If you want to attract, engage and convert your online audience simply having a website is not enough. You need to deliver an effective message!
In 2019 Delivering an Effective Online Marketing Message is Essential!
The main reason brands and product companies have a website is to deliver their marketing message to their online audience. But are they delivering an effective online marketing message? Unfortunately, many business websites fall far short of that critical objective. So today we want to show you where most websites fall short, and what you can do about it.
What Online Impression Are You Creating?
What are your visitors thinking when they land on your site or social profiles? Most people searching online are looking for solutions to their problems. In order to connect with your potential clients and customers, you need to clearly state how you can solve their problem, and why you are a better choice than your competitors.
Give your prospects a compelling reason to do business with you. If you want online visitors to become customers, you’ve got cut through the noise of all the advertising they’ve been exposed to. You’ve got to tell them what you can do for them, quickly, and in a clear and simple manner – in both your written and visual content.
To ensure that our clients are ready to develop and implement an effective online marketing strategy ESPRESSO.digital has developed a comprehensive Online Marketing Checklist.
Effective Online Marketing Checklist
Any effective online marketing campaign requires a number of components that need to work together seamlessly for your marketing efforts to provide measurable results. Having missing or incomplete components of your digital footprint will work against you right from the beginning.
To ensure our clients are ready to start effective online marketing right from the beginning we perform a comprehensive online audit of our clients’ online marketing presence. Here are the main areas we focus on, and why they are important.
An effective and noticeable brand and brand strategy are absolutely essential. And an effective brand is much more than just a logo. A good brand message answers these basic questions:
- Why are you in this business? (Or, why did you create this product/service?)
- What do you promise to deliver to the customer (include benefits)?
- How does your product or service make your customer’s life better every day?
- How do you communicate your brand message? (What voice do you use?)
Our Brand Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your brand instantly recognized?
- Do you have an effective brand logo?
- Is your brand logo high quality?
- Is your brand logo using the appropriate colors to appeal to the emotions of your target audience?
- Is your brand consistent across your website and social channels?
- Is your brand consistent across traditional and digital marketing channels?
- Does your brand make effective use of imagery?
- Does your brand relate to your service, product, or industry?
- Do you use a consistent brand voice to communicate your message?
- Do you have a strong personal brand? (Very important for individual service providers and small businesses.)
Your online content not only needs to convey what you do, how that benefits your target audience, and why you are the best solution for their needs. More importantly, it needs to connect to your audience on an emotional level in order to be effective. People need to feel good about buying your product or service. They won’t buy your product or service simply because you provide the most features for the lowest price.
Since people buy based on emotion, you’ve got to appeal to the emotions of your audience. Engage readers and speak to their emotions. If your marketing message doesn’t speak to what your reader really wants, you won’t keep them on your website or social profiles long enough to hear your message, let alone start their journey of conversion.
Our Content Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your content written with the reader’s interests in mind? Does it talk to what your audience really wants?
- Are you asking questions? This is important for audience interaction.
- Is your content personal and engages the reader? Are you using a conversational tone?
- Are your headlines and keywords related to the problem your intended audience is trying to solve?
- Is your content persuasive, and explains the benefits (not the features) of your product/service?
- Does your content educate your prospects about your product/industry to help them make an informed buying decision?
- Are your benefit statements clear and prominent?
- Does your content clearly tell/show your intended audience how your product or service stands for something important to them — which inspires the prospect to take action (or want to do business with you)?
- Do you offer your prospects something of value for free (a coupon; a free service, product sample, or valuable information)?
- Does your content include a “call to action”, such as asking visitors to contact you for more info, sign up for your newsletter, get an estimate, download a white paper, etc.? Make it easy for your audience to take the next step.
- Do you keep an active blog? Once a month is the bare minimum; more often, such as twice a week, is better.
- Do you create content for other sites, such as guest blogging?
Keep it simple. Your website must be easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. Keep the visuals to a minimum and use a lot of white space. A visually distracting site with too many images, graphics, and animations can overwhelm readers and muddle your message. You only have 8 seconds to grab your readers’ attention. So your message must be presented in brief, catchy chunks of information.
Make it easy, entertaining, educational, and personal. Connect with your audience by telling a story. Humans communicate in a pattern called storytelling. What’s your company story? Why are you in this business and what can you tell me about why I absolutely must have your product or service? What will you do for me that your competitors can’t – or won’t – do?
