The best websites keep consumers/customers on the site long enough to influence their behavior. The best websites and content are planned, reviewed, and continuously updated to remain relevant and effective. As marketers, it is our job to figure out what should go on the website and provide a creative brief and copy for the design team. The next time you need to update copy or want to refresh the site, don’t just use your instincts. Even the smallest companies have access to useful data. It is more important than ever to use that information to make strategic content and placement decisions throughout your website. When you are strategic, you’ll see results. Here are some tips to help you plan your next website refresh, content placement, and copy updates.
Be on Brand
As with all things in marketing, everything you do must align with your brand. The look, the voice, the messaging, everything must be consistent and never deviate from your brand. If you aren’t sure how to make things consistent, start by creating a brand guideline to help you develop a plan for how you want to represent your brand. Then task a team member to check for brand compliance throughout all of your marketing materials. When you customers land on your website, they should know instantly that they are on your website and if done well, will immediately feel a connection.
Conduct a Website Audit
After your site has been up long enough to collect a decent data set, you should conduct an audit of your site. The audit will reveal your sites conversion results, identify content that isn’t performing, customer’s navigation path around your site, ease of finding what they are looking for, assess the site design and user experience, a full briefing of analytics (SEO, bounce rates, time spent on the site, etc.), and much more. The auditor will then provide recommendations for how to improve optimization for the site. Companies that are serious about their website’s performance, do not just settle for one audit; instead they commit to weekly check-ins on the tweaks and then a monthly assessment. By having this knowledge, you have a vast amount of power to make strategic marketing decisions that if executed properly will lead to success.
Use the Data to Make Strategic Content Decisions
If you conduct audits, use the information to make strategic marketing decisions, versus relying on your instincts. The results from the audit should be reflected in your marketing and content plan.
On the other hand, if your company does not have the skill set on the team to conduct an audit or the funds to pay for an audit, that is okay. You can still use tools to help you make strategic decisions. For example, software such as Hotjar provides you with visual insights into where your customers are spending the most time on your site. Once you see where the users spend their time you determine where to place your most important messages. In addition, if the users are spending time in a particular area, that could be an indication that the copy and graphics are effective.
The other aspect to look at is the top visited pages on your site. Make sure you continue to put effort into the pages that are performing well. If the page that focuses on one of your top priorities isn’t performing well, assess your strategy, messaging, and design to improve future results.
Overall, you want to make sure your site is converting and that your content is resonating with the user.
Hire a Skilled Designer and Developer to Create the Website
There are a lot of people out there that think they can design a website. If you are responsible for the marketing strategy and content, odds are you aren’t a website designer (if you are, you are a unicorn). Don’t try to take everything on. Marketers attention should be focused on the strategy, ensuring a positive customer journey, engaging content, brand management, and results. Leave the technical aspect and creativity to the experts.
Focus on the User Experience
The user experience is everything when it comes to a website. Users should be able to find what they are looking for quickly, make the transaction easily, and leave your site knowing that you helped make their day better. Stop and think about sites you love visiting, here’s looking at you, Amazon. Why do you go to those sites? The reason is they are designed well, have engaging content, make it convenient for you to find what you want, and buy it quickly. The same is true for service-based sites. Regardless of your business, you must create a user experience that is free of obstacles. As a marketer, lean on your website developers to lead the way, but you should be thinking about the customer journey too. When testing the site, make sure it loads quickly (if you are responsible for video content, work with the web team to determine the best placement for videos), check to make sure the links work and follow their paths (remember the fewer the clicks the better), make sure it works well on all devices and web browsers. The more perspectives and eyes on the site, the better.
Implement Tracking and Continue to Monitor the Analytics Almost all of your marketing tactics will link back to your website. Therefore, it is critical that your site is set up to capture the data. One way is to use tracking codes on all of your marketing efforts. Click here to read how to set up tracking codes.
After you complete a marketing tactic, you should review the results within a week (if not sooner) to determine the effectiveness. If it was effective, stay the course, but remember to keep the visuals and copy fresh. If something didn’t perform, determine why and make adjustments.
Get in the habit of reporting your results as it will help keep you accountable and help you focus on raising the bar.
Create Landing Pages for Your Audience Segments
Master marketers know the value in creating personas and then segmenting the data to align with the personas. These marketers know everything about each persona and can use that knowledge to create custom messaging for a specific audience. There are times it makes sense to create landing pages that deliver personalized content to personas. When you take the time to develop curated landing pages for your segments, you are likely to see higher conversion rates.
Constantly Tweak, Refresh, and Enhance
You have to work hard to keep people interested in your product or service. Your users do not want to see or read the same copy over and over. To keep people interested, be sure to update the copy and the visual content periodically. Just remember to keep the analytical and audit insights in mind when creating new content.
Use Social Listening to Gain Insights
In today’s world, people love sharing their opinions, and there is always those that love to point out even the smallest grammatical error (the beauty of a website is that you can fix inexpensively and quickly). Listen to the feedback. If your copy isn’t translating, if people are confused, or something is triggering them, consider making updates to your site and your messaging. There are powerful social listening tools that look for trends and determine user perspectives.
Today’s marketers aren’t just responsible for writing engaging copy, they are accountable for the website’s performance. To hit your targets and help the company excel, you need to take into account all of the factors listed above to experience success. Take your website to the next level by becoming familiar with the analytics to ensure you are delivering content that will help your users find the information or inspire they are seeking.
What content tips do you follow when creating your website and content strategy? Leave a comment below.