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First Get the Basics Right, Then Customize the Details

May 1, 2022
Before studying algorithms, best practices, and other web marketing details, learn to target your online presence so that you’re addressing the diverse interests of your audience.

Marketing basics aren’t about your color scheme, your brand name, or your tagline. It’s not about ads in a magazine or a booth at a tradeshow. It’s not about a viral TikTok.

The marketing basics are about knowing who you help with your solution (be it service or product) and communicating that solution to the right people. In our digital age, that starts with having your own communication hub – a website.

There are basic technical details to website functionality, details which should be handled the site designer:
 Is your website HTTPS – the secure version of “hypertext transfer protocol”? (Google “discriminates” against sites that are simply HTTP.)
  Is your website mobile first or, at least, mobile responsive? (Again, Google prefers that.)
  Is the site hosted in your country of business? (Google search gives preference to businesses by geography.)
  Do you have the “right” domain, i.e., name? (You can change the name. Buy a new one. Have the old site moved over and re-directs installed. It might be worth the effort if your site becomes more recognizable or simpler to recall.)
  Tools like Siri and Alexa mean that “search” has gone vocal, so make sure your site has a name that people can say.
  Limit the use of hyphens in the site name and avoid non-standard domains (.biz .us, .info, etc.)
  Tip: don’t use a .org domain unless you are a non-profit organization.
  Is the load speed of your site fast enough?
  Do your web pages have meta tags and keywords?
  Make sure your website has Google Analytics – GA4, not universal. Accept no substitute.

You can get help with these Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) basics from a professional programmer or marketing agency. I’m arming you with the information to ask them the right questions. This month, I’ve seen one too many “recently updated” and “new” websites that are not drawing traffic due to a technical issue … in one case because they did not hire a professional designer and had an intern build the website. That one lacked meta tags and keywords, aka the way you signal to Google (and all other searches)  what your company does. Not paying for professional support saved that company from being found by potential clients dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

To support the website, someone on your team should become familiar with Google Analytics and check at least monthly on a few basic indicators about the site’s performance. Where is traffic coming from – meaning, Which content or social media, etc. are working? What keywords are drawing in viewers. How is their experience on the site like – meaning, How long are people visiting your site? Are visitors bouncing off your site quickly, which may indicate they are not having the experience they expect? With that information, the site can be adjusted to optimize what you learn.

There are other, non-technical basics to your digital presence for which you do not need outside support.  Your sales, customers service, and other internal staff have the expertise to support answering these questions:
  Does your website adequately describe the problem you solve? (How your company helps customers?)
  Does your website make visitors’ next action clear? Do you provide a contact form or sign up, or a phone number, for people interested in your product or service?
  Check it. Make sure the form is landing in someone’s inbox, and not SPAM.
  Does the website highlight customer success stories that echo the work you specialize in?
  Does your website answer common questions people have about your solution or their problem?

You can review your site, right now, and improve the text to do better at helping customers find your company and solution. The better you answer common questions that a buyer of your product or service might have, the easier you are to be found.

The follow up to creating the website is to answer how are you driving traffic to the website – aka inviting people to get to know your company and solution. Are there regular, outward communications – Blogs? Press releases? Social posts? You may need to run ads, digital or print, to drive traffic to the site.

When communications happen, are they targeted? Targeted means talking about what you want to attract more of, by way of your case studies, press releases, and testimonials. Targeted means having social media that reaches people where they are – potential employees, current employees, and buyers – rather than a generic multi-post. It means understanding those diverse viewpoints and interests and speaking to them in each communication. Targeted means consistently focused on what problem you solve and for whom.

Most of the marketing activity that consumers see looks easy. It’s not. There are algorithms, best practices, laws, and even just plain old information that marketers know – and you don’t. Use what you learn here – in this column – to get the basics right. (This month on your website!) Focusing on the basics is often the smartest marketing play and the best support for business growth.

Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.

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