Our Web Design Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Is your website mobile-first and provides a great mobile user experience for the Google Mobile-First Index?
- Does your website load fast? Page Speed is a Google ranking factor and should not be overlooked. Large images and slow-loading graphics can turn visitors away.
- Does your website use a consistent style throughout? This is essential to avoid confusing your audience.
- Are you using consistent and easy to use navigation menus? If you confuse your visitors they will leave your site.
- Are your page header and footer graphics consistent on every page and do not distract the visitor from reading your page content and marketing message?
- Is your brand logo consistent on every page?
- Is your website design aligned with your key online marketing strategies?
- Are you effectively using imagery, graphics, and multimedia to enhance your marketing message? Telling your story through video and audio messages is very effective.
- Do you include your contact information on every page of your website site, including your telephone number, email address, and physical location if you have one?
- If you do business only in a specific geographic area or areas is that clearly stated on your website?
- Is your website designed to allow your audience to quickly find the content and information they are looking for? Most people prefer easy to read copy and simple visuals.
- Do you have any unfinished, incomplete, or (gasp!) placeholder content?
- Does your website provide you with a way to capture leads, such as a short email form that the prospect can send to you with a quick question or request you contact them?
- Does your website support live chat?
- Does your website include opt-in forms, such as a newsletter sign-up? Is your website search engine optimized for specific keywords, and your business name?
- Does your website reference social networking sites as appropriate for your business?
- Does your website allow for easy social sharing of your content?
- If you have an e-commerce site, are all your products up to date? Do you have product descriptions, images, and reviews?
- Do you have a transparent checkout process, such as PayPal or Stripe?
- Do you allow social login for your customers?
An effective online marketing strategy must include search engine optimization if it is to provide targeted results. You may have the greatest product or service in the world, but if people don’t know you exist they will never find you, or your business.
Search engine optimization requires a systematic approach that is aligned with Google guidelines and follows White Hat SEO practices. Not considering SEO as part of an effective online marketing strategy from the very beginning results in content that is not aligned with the expectations of your intended audience.
Our SEO Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Are you currently using SEO as part of your online marketing strategy? If not, why?
- Do you have Google Analytics installed and configured on your website?
- Are you using Google or Bing Webmaster tools?
- Have you performed keyword research and analysis, including competitor evaluation and comparison?
- Do you have a documented SEO strategy?
- Are your keywords relevant and competitive for your industry and audience?
- Is your content optimized for your keywords?
- Does each page or post on your website have a unique keyword or phrase? Google specifies that each keyword or phrase can only be used once on each site.
- Is your focus keyword or phrase part of your page title and URL?
- Are you using H1, H2, H3, etc. headlines correctly? Only your page title should be using the H1 tag.
- Do you have a minimum of 300-500 words per page or post? Longer content ranks higher on search engines.
- Are you using your keyword or phrase for maximum effectiveness? If you use it too much Google will rank you lower.
- Does each page or post have at least one (1) image that illustrates the keyword or phrase?
- Do the image file names and alt tags include the keyword or phrase?
- Does each page have a meta description and other meta tags as appropriate?
- Do you have appropriate calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site?
- Do you have appropriate internal links throughout your site? This helps visitors explore your content.
- Do you have an XML site map?
- Do you have a robots.txt file?
- Is your domain registered for a minimum of two (2) years? 5 or 10 years are better. Search engines do not index any site that has a domain registered for less than two years.
- Do you have a Secure Socket Layer Certificate (SSL)? This is a Google requirement since 2018. It is highly recommended for all e-commerce sites.
- Do you have unnecessary redirects, such as to a mobile version of your site?
- Do you have broken or orphaned links? Google considers them to be ranking factors.
- Do you have any spammy links or content?
- Do you have any hacked content?
- Are you blacklisted or considered a spammer by search engines?
- Are you using paid search, such as PPC or AdWords campaigns?
- If you are a local business, have you claimed your local listings for each location?
- Do you have a mobile app?
Your business website is the focal point of any effective online marketing strategy. But that does not mean you should ignore social media. No matter what service or product you provide, or what industry you are in, you can share valuable content with your intended target audience through social media.
While it is not essential for a business to be on all social channels you should consider having a presence on the big 8:
Our Social Media Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Are you using social channels as appropriate for your business and industry?
- Is your branding consistent across all your social channels?
- Are all your social profiles completely filled out?
- Are your profile and cover images the correct size, proportion, and high quality?
- Are you providing links to your website and other contact info on all social channels?
