For many businesses, the beginning of a New Year brings with it a new marketing plan. Whether you are a new or established business, it’s critical to have a plan in place for your web marketing efforts. This applies to an online store, small business or large corporation. Your plan will of course include strategies to reach your marketing goals to increase your bottom line.
One strategy that is often overlooked, or under-developed, is web optimization. I am not just talking about Calgary SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services, which focus on ranking well in the Search Engines.
As we start 2020 with fresh ideas and goals for our businesses and online ventures, we need to consider the following key factors. These factors can help or hinder your Web optimization and Calgary web design strategies.
The definition of optimization is, “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.”
Isn’t that what we want for our business and all resources and channels associated with it?
If you want your business to succeed online, your brand and web presence needs to be properly optimized.
Proper optimization will improve:
- People’s first impression of your company
- Brand trust & authority
- Visibility in Search Engine results
- An increase in positive reviews
- Your company’s visibility on other vital profiles on industry sites and review sites
- Increased back links to your website
- Customer engagement (not only on your website, but also social media and other websites)
- How long a customer stays on your site
- Your multiple channels used for content distribution
- Increased targeted traffic to your website (More targeted prospects and leads)
- All of these factors will ultimately improve your bottom line
The optimization process is, as you can imagine, a very detailed and work-intensive process. For this reason, it is something often overlooked by Web development companies, who often overlook basic optimization factors.
Of course, you may have built your own website using a web builder service rather than hiring a web design company to create a custom website. In this case, your site’s success will depend on how much time and energy you had to learn SEO, UEO (User Experience Optimization) and core marketing techniques like doing Web marketing research of your competitors.
I’ve been building websites since 1997 and the funny thing is that many of the key design and digital marketing strategies are still effective. It surprises me how often these are still over looked, even by professional Web agencies.
That said, the biggest change I consistently see is that, as Web technologies get more intuitive and powerful, they get equally more complex to manage behind the scenes. For example, this applies to hardware, like the advent of mobile devices, and software, like Google’s search engine and apps. The easier things are for the end user, the more complex the engine is running them behind the scenes.
Here’s a quick example: if you want to know how well your website is optimized, you need to audit it. So, when I audit an existing website for a client, or when I audit their competitor’s sites, the site scores are usually in the 40/100 to 50/100 score. By comparison, a BlindDrop-produced website scores between 75/100 to 95/100 in our third-party audit. Which site do you think will naturally rank more highly?
When your website is properly optimized, it will rank higher and reach more of your target market.
It will provide a better user (customer) experience.
Overall, it will best represent your services, products and brand 24/7.
BlindDrop is a Calgary marketing company that specializes in optimization. When we produce a Website, we use at minimum, three different auditing apps to get the best range of reference to determine what is uniquely necessary for each client’s website.
To remain successful online requires agility and a proactive approach to your marketing efforts. The Web is an ever-changing landscape. Your website’s rankings change daily. Those rankings will depend on 200 SEO factors that influence Google’s ranking algorithms.
But, as I said, it is not only about ranking high in Google. You need to make sure your website is user-friendly, intuitive and professional. This is also a main goal of the optimization process as well.
Web Optimization Strategies for 2020
So, let’s look at ways to make the best or most effective use of your Web presence and marketing strategies for 2020:
1. Your Branding
I’m sure you’re aware that your brand is not just your logo by now. Your brand is the experience and relationship created by your company with everything and everyone. This includes your prospects, leads, customers, employees and suppliers.
Your brand is your influence on the world. Its relevancy, authority and influence will shift over the years.
Being proactive and attentive to your brand is essential. Also, make sure you are consistent with your messaging across all channels, from your website to email marketing, to print and signage, to customer experience and human resources.
Make sure your visual brand is:
- Professionally created, with a clean, simple iconic design
- Is engaging and embodies the unique and authentic feel of your business and its offerings
- Developed with supporting elements in mind
- Comes with a branding guideline for future use, especially to share with third parties so they use the logo and branding material as intended
- Carried through all media consistently, from your website, to mobile apps, to print and signage
- You have placed some thought to a tagline or slogan.
- Up to date – your brand needs to balance between maintaining its history and familiarity, but be open to tweaking your brand image and messaging over the years to embrace shifts in design, accessibility and target markets.
2. Competitor Awareness
Competition levels, generally speaking, continue to grow, especially online. So, while we don’t want to dwell too much on what our competitors are doing, we need to be aware of where they are at, and more importantly, what they’re NOT doing.
As I noted earlier, a simple website audit can reveal where your competition is lacking from a branding and marketing perspective. It shows how much that business is invested in their online presence and, ultimately, how they are perceived by their audience. As this perception affects their bottom line, they are leaving money on the table by not dealing with these issues.
The awesome thing about competitors is that they actually are your key to success! Put aside your fears about them under-cutting you, or out performing you. There is room for everyone online. But you do need to know your niche, your competitors and your customers.
You can easily determine this with some top-level research. Once you know where your competition is at, you can more easily define your own goals.
3. Build a Strong Foundation
When we build a client’s website at BlindDrop.com, we don’t just build a website. We always review the client’s current branding and online marketing efforts.
We then research the client’s niche and develop a Web marketing strategy. From this foundation, we start to develop the website.
