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The Beacon Way podcast with Adrienne Wilkerson and Jennifer Christensen

Episode 12 The Beacon Way: Website Strategies Series Part 1 of 4 | Beacon Media + Marketing

The following four podcasts in our series will center around building your brand through website pages and strategy. Your marketing goals should cultivate connections with your clients and remove barriers. Website strategy should be a foundational piece of your business and an extensive consideration for building your brand messaging.

Creating a Powerful Marketing Hub through Website Development

infographic beacon Jennifer Christensen quote

Marketing happens through many channels but no matter where it happens, if your visitors aren’t being funneled back to a website that is effective, you’ve already lost money.

It is essential to build a website that represents your brand’s personality and begins to help you develop authority with your target audience who wants to know, like, and trust you. It’s most common in this time we live in, that people are using search engines as their starting place to begin researching their needs and begin planning on who and what they need. Removing barriers to connection and creating an easy user experience should be at the top of the list of your marketing goals.

Statistics show that 93% of people are heading to Google or Bing to determine first what they need and where to find it, showing that data-driven decisions are more prevalent now than ever before.

Check out our blog on Episode 4 to find more information on how The Beacon Way helps companies navigate the landscape of this digital world.

Representation of Your Brand Image Through Visuals

Consumers who dive into research and identification of their needs online have decided that they could be your target audience because the information you presented online built interest and trust. Once they decide to then visit your website, that site acts as your digital salesperson ahead of you. It is important to have a solid visual experience and a clear call to action to increase leads.

The look and feel of your brand image online is just as critical as the technical side of your website. The experience that visitors to your website have will influence how they experience your brand. If your website is cold and unfeeling, the perception of your brand will also be cold and unfeeling. If your website is warm and inviting, your brand will be perceived in the same light.

The visual elements you choose, such as colors, fonts, and imagery you use, just to name a few, play a crucial role in user experience and should also be on top of your list when considering branding strategy.

One of the first things we suggest you start analyzing is, “How will new leads experience your brand’s personality on the first visit to your website?” Have you taken the time to determine who your brand is and what you want to portray to your target audience?

To read more about branding strategy, check out our blog series on Brand Messaging, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, and Episode 11.

Unlocking the Power of Content: Creating Content Tailored for Your Target Audience

When building your website strategy, another priority should be a content strategy. Content strategy is the development and publication of content that your users want to know. What service do you market and can your users find solid information on your website that answers their questions?

A great example of tailoring content is dental veneers. A dentist may create an ad from keyword research showing that people are searching for dental veneers and add those keywords for dental veneers to his website to drive more traffic. Website visitors are going to click that site expecting to learn more about dental veneers.

The content strategy could be: Let’s grab that search attention to drive traffic. But, without any content to back up the ad, the bounce rate skyrockets. You may have increased your views but the trust of that visitor is not gained and they have no reason to stay on your site or convert.

Google Analytics for SEO: Web Crawlers at the Ready

Your website may be on point technically, but if your content is lacking in depth based on Google’s analytics of it, your score will be in danger of being lowered.

Google uses web crawlers to analyze hundreds of billions of web pages looking for a multitude of points. Google wants to see that your content is relevant to what your customers are searching for, and does it have authority and usefulness.

If the search engines see that your pages aren’t relevant, your SEO will decline and they may actually penalize you. If you’re doing ads like the dentist is with the veneers but the page the ad sends the client to is about general dentistry, Google Analytics will decide that isn’t relevant and your ranking will drop. They will continue to take your money and allow the ads, but the SEO effect of that ad will significantly decrease and the price for that ad will significantly increase.

Understanding Your Target Audience: Answer Their Key Questions.

Where good website strategy comes into play, is determining your target audience and then brainstorming their specific questions based on their needs. Buyer personas can help with this tremendously. Utilizing buyer personas helps you narrow down the exact needs of the demographic you are desiring to serve and can help to bring clarity to what they are searching for and why, out of your service.

Your target audience will have specific questions and concerns and there will be specific keywords that they will search for, you want your content pages to be there to answer those questions and concerns for them.

We, at Beacon, want to assure you that even though this seems extremely overwhelming, there are many tools out there to assist you in the discovery of those buyer personas and a good marketing partner can help you reach them, turning them into measurable conversions!

Shifting Focus from Content to Conversion

Once your website strategy has you on the path to clear and relevant content, you can shift your efforts to ensure your website is effectively functioning as your digital salesperson.

If your website is set up properly, meaning your website has all the keyword research, search engine optimization, and critical pages for good ranking it will begin driving more traffic your way.

If this is the case, conversions should come easily. Industries like mental health, dentistry, med spa, and others have clients converting online all the time. The website has done its job, the barriers to booking are removed, and new clients can easily set an appointment at their convenience without ever making a phone call.

What Exactly is a Conversion?

Conversions mean different things to different industries and sometimes even vary depending on your goals. The success of conversion is based on defined goals that you have for your business and what your visitors accomplish on your website.

