A Foundation For Marketing
Your website is a likely starting point for anyone who’s interested in your business or organization. You can send anyone to your site to find the information they’re looking for using email, a newsletter, a digital media campaign, a print ad, a business card, social media, or just a conversation on the phone.
Look at your website as a foundational tool for your marketing strategy. Whether you choose to build, rebuild, reskin or optimize, you can be confident that it’s a solid investment.
Let’s look a little more closely at what a website does, the investment, and your building options.
Empower Your Sales and Marketing Team
Your website is a tool to empower your sales and marketing staff, not an IT project. It may be tempting to approach building a website as a technical project—and there are many technical details involved—but technology means nothing unless your website communicates well and helps you meet your goals.
The content you publish on your website can increase credibility, build trust and position you as a formidable competitor. With a site that’s well-designed, on brand, useful and professional, your sales team will be able to reach out to anyone with confidence.
Your website enables your marketing team to integrate their marketing strategies and campaigns, making it easier for customers and prospects to find you. Then your sales team can interact with “warm” leads—people who are already looking for what you offer—making their job easier.
Understanding the Investment
Let’s look at three key benefits of investing in web development:
Drive highly qualified leads to your website
The quality of leads you’ll receive is higher with a properly planned website. You’ll attract and send people to your site who are already interested in what you offer, and more ready to take action. They’ll find you, instead of you looking for them.
Create a strong first impression
Customers and prospects may be visiting your site for the first time, and you want their encounter with your brand to be memorable. By providing content that is clear, consistent and on brand, you’ll earn trust and respect while building brand equity.
Invest in the next five years
Five years is about how long a website can reasonably deliver relevant content and functionality before it starts to look dated or falls behind on current trends. Consider the investment as a capital cost, rather than a marketing expense.
Build, Rebuild or Optimize?
Let’s consider a few scenarios:
Is your site looking outdated but otherwise clear and easy to navigate?
You probably just need to update the design, which doesn’t involve changing the back end. This is a site refresh, not a rebuild.
Does your site have too much text, with few buttons or functional content?
You may need to rewrite, edit or reorganize your content so it’s more concise and web friendly—maybe adding a few buttons to direct users to take an action. This mostly means optimizing content on the front end, but no major reorganizing of site sections or navigation.
Does your site generally work well but you’d like a better contact form, more specific calls-to-action, a subscription signup, some added videos or a photo gallery?
If you don’t need a design or content refresh but you do need interactive opportunities to support your goals for an email marketing campaign or visual showcase (for example), you can optimize your website for specific types of functionality without having to rebuild the entire site.
Do people find your site confusing or difficult to navigate? Is your best content buried deep within your site?
Maybe you need to rethink your site’s organization and get a fresh perspective on your site’s architecture and content. This involves programming and back-end development, and likely front-end content and design as well. That means a new build or a rebuild.
Does your site work well, but you want to start selling products on an e-store as part of your site?
Adding e-commerce capabilities to your site doesn’t necessarily require a rebuild. Depending on the back end of your current site, we may be able to integrate an e-store CMS without much difficulty.
Sometimes there’s just no way around building or rebuilding a website, especially if your current site or platform no longer serves your needs. But other times, you just need to refresh or optimize your site by implementing a new design or content, getting rid of outdated or excessive content, or making your site responsive so customers and prospects can access your site on their smartphones and tablets. Either way, there are many “right” approaches to building a better website—and we can help you plan a project that will leverage what you have today so it will work better for you tomorrow.
Building Your Website With Metric
Metric offers a unique and specialized approach to web development that places your website at the centre of your marketing efforts. We’ve been building websites for a long time, and we’ve learned the most effective site is one that meets your company’s goals, leverages your users’ data and satisfies your unique requirements. Here’s our approach.
Data, Behaviours and Conversion
When users visit your site, you want them to take an action—not just read a page or two, then leave. We start by studying your site data so we can learn about your users’ behaviour and look for these kinds of action or conversion opportunities. Conversion opportunities on your website should always be tied to your company’s objectives—to increase leads, sales or subscriptions, access product information, increase event registration or any number of goals you might have. Conversions make your website an important piece of your marketing strategy, and your site much more than an online brochure.
What To Expect
Web development begins with talking to a Metric account executive (AE). This person will be dedicated to your account and project, is experienced in building websites, and will take time to understand your organization and requirements. They’ll also talk about web development in language you can understand. Once you and your AE have determined your goals, your AE will oversee everything—bringing in Metric’s specialists and subject matter experts whose skills are relevant to your project’s needs. Our in-house team has deep experience in key areas of web development including technical strategists, analytics experts, web designers and copywriters, coders, SEO specialists and systems developers.
