When it comes to painting a positive picture of your business it is safe to say that first impressions count.
We get our logo and business cards designed with aesthetics in mind; we dress to impress for those important meetings; and we certainly make sure our shops and offices are professional, well thought out and a strong reflection of our brands.
In 2016, more of your customers will have their first contact with your business through digital channels – especially your website. So when it comes to your business the important question is: are you investing time and effort into your digital activity to capitalise on this?
The UK online shopping market has seen a 10% compound annual growth rate since 2012 and total online sales for 2015 are currently being broken down at around the £50 billion mark. Therefore, if your answer is ‘no’ then you really should be. Furthermore, it is paramount to really make sure you focus on the key areas which will make an impact to your balance sheets over time.
Design your site well
Effective web design has to remain one of the most important aspects of your website.
Content is, of course, fundamental in terms of how you communicate with your audience, but you need to get them hooked from the very second they land on your site otherwise potential customers won’t stick around to read it.
A recent study looking at example healthcare websites suggested that as many as 96% of respondents stated that design-based factors were responsible for communicating mistrust, compared to just 4% picking out issues with text or video copy.
Images in your site are one of the most critical aspects to focus on here. Although they are technically part of your site content, the impact they have on your overall site design means they need to be well considered.
Your website should be focused on building credibility and trust as this is what results in sales and enquires down the line. Using stock images does not build trust. Using pictures from 10 years ago does not build trust. One of the best investments you can make for 2016 is a good quality camera so you can document your work and showcase it on your website. This does build trust as it shows your potential customers you’re real, in business and deliver a great end product too.
Embrace the mobile world
Mobile internet isn’t the future. It was here four years ago. It is here to stay now. There are now over two billion smartphone users out there and this is expected to rise to 1/3 of the entire planet by 2018.
Smartphones are now also the most common way to search for something online, so whether you’re selling a product or promoting your services they simply cannot be ignored.
Any good web designer (and even most of the self-service web builder platforms available) will suggest having a mobile responsive design. They should be encouraging you to think about how your website is going to look on mobiles.
However, it is no longer enough to have a ‘responsive version’ of your website which automatically works on mobile devices by scaling down to the screen. You need to optimise this to ensure it complies with what Google is looking for in mobile sites and provides an experience to your audience, unique to a mobile device.
Think about your site outcomes
As with all of your marketing activity there should be a clear metric which can be measured to justify success and attribute a return on investment to the efforts you have made.
To do this with your website it is important to identify the behaviours in your site which suggest you are working towards success. If you are an ecommerce shop then this is usually sales. If you are a solicitor or professional service then it is likely to be enquiries you are after through your site.
These outcomes need to be considered throughout your site and should be at the epicentre of any changes you decide to make to your site and wider strategy. For example, if you are trying to procure leads through your site then sometimes your potential customers can be put off by terms like “get a quote” as this suggests obligation. If you were to trail a call-to-action such as “request an info pack” then this usually carries a higher completion rate as there is no obligation associated with it.
The completion of these key elements can be fully measured through your Google analytics. If this is something you don’t use then you should start as soon as possible.
Try it now – you should be already!
As you can see your website (and associated digital marketing activity to promote it) is becoming more and more essential as part of your wider marketing/communication strategy.
In the last four years digital marketing has risen from 25% to 75% of total marketing spend for SMEs and over a third will invest in a new digital marketing member of staff this year (fixed term or permanent).
All this development has to be positive for businesses willing to capitalise on these opportunities. However the question can still be asked whether even trying to segregate your online and offline marketing activities is the fast track to failure.
Surely in the era of self-driving cars, smart watches and bionic limbs digital marketing and offline marketing must be becoming the same thing.
It is food for thought when reviewing your marketing strategy this year.
Get in touch with Pixus to discuss what we could offer for your digital marketing strategy