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Now that Spring is in full swing and first quarter is in the rearview mirror, it’s a great time to take a long, hard look at one of your company’s greatest marketing assets… your website. There are over 5 billion searches on Google every day. A percentage of those people searching may be looking for EXACTLY what your company does. Therefore, it’s important that your website not only shows up in their search, but that it compels them to click on the link and keeps them engaged while they’re on your site. After all, the average person only has an attention span of EIGHT SECONDS according to Microsoft. That’s why you need to have attention-grabbing content on your site. Here are just a few suggestions of ways you can Spring Clean your website so that it’s functioning at its optimum level in time for summer…

Time for Some Repairs

When’s the last time you visited your website? This should be a regular practice for you and other members of your team. While you’re there, check to make sure all your images are showing up and that there are no broken links. Even one broken link could suggest to your visitors that you’re not on top of your game. After all, your website is an online extension of your company and you want all first impressions to be positive ones. Even if – after you make it through the rest of this list – you decide a complete refresh is in order, a little maintenance will go a long way in the interim.

The 5-Second Rule x 3 for Websites

We’ve all heard of the 5-second rule where dropped food is concerned. Pick it up before 5 seconds has passed, blow it off and enjoy – right?!?!  Well, unless you’re looking to drop 55% of all visitors to your site, you have approximately 15 SECONDS to grab their attention and keep them engaged. To improve your average “dwell time,” you need to make sure your graphics and content are engaging and that your messaging is spot on. Improving your UX/UI design (user experience/user interface) should be a major component of your website refresh.

Are You Hitting Your Target?

One issue many companies run into is that by trying to be all things to all people, their brand image gets muddied and they have trouble connecting with their target audience. Some companies aren’t entirely sure WHO their target audience is. To have a website that’s serving as one of the strongest tools in your company’s marketing and sales arsenal, you’ve got to nail down your target audience and create content/messaging that’s geared primarily towards them. If your current content is too ambiguous, it’s definitely time for a refresh.

Embrace the S-Word… SEO!

There’s been some confusion in the industry whether SEO is a dying art form or if it’s still vital to a website’s success. According to Target Marketing Magazine, while some of the tactics have changed over the years, Search Engine Optimization is still alive and well. The publication suggests a number of important tools to give your current site an SEO checkup, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, Yoast SEO, Bing Webmasters Tools and more. If, after a little analyzing, you find that your website is NOT getting it done in the SEO department, it’s well-worth the investment to partner with a digital marketing agency that offers website design and SEO among its specialties.

Big Screen to Small Screen

Just as some people prefer to view their Summer Blockbusters on the big screen (complete with buttered popcorn) and others prefer to wait until it comes out on DVD so they can view it on the small screen at home (in their PJs), the same holds true for internet exploring. Mobile traffic was responsible for 52.2 percent of Internet traffic in 2018 — that’s up nearly two percentage points from the year prior and those numbers are expected to climb even higher in the years to come. How does your website measure up when viewed on a mobile device?  If it’s not great, you either need to make responsive design part of your website refresh OR have a dedicated mobile site designed. Not sure that it’s worth the investment? Well…. according to Nectafy, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.

How Are Sales?

If you had a salesperson on staff who was not making his or her quota, their job would be in trouble. You should apply that same logic to your website. If you have an e-commerce element on your site that’s not getting the job done, you might want to completely revamp the system. First explore WHY it’s not getting the job done. Is your online store not prominently featured on your current site? Is it not easy to use? Are the images/copy not compelling enough? Your redesign should DRIVE customers either to your brick-and-mortar location or to your online store and close the sale.

Call in Reinforcements

Given the fact that your website should be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, getting it in tip-top shape shouldn’t be a one-person job. Assign a committee – or if you have a smaller staff, the whole team – to comb through your current site and list what they love/don’t love about it. Also have them recommend sites that they like and why. Be careful not to fall into the “death by committee” trap, though. Ask for their help initially, but then keep all decisions related to your website refresh (or redesign, if determined that’s needed) to just a few key team members. If you hire an agency to aid with your refresh, you should have one or two “point people” they can look to in order to keep the project moving along. Plan a “reveal” party for all the team members who initially weighed in with their thoughts as thanks for their contributions.

If you DO decide to go all in on your website refresh, you might want to consider adding video and/or a blog if you haven’t already and optimizing your site for voice search (a rapidly growing trend) – among other things. Don’t try to go it alone, either. Partner with a skilled digital marketing agency – like Atlanta’s Woodall Creative Group – to serve as your online Sherpa and elevate your company’s digital game.

