Digital Marketing Strategy 101: Optimize Your Marketing Website

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Why did you build a marketing site?  

It’s an elementary question, but the answer will become the driving force behind any successful marketing campaign, or at least it should.  For several years I have worked alongside founders and business owners as they attempt to navigate the ambiguous process of creating effective marketing campaigns.  Starting out, everyone business owner and founder wants to know how to grow: What channels should we use? How do we target our users? How do we decrease our cost of conversions? How do we get more traffic to our site?!?!?!   

Those are all great questions, but not the best questions starting out.  I like to begin these conversations with the opening question of this post.  Let me explain why.

A Familiar Story

This has been a common process:

  1. A company asks us to build the perfect marketing campaign that doesn’t cost too much, but is really effective at driving sales (or conversions, or sign ups, or downloads, or . . . )
  2. I ask them for the URL of their website
  3. After 2 minutes of reviewing their marketing site I reply with an email of two questions:
  • What is it that you actually do?
  • What are you asking the user to do?

It starts with companies wanting to drive traffic to a marketing website or landing page that is not designed to accomplish their goals. Their website has not been optimized for their priorities.  Situations where the main priorities like submitting a form or making a call are actions that aren’t available until a user is 3 or 4 clicks into their website.

Having a huge budget and a large team doesn’t solve the problem either. Many big corporations are in the same boat.  I do this for a living. If I can’t figure out what a website is trying accomplish I don’t think that website owner is ready to be paying for users

After a few back-and-forth emails,  they normally receive a reply from me that sounds something like this:

“Before we spend money driving traffic to your website, why don’t we figure out what we want that traffic to do when once they get there.”

Defining The Foundation of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy.  For most founders, business owners, and CMOs, a website is the primary digital asset for acquiring leads and converting them into new customers.   In fact, whether your goals are client acquisition, lead generation, signups, downloads, or product sales, chances are you are using (or trying to use) your marketing website to accomplish them.  By not clarifying your offer and making it clear to the user how to take action, you are creating a gap in your marketing strategy that, statistics show, users will not try very hard to cross. So how can you bridge that gap?  By answering a couple of questions and taking the time to simplify your answer.

Simplify Your Why

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  Thanks to this quote by Leonardo Da Vinci (though apparently unverified) we have our first step in optimizing a digital marketing strategy.  Ask yourself the opening question:

“Why did I build a marketing site?”

Take a moment when you can step back from your day-to-day operations and distill that answer into your goals and priorities.  What problem are you solving? What is it your business exists to accomplish? If you only had one message to get across what would it be?  

Work on your answer until it is clear, concise, and simple.

In the business world, this is known as the elevator pitch.  You know, it’s the 30 seconds you have to pitch your business or idea before the elevator doors open on the next floor.  In the digital world you have one line (maybe 5 seconds) to convey your message before your user is walking out those doors by hitting the back button.  Consider that 5 seconds as the amount of time you have to communicate your offer. Are your main priorities being communicated on your landing page clearly?  

Define Your Audience

So, let’s assume that you have done the work to define and simplify your “why”.  The next step is to determine the best way to communicate your offer to your target audience.  By defining your audience you are able to ascertain how to best communicate your offer in your marketing messaging.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to create personas of your ideal customers.  What are personas? Creating a buyer persona is a process of personifying your ideal customers based on demographics, needs and objectives. We’ll share more on that in a future post.

Wondering how to get started defining your audience?  Here are some questions to help:

  • What are their pain points?
  • How are you solving their problems?
  • What are their questions?
  • How are you answering them?
  • Do they understand your industry lingo? ( this is a big one)
  • If not, how would they word their problem?

Get Help With Your Marketing Strategy

After you have done the work of defining your goals, clarifying them, writing them for your target audience, it can be helpful to get insight from an outside source.  Generally, this is most effective when the team or person is not familiar with the website or project. Have them visit the website and answer a few questions after looking it over for a minute or so.  Getting feedback from first-time users can be invaluable and help define the gaps in the marketing plan that weren’t at first obvious to you.

TL;DR

Your marketing site is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. The main priorities of your marketing site should be easily discernible by your ideal client within the first few seconds of landing on your page.  If people have to guess what they are supposed to do once they are on your website, or what product or service you are offering, then you are creating unnecessary friction in your conversion funnel.   Before investing in your next marketing campaign, take a few simple steps to help ensure that your marketing budget will help increase the bottom line:

  1. Define your why
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Clearly state your value proposition
  4. Make it obvious

Here at Mindbox we help founders and owners clarify the why, define the audience, and simplify the message with marketing websites that are coded to convert.  For those with a new business idea we recommend starting out with a Story Plan.  If you have an existing website feel free to reach out and talk to one of our marketing strategists about how to optimize your marketing site for your digital marketing campaign.

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So Long Mad Men, Hello Data Scientists