Your Web foundation should include:
- Professional branding
- A well-researched list of proven keywords and search terms
- An accessible website that is professional, intuitive, secure, fast loading and delivers the information, digital media, services and products your audience seeks.
- Host your WordPress website on a managed hosting service, such as a dedicated server, that delivers highest security and page speed.
- If you are considering using WordPress for your website, make sure you have chosen proven themes and plugins that help you optimize the critical functions of your website.
- A core network of your brand’s channels that includes Social Media, Video and Industry-related websites. This sets the stage for your social media marketer to shine.
- If you are a local business, you will need to focus especially on local search factors as well.
4. Be Consistent
Your brand is really a story that builds over the life of your business. As the story unfolds, your brand should remain the mentor to the intertwined stories of your customers, suppliers, employees and competitors. So, the one thing you can do to strengthen your story, to make it one to remember, is to be consistent.
Your brand’s story is told through your website, your social media channels, customer reviews and testimonials, videos, pod casts, employee longevity and any other medium that speaks of your brand.
So be consistent in your messaging. Review your branding, your content, your communications, signage and your phone scripts. Even simple things like your email signatures may be overlooked.
To be proactive is to be consistent in your delivery, despite the changes in your marketplace, your offerings or competitors. Consistency builds trust. Trust builds loyalty and authority in your niche.
5. Focus on Authority & Service
Becoming an authority in your niche is critical to your online success. When you have authority, it is easier to build trust with those who are just learning about your company. The challenge with being an authority is that you need to maintain that edge every day.
An optimized web presence helps you build authority most quickly because:
- Your brand is presented professionally
- You appear among your competitors in Google search results and on industry-related review sites
- You have an active web presence, both on your website and across social media channels
- Your website is highly secure and loads quickly for your viewers
- Your clients can easily connect with you via a variety of methods
- Your industry awards and certifications are easily seen on your website and key profiles
- You actively build and respond to customer reviews
- You are able to determine shifts in demand for services and products and adapt accordingly
You will see that maintaining authority is aligned closely to maintaining a consistent, professional image and providing superior customer service.
6. Be Active
Yes, your New Year’s resolutions to be more active extend to your business and Web presence! A few key activities here:
- Google rankings – Google’s current algorithms will rank sites higher that get more real visitors than a site that gets lower traffic. So, your ongoing optimization efforts help more people find your website, which in turn, ranks you higher.
- Blogging – Adding new content to your blog is important, but focus on quality over quantity. By producing quality, optimized content, you’ll naturally reach more of your targeted audience and keep them on the page when they get there.
- Social media – while being active on social media is an industry unto itself, ideally you are active on at least one or two key channels. From a marketing perspective, focus less on making a sale and more about providing value, sharing information beyond your own company news. This will help keep you top of mind, start conversations and build relationships with your targeted audience.
As such, all activities like these should be first inline with your optimization strategy and research. Again, this is an ongoing process, so your content marketing efforts need to be revitalized over time with fresh research data, updated messaging and proper distribution.
When it comes to optimizing your content distribution, go wide but stay focused!
Yep, you have to love paradoxes in life. By this I mean you want to distribute your content to a variety of media channels.
Keep it laser focused to those channels and your overall SEO strategy. This benefits your efforts the most.
For example, when you write an optimized blog post, also consider:
- Making it into a video for YouTube, social media and embedded on your website.
- Recording an audio-only version for a pod-cast or audio file.
- Make it into a branded, optimized PDF document that can be downloaded and shared.
- Creating lead-in posts on social media that draw interested readers to your article
- To include your optimized content and messaging in your in-person sales presentation, advertising campaign and print media. Remember, consistency is key, but adapt it as needed for each medium, as your audience and delivery will change each time.
- To use it as a basis for other types of advertising and communications in mobile phone apps, Google ads, email marketing, print, radio and TV.
Web and Digital marketing can feel overwhelming. So many options and so little time. It’s hard to know where to start and which marketing channel will be most effective for your business.
Some Quick Optimization Tips
- Start at the end – define your goals and decide what you realistically need to achieve from your marketing efforts.
- Be realistic – don’t over-commit to marketing to ten different channels if you only have time/energy/budget for two or three channels each month.
- Start with your “hub”, your website. It is the alpha and omega for your web marketing efforts. Yes, you can have success on your social media channels, but you don’t have as much control, impact nor freedom as you do with your website.
- Incremental changes add up – keep at it! It’s better to make small changes and efforts each month, than feel the weight of having to make many changes less often.
In summary, focus on making the best or most effective use of your online brand, internet marketing and website. Your efforts will have a ripple effect to all of your existing channels.
So, start with a professional audit, do proper SEO research and build a strategy from there based on your competition and your current Web presence.
If you’d like help with this process, just fill out the form below.
I can provide you with a detailed, one-time service that will objectively identify the areas that you need to improve and a strategy to get them actively in place.
Just fill out the following form to get started!
About the Author
Lucas Arnatt is a Web consultant and owner of BlindDrop.com, an award-winning Cochrane web design and SEO company based in Alberta. Lucas has been building websites since 1997 and has worked with hundreds of companies in Calgary, Alberta and across Canada.
BlindDrop specializes in branding solutions, website optimization, SEO services, custom WordPress development and managed WordPress hosting services.
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