Once your site is built or optimized, you’ll need to measure how it’s doing so you can improve its performance over time. We take performance and tracking very seriously at Metric. We’ve developed two services that work in tandem to provide you with the right data to support your business goals, and insights about that data so you can review your site’s performance with key stakeholders.
Measurement & Analytics
Collecting, measuring and analyzing data is not a guessing game. You need to identify and measure the data that matters. Read more.
Metric Insight Reports
An insight report is a quarterly marketing review tool that provides you with business insights about your audience through data. Read more.
The Importance Of Content And User Experience
When someone visits your website, you have their attention for just a few seconds. What kind of experience do you want them to have? What actions do you want them to take? Does the content on your website support your business goals? Does it give your website’s users what they’re looking for?
Content—and the quality of experience users have when they interact with it—is so important that even the most technically impressive site will accomplish little if the content doesn’t work.
Here’s a breakdown of how to create content that will maximize your goals and satisfy your users’ needs.
Know Your Audience
The first rule of effective marketing is to know who you’re talking to. If you’re in finance, for instance, don’t talk down to your audiences. Don’t make jokes or use slang. If you’re promoting wealth management, don’t talk about bargains or explain investing in vague ways. Find out what your audiences are looking for and answer their questions.
There are no shortcuts to understanding your audience. At Metric, we do research so we’re not guessing about who your audiences are or what they care about. Once we’ve learned about their demographics, behaviours and motivators, we can target content to their needs, using creativity to motivate and inspire them to take action. They’ll always be more likely to convert on your website when they find what they’re looking for.
Understanding Conversion Pathways
Another important but overlooked aspect of understanding audiences is recognizing the various pathways they can take from seeing an ad or visiting a website to taking an action (converting). While they’re doing research about something they’re interested in, they follow logical paths towards making a purchase decision. Here are two examples.
A user on your website might land on the home page, go to a product or services page, read some content, then take an action on that page—such as make a purchase, get a quote, fill out a form, subscribe to a newsletter or book a consultation.
A user who clicks on your campaign ad might click to relevant content on your campaign landing page, continue to your website, then take action there by signing up for an event, watching a video, downloading a form or requesting information.
There are many conversion paths a user can take. What they can or should depend on your business goals, your marketing strategy, and your users’ goals and behaviours.
Make An Impression
Good content can create a lasting impression of who you are. Your brand is the total experience of how you look, feel and sound to those who encounter you—in style, imagery, colours, typography and words—on your website and throughout your marketing.
The more consistently you express your brand through visual identity and messaging, the more recognizable and memorable you’ll be in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
Today, anyone can build a simple website. You don’t need to understand web technology because there are new tools that make it pretty easy to DIY. However, you do still need to understand audiences, design, content and brand. Your copy needs to be concise, compelling and professional for you to be taken seriously as a market contender.
So does technology even matter? Yes, but it’s just one aspect of your website.
At Metric, we keep technical costs down by focusing on the most important aspects of technology needed to build safe, user-friendly websites that work well on desktop or mobile. Here are three important technical considerations.
Choose a CMS that Fits
Your content management system (CMS) drives your website. Whether it’s Wordpress, Shopify or niche industry software like Blauckbaud or Forge, your CMS provides a foundation for your site’s content and functionality that should support the actions you want users to take on your site. Whether conversion means engagement, sales or something different, it’s important to choose your CMS wisely, because your marketing and sales people will be the ones using it day to day.
Your Website Must Work on Any Device
Users need to be able to access and interact with your website on their smartphones and tablets as well as their desktops and laptops. At Metric, we’ve been measuring analytics for many years now, and we’ve seen the trend towards device use steadily increase, so it’s critical that your website be optimized for mobile.
A Secure Site is a Safe Site
Once you’ve built a website that meets your business goals and helps users find what they need, you want to protect your investment. Your site must be safe so it can’t be exploited, hacked or infected by malware. You can have the best website or e-store in the market—but if it’s not secure, users will back off and your brand will suffer. There are many pieces of software involved in hosting a website, from CMS to the underlying operating systems. If regular maintenance and updates are not performed by professionals, your site—and its visitors—may be at risk. Work with a consultant that can assure you best practises for keeping the site secure.