- 24 May, 2019
- Marketing Strategy
In the last blog we took an overview of the different channels your integrated online marketing strategy can employ, and we promised to look at each one in more detail. In this blog, we’re making a start on that, by looking at websites.
A professionally developed website is a great marketing channel that can be put to many different uses.
-It can be an online brochure to raise your profile and keep the public informed about your brands;
-it can be an eCommerce store selling a wide-ranging set of products;
-it can be a straightforward sales pitch with a call to action to get conversions for a single offer;
-with properly designed web forms it can also be used to gather leads, market research, or other feedback.
Often a website will combine two or more of these functions.
A feature of websites is that you’ve got acres of space, compared with the 80 or so characters in a Google AdWords ad, or the expensive pay-by-the-inch option of a newspaper or billboard.
You don’t want to clutter each page, but if you’ve got tons of interesting information to get across….you can just add more pages. So you can go into plenty of detail about your product, with clear, simple explanations about how it works, and great graphics or video that really engages your audience.
But in this blog we’ll be looking specifically at those aspects of developing a website that affects your integrated marketing strategy.
Remember we’re looking for a strategy that has a clear marketing message; that fits in with all your other marketing channels, and that’s easy for your customers to engage with.
Let’s consider these points in turn.
As we’ve seen, the first step in planning an integrated strategy, long before you even think about building your website, is to sit down and get your marketing message clear in your head.
For example, imagine you’re selling chocolate bars. There’s an awful lot of mediocre chocolate out there. What makes yours stand out? Why’s it better than the rest? Does it use better beans? Less sugar? More cream? Does it have real cocoa butter rather than the cheap fats many manufacturers substitute?
Whatever it is, decide what’s unique about your bars, and hone your message into something simple and appealing.
Next, you need to get your message across in a way that complements rather than clashes with all your other marketing.
For example, you don’t want your website to go on about the dozens of stages of processing that you use to produce highly refined ingredients, if your other advertising is touting your product as ‘natural’ and ‘wholesome’ or ‘unrefined.’
If a consumer sees your ‘highly refined’ website message and then sees the ‘natural, wholesome’ message in your ads, they’re going to be very confused.
And they’re likely to be suspicious, too. They’ll assume (with some justification) that all your messages are unreliable, and they’ll reject everything you say as hype. You’ve just lost a buyer. Worse still, they’ll tell their friends they think your ads are full of hype, and you’ll likely lose more buyers.
This is a blatant example designed to illustrate the point clearly. In reality, the messages may clash in ways that are more subtle. So it’s down to you to think carefully about exactly how your message is going to be understood by consumers.
Only once that’s done can you start work on the copy for your new website.
You’ve got your message; it’s aligned with your other marketing channels. So how do you get it across on your website in a way that engages site visitors?
We saw a moment ago that websites have several advantages over other channels. They give you acres of space. And they give you options like graphics, infographics, video, animation, all of which are powerful ways to catch your viewers’ attention. Online chat, surveys, competitions…. the ways your web developer can help you engage your audience are endless.
So be creative, and be consistent, and make your website the heart of your integrated digital strategy.
In the next blog, we’ll look at how to integrate social media into your overall marketing plan.
When you are considering hiring a web design and development company, it’s imperative to ensure they are a group of people that provide advice on how to develop content that will convert on your site.