yourself, or expensive if you hire someone else to do it…and it doesn’t pan out.
You already know that you need a plan, or what I call a “blueprint” before you spend one dime or one minute chasing those shiny objects. But how do you get started?
ALWAYS Start with a Situational Analysis:
How can you make any plans if you don’t know how you compare to you competitors and how you are perceived by your customers?
Regardless of how detailed you want to get, you can safely break down any introspective look at you own web presence into three categories:
Site: Your website is the hub of all things marketing. All roads lead back to your site regardless if they came from a Google search, a social post, or a direct mail piece. How does you website stack up next to your competitors, and to other leading websites in your industry?
- Professional Look: If your website looks homemade or out of date, studies have shown that your business is perceived as less trust-worthy. How does it visually compare to other similar businesses? How does it compare to the websites of your direct competitors?
- Current Design Standards: Todays websites are designed for mobile first, with desktop layouts falling into place. This is a big departure from the way sites were designed just a couple of years ago. Scrolling is no longer taboo. In fact, since most websites are being viewed on smartphones, scrolling is now the preferred method of navigation.
- Readability: Don’t think that your customers are as interested in you, as you are. People don’t read on the Internet, they scan, they see Headlines, Images & Bullet Points. Get to the point quickly. Consumers will gravitate to images before the will read a block of text.
Free Resource: 25 Website ‘Must-Haves”for Driving Traffic Leads & Sales
Search: The most state-of-the art, industry leading website on the planet is irrelevant if no one can find it. “No one finding it” comes in two flavors… either you don’t show up in any type of search for your product and services, or you’re buried by your competitors and you’re out of site.
- Run your own Search: As a digital marketing agency, we use a variety of fancy-smancy software programs to aid us in determining where our clients rank in relation to their competitors. However if you search for something that your next best customer is likely to search for, and only your competitors show up, they’re getting the business, and you’re not.
- Different Search Channels: Google is the 800 lb. gorilla, but do you show up on other places where your customers might be? Yahoo/Bing, CitySearch, various directories? Once again, if you’re competitors are showing up and you aren’t, you’ve got a problem.
- Paid Search: Pay-Per-Click advertising is the single quickest way to get people who are actively searching for your products and services to your website. Are your competitors running paid advertising? If they are, and if they have a great website, they are getting customers that you aren’t.
Social: Believe it or not, a robust social media presence can actually give your search engine optimization a boost. Not only does it help establish your brand, traffic to your website alerts Google that you have something interesting going on (called “social signals”).
- Uniformed, Branded Profiles: If someone went to your Facebook page and then Twitter and then Google+ page, would it look like the same company? That’s all part of your company brand.
- Fans, Followers & Activity: “Likes” do NOT equal sales. However it’s worth taking a look to see if your competitors are more popular than you are. It’s a branding thing….
- Paid Social Advertising: Ask yourself, how does Facebook make money? Is it from helping you build your business for free? Nope, companies have less and less direct access to their markets for free. The game is rigged…but that’s ok, Facebook advertising is very reasonable, and under the right circumstance, very effective. Have you ever been to a competitor’s website or Facebook page, and then noticed they keep showing up in your Facebook newsfeed? Coincidence? I think not.
My Self-Serving Shameless Offer:
I get pretty granular when doing an analysis, but luckily I have a lot of tools at my disposal. These are professional tools, so listing them won’t do you any good.
What I will do however, is offer you one free WebScan analysis. This is pretty comprehensive, but it’s partially automated, so it won’t take me or my team too long. No obligation of course, but I will have to limit this to websites in the U.S.