Not so long ago, websites were purely used to deliver product and services information to target customers…
But they have morphed into a point-of-sales platform where businesses leverage their website for sales. Selling products or services on websites has become de rigueur and most businesses have jumped on board this money spinner of an idea, and why not? With consumers doing most of their shopping online, it makes perfect business sense to ensure your products andor services are sold on your website.
Since businesses began seeing their website as a sales tool, another realization dawned upon them – their website is also a great marketing tool. Building a website is not only about ensuring your brand reaches a wider audience, but also about making sure that this audience is convinced about the merits of the products or services of your brand and persuaded to buy them.
Yes, your website can be turned into a lean mean marketing machine. The kind that drives not just online sales but offline sales as well!
But this is easier said than done isn’t it? There are plenty of articles out there with great tips about turning your website into a successful marketing tool, but it requires a lot of effort to put these tips into action.
What I’ve realized, quite painfully, is that you can turn your website into a marketing powerhouse, but it requires one hell of an effort. You’ve got to put your heart and soul into the process and it still might not work.
Over time, I have learnt the hard way that there are some tips that can be applied to all websites. So these are the one size fits all kind of tips and there are others that can only be applied to certain websites.
So, here’s my list of tips that fall into the one size fits all category; these are the kind of tips that all of you can incorporate irrespective of your business domain and your website’s audience:
1. Call to action images
Have you looked at your images with call-to-action tinted glasses? Yes, each and every image on your website can be a call to action.
When you are choosing images for your website, don’t just think ‘high quality’, ‘unique’, ‘relevant’, also think ‘actionable’. You want your images to reflect the products or services you are selling, but why not go beyond this limited perspective; use images as an action trigger.
If used well, images can boost site conversion rates and if they aren’t, all they will do is act like a decorative element for your site and at best add heft to your brand messaging.
The images on most fast food chain websites are an ideal example of images that persuade people to take action. They use mouth-watering product images that are typically a part of a deal they want to market. More often than not, the image also carries the deal cost and a fantastic tagline.
That’s what marketing is all about isn’t it. Make the target customer aware of your product or deal and make them want to purchase it.
2. Primary focus on trust elements
Nothing sells like trust. It is the single most important website quality that will make it an all-powerful marketing machine. If consumers trust your brand, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends, family and associates.
So how do you go about building trust on your site? Very often it’s the little things that help build trust on your site.
While product images, prices, detailed product information, extremely visible contact info, list of clients etc. are extremely important elements that drive website credibility, there are some other super-important elements that are given the short shrift by business owners.
These are crucial in contemporary websites. If you are working with top of the line and highly reputed customers, why not mention that fact on your website? There are times when the NDAs you’ve signed with your clients will prevent you from doing so, but if you make the effort you might be able to convince a few clients in this regard. It’s well worth it.
Customer stories are like testimonials on steroids. They are far more engaging than testimonials and better equipped to convince potential customers that your products or services can serve their expectations.
Research, case studies and whitepapers are brand collateral that are extremely important if you want to convince people you have what it takes. They demonstrate domain expertise, which is the bulwark of trust and credibility.
So, think about how you can boost website credibility so that your target audience is able to trust your brand. Take the usual route but also think innovatively. Try to do something that your competitors aren’t doing. This differentiation can help you work a marketing miracle with your site.
3. ‘Shareworthy’ content
We are well aware that you must ensure your website content is easy to share, and this is done with the integration of social media buttons on your site.
But have you thought about whether your content is actually worthy of sharing? Yes, you need to ensure your social share buttons are prominently placed and customized keeping in mind the design of your site, but what people forget is that website visitors will only click on these buttons if the content is good enough to hold and engage their attention.
Typically, the best place to add social share buttons will be your website blog hot tip: a website blog is another key element for boosting website marketing goals.
The idea is to use your blog in many different ways, so that you are able to create content that is shared by readers. So make your blog a platform to tell your brand story and your customer stories. Why not use your blog to discuss your products or services and their different use cases? Make sure you post videos regularly and most importantly – come up with thought leadership articles.
Mix up your content and ensure its well thought through, extremely well written, current and relevant.
Here are a few benefits of coming up with share worthy content for your site:
It helps you personalize your brand, wherein you can actually solve customer problems with your content.
- It helps you come across as an authority in your domain.
- It helps conversions and lead generation.
- It drives organic search visibility.
- It can help build your personal brand.
- Taken together, these benefits will add to your efforts to create an online marketing machine a.k.a. your website.
4. Website translation
Try localizing your website by translating it into different languages, if your business wants to establish a global connection. Neil Patel has a great article on how he increased his traffic enormously be translating his website into 82 languages. Yes, that’s right – 82 languages.
It’s pretty simply really – your website can only be a powerful marketing machine, if it reaches out to the widest number of people. And this isn’t going to happen if your website is only available in one language.
Let’s say your primary website is in English and you want to take it to the world. One of your target markets is Germany. Now, the Germans speak English but it is their second language. So, there might be a case wherein they find it difficult to understand your brand messaging, which in a worst case scenario can lead to lower conversion rates? But what if your website had a German translation? Your website immediately resonates with the German target audience, and this can lead to better conversions and improve lead generation.
But a word of caution here – You need to aim for translation that is authentic and perfectly carries your brand message to the target audience. You don’t want the message to be lost in translation.
Apart from the language, you need to keep the cultural, regional and tonal considerations in mind while translating your website. Your website might have adopted an informal tone, but the target market might prefer a formal tone, this is one of the many factors to keep in mind while translating your website.
Your website can’t be converted into a marketing machine overnight, and the process will require sustained efforts. One of the things you must take care of is that the website shouldn’t remain in permanent beta. I’ve come across businesses that can’t seem to stop making changes to their site. While this isn’t a bad thing, you need to give your website some time to work its “magic”. If you’ve added an element that you think will make your website more marketing friendly, allow it do its job. Give it some time. Over time, if you think it’s performing poorly, make the necessary changes, but not until then.