Over the years, every now and then when attending networking events, we hear a familiar remark - ‘I don’t need a website’... we respond by saying ‘Good luck with that!’
The role of the website is still as important than it was a decade ago, some may see that social media or apps can replace the humble website, but there is overwhelming evidence that (in the foreseeable future) websites will remain as the ‘central hub’ for all digital marketing and exchange, with all other channels and communications feeding into it.
Firstly, your website is yours… commonly identified as Owned Media; you have the ability to quickly control and change content and respond to opportunities in the marketplace with your own publishing platform. Websites can operate all day and night, servicing clients from all over the globe and are very cheap to run considering this global reach (try that with a ‘bricks and mortar’ only business!). Your business website can deliver a positive user experience and build trust in your brand and business culture.
Other ‘Owned Media’ include other digital assets that you have created for your business, such as Blogs, Technical Papers (White Papers), eBooks - but they too are an adjunct of your website… again the central digital focal point for your business. We will write more about Owned, Earned and Paid Media in another Blog soon, but in the meantime you might want to read this article from Forbes here.
Another thing we hear a lot is how business owners have developed their website for free or very much on the cheap.. is great for those businesses who are starting out on a shoestring but a well developed website with a consistent content management strategy will accelerate a new brand tremendously.
At the end of the day free or cheap websites have their place, but invariably tend to end up costing more than they are worth and sometimes can damage your brand and reputation in the process as well. A lot of low end sites are developed using a service with limited number of templates, as such business owners will notice similar looking sites; this is part of observation selective bias phenomenon, but also because due to the limited template selections.
Every now and then we hear of some seriously frightening horror stories of business owners having their domains or hosting held to ransom as they try to relocate their digital assets to new providers, or free/cheap website providers refusing to close down a web page created for the business, which creates confusion in the marketplace.
Doing marketing on your site can be problematic under these arrangements, especially SEO in particular, as you business site are grouped under a generic domain so any attempt to optimise will benefit website supplier
An independent business website is essential for Integrated marketing and is the central point for all marketing channels, driving traffic to specific landing pages, offers products and other owned media such as fact sheets, white papers etc. This whole process is your marketing funnel, thereby drawing traffic from a variety of sources; the end result when working as effective as possible will be increased sales, customers and retained clientele.
Building Trust with Domain Emails:
Another important element of owned media is the humble email account, there has been numerous situations at networking events where we’ve been given a business card and the email address is a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail email address. Granted it’s a small thing, but all the small things are picked up when prospective clients are deciding to do business with you…. email is still important today.
Optimising Your Funnel - Your Digital Presence:
While this is not strictly regarding business websites, we believe it’s often an overlooked aspect of drawing traffic to business websites. As the Internet has matured there are sites out there that have redundant business information, such as contact details, logos and product/services. A simple search for your business on third party sites such as business directories can give you an interesting sample. Monitoring and updating redundant details can be difficult and laborious but essential… but more about that in a future Blog!