- Are you linking to your other social channels as appropriate?
- Does your website include links to all your social profiles?
- Are you following the 80/20 rule? 80% of your content should be about others and what interests them.
- Is your social content aligned with both your marketing strategy and your audience’s expectations?
- Are you posting at the optimum times for each of your social channels?
- Do you include your SEO keywords and phrases in your updates?
- Do you post regular updates? Frequency depends on the social channel and audience and can range from 2-20 times daily.
- Are you posting too many updates? Engagement declines if you do.
- Are you targeting and following key influencers in your industry on your social channels?
- Are you using appropriate hashtags on your social channels?
- Are you including links, images, and/or videos in your updates?
- Are you actively growing your social presence by adding new likes and followers?
- Are you actively engaging with your audience on social media? This is a conversation; you need to respond to questions and comments, especially negative ones.
- Are you promoting your website content, such as blog posts, on your social channels?
- Are you using tactics such as contests, surveys, and promotions to increase your organic reach on social channels?
- Are you using any paid social advertising?
- Are you using an editorial calendar to plan your social media updates?
- Are you using a third-party service or app to run your social campaigns, such as Agorapulse, HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, AddThis, Commun.it, etc.?
No effective online marketing strategy or campaign would be complete without the ability to track performance and measure the results. Without a clear understanding of how your audience reacts to your marketing message and delivery, you will not be able to fine-tune it.
Performance tracking can be as simple as counting the number of inbound leads you receive in any given period of time, or as advanced as employing heat maps and real-time user monitoring (RUM) on your website.
Our Analytics Evaluation focuses on the following:
- Have you established a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing campaign?
- Are you tracking website visitors through Google Analytics or similar?
- Are you tracking social engagement on all your social channels? This is included in many social media apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, Agorapulse, Sprout Social, AddThis, and Commun.it.
- Do you do any A-B testing of your marketing message or delivery vehicle?
- Do you know what return on investment (ROI) each of your marketing campaigns needs to provide?
- How are you measuring ROI?
- Are you currently using a customer retention management (CRM) system to track prospects and leads?
- If you are using paid search or social campaigns, how are you tracking their performance?
Final Thoughts on Effective Online Marketing
To turn prospects into customers you need to create an online presence that can convey your marketing message to your intended target audience as effectively as possible. If you design your website and social profiles and content in a way that cuts through the clutter and engages readers, you will keep people interested long enough to hear your marketing message.
When your online presence is meaningful and entertaining, not only will your message be heard; your audience will also share it with others. Your website and social channels may not make the sale for you, but they will be your virtual sales assistant.
Our online marketing evaluation allows you to identify and overcome any existing or potential shortcomings in your existing online presence, content, or strategy. This will ensure that your online marketing strategy and campaigns are based on a solid foundation that will continue to provide you with measurable results.
The alternative is to start with a shaky foundation, which will result in missed opportunities, ineffective strategies, and less engagement. Continuing on that path will ultimately lead to failure, frustration, and additional costs and time to create the marketing presence you needed from the beginning.
Creating Your Effective Online Marketing Strategy!
OK, how many items could you check off on our online marketing checklist? Keep in mind that you do not need a perfect score to succeed, or even get started. But if you are missing or not sure about 25 or more of the 100 questions you better fill in the gaps. And if you rank below the 50% mark you are definitely not ready for any effective online marketing.
Hopefully our effective online marketing checklist illustrated the need for having a plan before you get started. While it sounds simple, effective online marketing is more than just “putting some content out there and hoping it will stick.” You really need to cover all the bases in order to succeed with your online marketing efforts.
You may need to hire a marketing consultant to get you started. Have them help you identify your target audience, the content you need to create to satisfy them and establish some measurable goals and targets. Use these as building blocks to create your own effective online marketing strategy.
Need Help WITH YOUR ONLINE MARKETING?
Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of website consulting and design services for startups, brands and product companies, including brand strategy and design, website design and development, search engine optimization, and business website hosting.
Feel free reach out to us and learn more about our mobile-first WordPress web design services. Our team can help you determine exactly what type of website and content you really need, and help you create the online presence you need to attract, engage and convert more visitors.
Are You Marketing Your Business EFFECTIVELY?
Does your online presence include most or all of our effective online marketing features? Are they helping you attract, engage and convert more consumers and meet your business objectives? Or are you missing your marketing objectives? Is it because of your online presence? Please feel free to let us know so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!