This time last year, we set some ambitious business growth goals that we wanted to achieve by 2020. This required us to take a good hard look at the things we considered our weaknesses. The standout piece of the puzzle was our marketing strategy, in particular, our digital marketing strategy (or lack thereof). After going through the process of rebranding ourselves and defining our target market, the next step was to build a website that would better reflect our new brand. Shouldn't be too difficult, right?
It wasn't long until we got lost in the conflicting information out there on the web:
"It's all about Keywords"
"No, it's all about backlinks"
"Focus on social media"
We realised we needed to be honest with ourselves and admit this was an area of expertise we needed to get help with. We spent months thoroughly researching the best digital agencies in Melbourne and ended up partnering with Digital 360, a firm that closely aligns with our standards and ethics.
We first met with Digital 360 around 6 months ago. In this meeting they highlighted that by us ignoring the importance of digital marketing, our current website was practically invisible to Google and was 50+ pages deep in search results. So off we went on our journey to build a new website and put together an aggressive digital strategy to rank well on Google.
Partnering with this professional marketing firm has been invaluable to us and we'd like to share our top 5 lessons we've learned so far:
1. Site structure
Before getting carried away with the design of the website it's important to consider what keywords you want to rank well for on Google. This will determine the sitemap. I.e. if you want to rank well for accounting, split accounting out into 3 different pages covering the 3 different types of accounting you offer VS one page talking about accounting in a general sense.
2. Credible backlinks
Think of backlinks as Public Relations, where you provide valuable content to the other website so they will mention your brand (and link to your website). Backlinks play an important part in ranking well on Google because the more credible sites that link to your website, the more Google views your site as credible and up you go in the search results. The marketing firm spent a large portion of time writing high-quality content for websites that would link back to our site.
3. Professional photos
The power of having professional staff photos taken will set you apart from your competitors. When users land on your site they will make a judgement of your company and service within 0.05 seconds, show them the human element to your business so they have real people to connect with straight away.
4. Customer centric copy
Don't rush the copy! Allow yourself enough time (over a month) to write effective copy and accentuate the benefits. What problem do you specifically solve for the user? Write the copy in the voice of the consumer, i.e. don’t use industry jargon to make yourself seem knowledgeable if your consumer doesn't use that jargon.
5. Continue to optimise
Don't just 'set and forget' once your site is live. Put metrics in place to ensure you can see what's working and what's not. Websites should be evolving with the business. Google analytics offers a range of tools to help you determine what site changes could enhance the user's experience. I.e. The heat map function indicates the part of the page users mostly hover/click on - this could change the entire structure of your homepage if users click on the content down the bottom of the page most.
Of course, we’ve only just scratched the surface of knowledge, but we’ve committed to understanding digital because we firmly believe this is where the business world is going. As business advisers, we have a responsibility to look ahead for our clients, rather than stick our head in the sand and hope the world doesn’t change. The online world already dominates buyer behaviour for the retail industries. It’s only a matter of time before it dominates service industries also.
Today is the first milestone in this journey as we launch our brand new website to better reflect who we are and who we help.
Take a look and feel free to reply with some feedback.
Our new Facebook page has also just launched. This will be a space where we have a two-way conversation with our clients, so come and connect with us!