It is my experience that nearly every business owner, looking to ramp up their marketing efforts, assumes they need a new website. Certainly, there are many that do - like the bighearted CEO whose questionably talented nephew built his clunky e-commerce site, or a business with one of those first-generation websites – garish and sophomoric, with all the high-tech functionality of a wood-burning stove.
A business owner’s desire for a new website is a natural (albeit sometimes knee-jerk) reaction to common, troublesome issues like anemic online traffic or lackluster conversion rates - or just something they consider a must-have. But while a new website can be a real game-changer for some businesses, it is certainly not a cure-all for one’s marketing woes.
There are a number of reasons why I might argue against a client investing in a new website.
STRATEGIC VERSUS TACTICAL
Websites are amazing tools that possess great potential to attract and convert customers. However, the decision for a new website is often a tactical one – and without a Strategic Marketing Plan as its basis, is akin to putting the cart before the horse.
A Strategic Marketing Plan starts with a comprehensive analysis of current business dynamics such as:
An executable, strategic plan is created to leverage current strengths, introduce targeted marketing initiatives, provide for clear messaging, and spell out tactical implementations. Through this strategic work, it may become clear that you need a new website. Or, based on the strategic plan, you may discover a more cost-effective way to spend your marketing resources. The point - strategy truly is square one and without it, even toying with the idea of a new website is premature.
A NICE PLACE TO VISIT BUT I WOULDN’T WANT TO SHOP THERE
I have met with clients who have beautiful, functional websites. But because the site isn’t attracting the desired traffic or converting visitors to sales, the business owners are convinced they need a new and improved version. Often, the issue isn’t in the structure or functionality of the website at all; rather, it is in the messaging and content woven throughout.
Here again is where that Strategic Marketing Plan – and all the analysis that came before it – comes in handy. Having determined your desired audience, your differentiators and other insight into your target market, you have a great opportunity to nuance your messaging throughout your current site. It is not enough to fill a page with some predetermined word count. Every page should be rife with the content and messaging dictated by your Strategic Marketing Plan. Taking a “why does this matter” approach to content creation can be a great way to weigh the importance of various elements of your messaging.
If your current website messaging is on point but you are not garnering the traffic you want, it’s not necessarily time for that new site. Take a look first at another powerful tool - Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
ADD OOMPH WITH SEO
Search Engine Optimization is a tactical process that ideally enhances search rankings and increases the quantity and quality of traffic to one’s website. SEO is a mainstay of website marketing and while volumes can be written about its execution, the top four aspects are as follows:
Content Is King. As discussed above, your messaging must be relevant and fine-tuned.
Key Words. Determining and incorporating key words throughout your website is a smart investment.
Metadata. These are words that are added to the back end of your web copy that act as a description of the data on the page. A hashtag is essentially a metadata tag.
Backlinks. Also called Inbound Links, these are other websites pointing traffic to your content, which can vastly increase your search engine rankings.
WHEN IS IT TIME FOR A NEW WEBSITE?
The only way to truly know whether you need a new website – or any other marketing tangible – is to invest the time and money into a well-vetted Strategic Marketing Plan. Any marketing company that will slam dunk a new website for you without that plan is not thinking long-term. While a robust and engaging website is incredibly important in this digital age, unless it’s based on a comprehensive marketing strategy, it will never pack the punch that will attract the members of your target audience and convert them to customers.
Schedule a complimentary discovery call to discuss alignment of your tactical marketing activities with your strategic plan.