Sources: https://www.websitehostingrating.com/internet-statistics-facts/

http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

http://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/

https://www.nectafy.com/blog/mobile-marketing-trends-mash-up

Top 10 SEO Tools for 2019 – Target Marketing Magazine

Internet Stats & Facts for 2019 – HostingFacts.com

The Importance of Consistency and Multiple Touchpoints in Marketing

Rolling out an effective marketing plan is not unlike planting season on a farm. If executed properly, you’ll get to reap the rewards later for all of the preparation and promoting you do today. Just like at a farm, you till the soil, sow your seeds, keep watch to ensure growth and prepare for the harvest.

Dr. Jeffrey Lant – professor, author of more than 60 books and internationally renowned expert on the subjects of marketing, business development, copywriting and more – put forth the “Rule of Seven” marketing principle decades ago. The principle dictates that it takes an average of seven touchpoints before a customer remembers your brand message and feels compelled to act.  That’s a lot of marketing seeds to plant. While the advent of the internet and social media has served to speed up the process considerably from the original 18-month period for the Rule of Seven to take root, there are a number of things to take into consideration when planting those seeds…

Tilling the Soil: When planning your marketing campaign, make an effort to really stir things up. Do your research to see if there’s an audience segment you may have missed with prior campaigns who might be the next great thing for your brand. Also, dig DEEP to come up with a marketing campaign that will really grab your intended audience’s attention. Phone it in, and that will not only come through in your less-than-stellar messaging – but also in customer’s response.

“In a crowded marketplace, you want your message to stand out,” said Tracy Woodall, founder of Metro Atlanta-based Woodall Creative Group. “Be sure to outline all of the differentiators that set your company apart from the competition – everything that makes you ‘special.’ Stay true to the look and feel of previous campaigns for brand consistency, unless it’s time for a complete company rebrand – which is an excellent way to really shake things up and attract members from a new, previously underserved market.

Sowing the Seeds: Once you have a fairly clear plan in place, it’s time to start sowing the seeds through the design of your campaign and identification of the various modes of delivery you will use to reach your audience. Rather than planting just ONE kind of seed, use a variety of means to get your message out there. Think of the rows in your garden as streams of communication: website, digital marketing, e-mail marketing, social media, direct mail, print ads, TV commercials, radio ads, billboards, promotional items, experiential marketing and MORE. Because today’s marketplace is so crowded and noisy, multiple touchpoints are the key to success. Don’t merely select one avenue at one time – it will be the marketing equivalent of shouting into the wind. After you’ve identified the best modes of delivery, start creating designs to fit.

“If design is not your strength, consider outsourcing to an agency,” shared Woodall. “You may be highly skilled at identifying your audience, brainstorming ideas and media buying, but if you’re lacking in the design department – your entire campaign will suffer. To compound matters, you may even be compromising your company’s brand image. Professionally designed digital and print pieces can have a completely opposite effect, propelling your brand in a positive direction in the eyes of your audience.”

Keep Watch to Ensure Growth: Once you launch your campaign, don’t take your eye off the ball. Track results and make adjustments when necessary. If you notice that your digital efforts are really taking off, whereas your print campaign might be falling short – you may want to reallocate any remaining budget to the digital side for continued traction.

“Many companies miss this step,” said Woodall. “They send their campaign out into the world, then watch their sales results to measure its success. There are a variety of ways to track results and measure success – not merely by watching one’s bottom line. “

Prepare for the Harvest: Another often overlooked step many companies miss is to communicate the upcoming campaign to its employees. It’s SO IMPORTANT to share your marketing direction with the folks in the trenches.

“An internal campaign rollout is a great way to get team members excited and to encourage them to reinforce that same messaging to customers,” suggests Woodall. “Try to practice patience. The results won’t always be immediate. However, if your marketing campaign is truly successful, your employees will be better prepared for a bountiful harvest of happy customers. Not to mention the fact that your product or service had better live up to the hype, or that new customer you just worked so hard to earn might not return in the future.”

Begin Planning for Next Year’s Planting Season:  Once your campaign has hit the market and you’ve begun to reap the rewards of your hard work, it’s not time to rest on your laurels. It’s time to start projecting and laying the groundwork for NEXT YEAR’S marketing campaign.

“Take a look at your tracking to assess what worked and what didn’t,” said Woodall. “If everything worked, pat yourself on the back and determine what had the strongest impact on your campaign’s success: mode of delivery, audience identification, the message itself or a combination of all of the above. If some elements were stronger than others, start considering ways to make the weaker elements stronger the next go-around for even BETTER results next year.”

Woodall Creative Group is a trusted resource for marketing managers and company leaders throughout the Southeast seeking a creative partner to share their company’s unique brand story with the world. If you need help planning for a harvest of your own, contact the team at Woodall Creative Group at 706-658-0244, info@woodallcreative.com or via our convenient online contact form. To learn more about what we do and sneak a peek inside our extensive portfolio, visit www.woodallcreative.com.