Back in the 1980’s when Al Gore was cooking up his Internet scheme we could hardly imagine a knock-down, drag out fight today over how to capitalize on the power of this new digital medium. But fight we do. Are we doing enough with Digital Marketing? Are we doing too much? Are we doing the right things?
Inquiring minds want to know.
“The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind…” Actually, the answers to these questions lay in the goals we outline. What do we want the result to be? Said another way, what results do we expect from these on-line, digital activities? And how will we know if/when we have been successful?
I don’t know much, but I do know there is a great deal in the digital space to cover. Today, I would like to discuss the 7 essentials to having an effective website (part of the whole Digital Marketing plan.)
- The Website must be simple and fresh. In today’s digital climate, the ability to communicate a brand through the simplicity of the site and the ability for any moron to navigate and find what they want is essential. Don’t make folks work that hard to get answers, knowledge or even to buy something!
- Web- Based, How-To Knowledge. We are all experts in financial services. Existing clients and prospects…not so much. A steady diet of simple “How-to” guides (Home Ownership, re-financing, etc.) and the like, along with branded videos that offer a different way to provide/access information, adds multiple layers of value for any institution. Not to mention the value to the viewer.
- Web-Analytics. Sports fans, there are dozens of tools available to help capture who has been to a web-site, clicked on what page/article and so forth. We must all plug some of these tools into what we are doing. We must capture who is in the market for something – and compel each one of these knowledge/product seekers to raise their hand. If we can get all the tire kickers to request additional information…then there would be no need for any other marketing, in any other medium.
- Search Engine optimization (SEO.) In Peoria, Illinois (pick your city) right now, someone at Caterpillar is enamored with getting a new pickup. They need a car loan. They are seeking information and options on the Internet. Will this prospect find us? Unless we have optimized our website to feature the “key words” and phrases specific to what people most often search for…the answer is no. Our site may be the prettiest, simplest and most content rich place on the planet – but if we can’t be found…then it only serves clients (maybe.)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM.) SEM is essentially paid advertising for a myriad of online activities, usually based upon specific key words and phrases that we pay for to get top ranking. This area takes three forms for me, 1) traditional, sponsored ads for specific search terms, 2) localized maps where we can be listed and 3) ad-sense, the ability to post our ads in other web pages, so they can be seen again and again by folks that have come to our website and have interest in stuff we offer.
- Taking action. If we cannot act on this information, then why are we putting forth the effort? Marketing effort must be equally met with measurement, lead follow-up and sales. This should be the easy part. Yet if our sales and marketing teams are not aligned (or even talking to one another) and working in concert…we have a bigger problem.
- Measure everything. Marketing is mostly about lead generation. And we don’t have an unlimited budget. That said, we must use the most efficient methods to generate qualified leads for our sales team. If we don’t measure, we will never know. That ain’t right.
This is hardly a comprehensive list of everything you must do with your web-site or even digital marketing as a whole – but in my opinion – these are the non-negotiable first steps. The 7 essential steps.
Need help understanding these web-focused, digital options? Check out these guys. They can not only educate you, but train you on how you can do it yourself. Believe it!
In order to have confidence that you are doing the right things with your website, you must identify what is possible and what you wish to accomplish. Then the fighting and debate will end. And won’t that be nice?