By Bernie Borges
Your Website is Your Anchor Digital Asset
You’re familiar with the cliché “don’t put the cart in front of the horse.” That is exactly what many marketers do when they develop a new website. They design the look and feel of a website, commission the developer to build it, and then they add the content as the last step. When it comes to digital marketing strategy, this is backwards!
Start With the End in Mind
That’s another familiar cliché, but it’s not so commonly applied to website design. The content strategy of a website should be planned first! Your website’s content serves two masters. It should serve the visitor to your website first and foremost, with relevant and compelling content that engages the visitor to your website. Additionally, your content should be friendly to search engines so your website is discoverable for desirable keywords in organic search results. Every website owner wants this.
How Well Do You Really Know Your Customer?
In order to be in business you have to know a thing or two about your customers. But how well do you really understand them? Most businesses have multiple customer segments. Your website content strategy should not use a one size fits all approach. Persona analysis helps you identify your target customers by segments, as well as who influences each segment. Most important, persona segmentation should identify their needs from the customer’s perspective so that you can develop your content strategy to address the specific needs of each segment.
For example if you sell a health care product that serves children your persona segments may include K-12, national, state and local government entities that govern children’s health care, pediatricians, parents, non-profits who specialize in child care services and others. The content for each segment should speak uniquely to how your product addresses a need that is relevant to the persona segment and (in this example) children. How well you segment your customer persona segments feeds right into your keyword research.
Persona Analysis Precedes Keyword Research
Any SEO professional knows the importance of conducting keyword research. Keyword research that is conducted after the persona analysis is far more relevant. It will help the marketer greatly align keywords against their targeted persona segments. It will allow you to prioritize keywords. And, it will help in developing an effective content strategy for the new website.
Understanding your competitors’ digital strengths and weaknesses is essential in building a digital marketing strategy with a competitive edge. Your biggest competitor’s digital marketing strategy is sometimes not one you should emulate. In order to build competitive edge, you should understand which aspects of your competitor’s digital strategy have been executed well. You may discover that some of your desirable keywords return results on page one in Google for companies with whom you don’t even compete. By returning to your content strategy, you can determine which competitive battles are worth fighting. Few businesses have the resources to win every digital marketing battle. The appropriate cliché here is “pick your battles carefully.” Thorough online competitive research can reveal many insights to help you decide which battles you should fight so you can concentrate on winning the war, not just a few battles (another cliché).
You Need a Strong Foundation to Construct a Skyscraper
A skyscraper is not just a building. It is a very tall building. The construction project of a skyscraper starts with months of work creating a very strong foundation before the building construction begins. Likewise, a strong digital marketing strategy should begin with a rock solid foundation. Your website is the most important digital asset. Therefore, your investment in creating a strong foundation can provide outstanding digital marketing ROI. In addition to having a well planned content strategy, the website’s underlying architecture should be very solid.
Website Architecture is Mission Critical
A sound website architecture generally includes a good CMS that is SEO friendly, a well executed internal link structure and URLs that align with the content on each page. There are other factors, but these are the big ones to list in this brief article. In our ten years as a digital marketing agency we’ve been engaged countless times by companies that redesigned their website with little or no regard for the architecture’s impact on SEO. This is like building the skyscraper with no thought given to the plumbing and wiring infrastructure. It’s mission critical to a website.
Contrary to conventional thinking, your website is not about your company. Your website is the most important digital asset for visitors to discover what you offer that solves a problem or interest. Your navigation strategy must be intuitive to what visitors are looking for. The navigation of your website must be simple and intuitive. The content should address your visitor’s interests, not your interests. Make content easy to find, and when they find it, it should be about the visitor, not about you. Your calls-to-action (CTA) should be relevant to each customer segment to capture leads or online transactions.
For example if you sell a consumer product in the sports industry, your navigation and content should speak to each customer segment specifically by sport or by demographic. As you deliver CTAs, segment your list so that you can nurture people according to their specific interests.
Digital Marketing Success
Digital marketing is all about attracting customers to your business through various digital channels. Each industry is competitive. And, customers have choices. The marketers that outperform competitors with persona segmentation and deliver a relevant navigation and content experience in all digital marketing assets starting with their website, followed by all social media assets, win the most customers. Visit our digital marketing success stories to learn more.