Considering the mental health space, for these clients, conversion is considered for someone who has potentially gone all the way through the online process to book an appointment. Perhaps the time isn’t booked yet but they have given you their information, shared with you their availability, what service they are looking for from your business, or possibly become a phone call, booking an appointment time.

This is a prime example of a target audience who was just interested but now decided that they are interested in becoming a client of your business. This is the cleanest example of conversion.

Functional medicine, as another example, has a little more depth to create a successful conversion. Ads can send hundreds of interested visitors to them but what the functional medicine space can offer them may not be what they are looking for.

Conversions, again, vary depending on the industry and defined goals. In this particular case, it may be necessary to determine what new leads actually qualify as conversions. It has been necessary for us in the past, to change that definition in order to measure the data accurately to measure the success of the campaign.

For one of our functional medicine clients, we changed the definition of conversion for them and then created a funnel on their website that took people searching for services through a step-by-step process to determine if this business was a good fit for them.

This website strategy was well received by the business because they are no longer being inundated with unqualified leads and they have been able to save so much time and develop good relationships with the ones who are good potential clients. The volume of conversion came down, however, those that remain have a higher rate of conversion by becoming actual closing clients.

Start Creating Success by Defining It for Your Business

infographic beacon Adrienne Wilkerson

At Beacon Media + Marketing, we call conversions leads, and from those conversions about half are good potential clients. You decide what you will call a conversion for your business, we advise that you be thoughtful and strategic about that decision. Only you will know what works best for your business and inflated data isn’t helpful to your success.

The bottom line here is that our websites can do a lot of the pre-qualification for us saving our businesses time, money, and staff power to focus on the things that will make your business a success.

Evolution of the Website and the Need for Strategy

Websites are a fun thing and they really have evolved since they became a thing. In the early 2000s, websites were still very awkward and clunky. Internet sites were secondary to brick and mortar, which still signified you were a legitimate established business.

In the beginning, when websites were first being utilized, no one really thought past the first page because that simply was not the consumer’s first stop. As the consumer landscape changed and evolved, the website changed and evolved with it. Website pages became prettier brochures, then some content started showing up and became useful to the audience.

Web pages for services started becoming part of the digital landscape as well, then introductions to founders and staff. Owners began to say, “Hey, our staff are getting the same questions over and over again, let’s put the answers to those up on our website so people can get their questions answered first before calling.”

The website evolution has been an interesting trend to watch, even as recent as 2019, if there wasn’t a website, we would assume they were closed. From the inception of the internet, websites have shifted and changed with society and their access to information has increased dramatically.

Gone are the days when the preference was for a brick-and-mortar storefront now the preference is website-based sales and information, we see more and more need for solid website strategy and content. You simply can no longer slap together a few pictures with your phone number and think you have a great website.

Every industry has exceptions, for instance, a small “Mom and Pop” store that may just be utilizing a Facebook page. This type of small business isn’t looking to grow or scale and they don’t have an audience who needs answers to questions before they come in to buy. They may use the online presence just to communicate hours and specials or product highlights which works very well for them.

About You | Reviews and Social Proof: Genius or Crazy?

We recommend always adding two controversial items to your website, reviews and social proof. Why do these two items cause so many issues for businesses?

Reviews are maybe the most controversial item to add to your website strategy, however, customers want to know who and what they will be encountering when they decide to do business with you.

The About Us Page is one of the first pages that customers will visit when they are looking at your website. They want to know, like, and trust you which is where reviews and social proof come into play.

The web is full of scams and scammy businesses looking to sell you anything to separate you from your money. This is the reason that the About page, Reviews, and social proof are critical pages on your website.

Reviews can be tricky, which we know, but they can be such an asset to you. In recent years we have seen the rise of negative reviews as scams, as well, as attempts to get free stuff in exchange for removing reviews. It is truly unfortunate, in fact, Amazon has begun suing fake review sites on Facebook.

A negative comment in a review is not as important as how you respond to it. Consumers want to know that you did your best to rectify the situation and your response to a negative review is an opportunity to build trust with your audience through your site. Perspective on reviews, and making a plan, should play a role when considering your website strategy. Don’t shy away from them but instead be prepared to handle a negative review and always respond to all the reviews you receive. Having Google reviews also help with SEO ranking for your website.

Service Pages and Blogs: Reaching Website Visitors With What They Are Looking For

Blog content should be another page your website strategy should consider as well. Blogs can be time-consuming to maintain which you may or may not have the capacity for. Hiring a writer to get your message out is another powerful tool to leverage on your website.

A skilled content writer will help you develop a blogging strategy and research keywords for the blogs to rank for. Keywords are the words people search for when they are looking for information on a subject and your blog can rank higher or lower in those searches depending on how keywords are used. Keyword research is worth the time it takes to find a way to connect to unique visitors that are looking for the services and expertise you offer.

In the next three blogs, we will continue to talk about the pages that your website should contain and how to best utilize them. Stay tuned for more in-depth information through this series of The Beacon Way Podcasts in Episodes 13 “Build a Home & About Page People Want to Read”, Episode 14 “Your Service or Product Pages: Should You Put Your Prices on Your Site?”, Episode 15 “Don’t Forget About Your Support Pages!”

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