Website marketing: The definitive guide
What is website marketing?
Website marketing is the strategic promotion of a website to drive relevant traffic to the site. The goal is typically to attract people who may be interested in a company’s products or services. More traffic coming to a site means more opportunities to put your value proposition in front of potential customers.
The goal of most website marketing strategies is to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) through the implementation of search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics, content marketing, social media engagement, and other digital and offline efforts.
In the majority of industries, pages that rank in the first SERP position get more than 50% of the traffic for their target keywords. There’s a steep drop-off for pages ranking in the second and third positions, and pages in positions 5-20 compete for less than 5% of traffic.
Properly managed, a website marketing strategy can help your business attract new customers and ultimately expand your business’s share of the market.
Your website is your best marketing tool
These days, your brand’s website is the primary channel in which users can learn about your brand and take actions that directly contribute to the growth of your business.
Getting a lot of shares and likes on social media is good – but only if it translates to desired actions. For example, posting funny memes to your brand’s Facebook page may be a good way to increase your social following. But the real goal is to get those users to your website where they will not only be less distracted by competing brands, but also have more ways to interact with your content and offerings.
How to promote your website
To the uninitiated, website promotion can seem like a daunting task.
With an estimated 1.6 billion registered websites in 2019 and more than 4 billion active internet users, standing out feels like an impossible task.
The good news is that there’s nothing impossible about it.
When you understand what your audience is looking for and how search engines identify quality websites, the internet is your oyster.
As the name implies, SEO is the set of methodologies used to make websites both accessible to search engines and appealing to readers.
Modern ranking algorithms like those used by Google are designed to sniff out dozens of signals that make websites useful and trustworthy.
Moz has done a great job summarising the critical needs of SEO:
Never forget that the web is a network, and movement between network nodes (websites) is crucial not only to digital marketing, but to the modern global economy as a whole.
So if you think about website traffic as a form of currency, it makes sense that you would want to receive it from reputable sources. Just as you wouldn’t want to take money from a shady lender, you don’t want traffic from irrelevant or disreputable sources.
Backlinks – which drive traffic from another site to your own – are extremely important promotional tools. Credible backlinks signal to search engines that your content is trustworthy and relevant.
Influencers are connectors; they are people who have established reputations as knowledgeable experts, trendsetters and entertaining personalities. They have large audiences of social followers who enjoy the influencer’s content and actively participate in online conversations.
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Brands partner with influencers to appeal to new audience segments and extend the reach of their messages. In 2019, influencer marketing spend is predicted to more than double 2017 figures, with 69% going toward B2C campaigns.
The average worker sends and receives 121 emails per day, so why not put those outgoing messages to work promoting your website?
Any email that comes from your brand’s domain name should include a link back to your website. That way, any reader who is interested in learning more about your offerings can easily get to your site without any extra steps.
Some have said that content marketing is the only type of marketing left. And while there’s certainly room for disagreement there, it’s true that content marketing is more relevant than ever.
Content provides site visitors with immediate value in the form of new knowledge and insights. For many visitors, it’s the sole reason to view your site.
If you want people to stay on your site long enough to absorb your messages, you need highly engaging content.
We’ll talk more about that farther down.
Building an effective website marketing strategy
Marketing your website effectively requires a deep understanding of several disciplines, including analytics, modern mobile technology trends, human psychology, inbound and outbound methodologies, and more.
Conduct a site analysis
Everything you do to increase the amount of traffic coming to your site should be measured. It’s the only way to know how effective your strategies are and the only way you’ll be able to identify new opportunities to attract more visitors.
For example, if you implement a content marketing strategy, you’ll want to measure traffic coming to your blog articles, the number of click-throughs each one produces, the amount of time visitors spend reading the content and more.
Thankfully, Google Analytics is free and fairly intuitive to use, though certain types of site analysis are best left to professionals.
But there is more good news: By setting up a Google Analytics account for your website and running monthly reports, you’ll be ahead of 49% of B2B marketers.
Consider mobile optimisation
The internet is quickly becoming a mobile-first environment.
More people are conducting searches, reading content and doing business from their smartphones every day. In Q1 2019, mobile search accounted for 64% of organic traffic, up from 57% in 2018.
In fact, Google began to use the mobile version of webpages for indexing and ranking way back in 2018.
To rank highly, webpages must be able to load fast on mobile devices and display their content in a manner that is mobile friendly. That means image optimisation and dynamic site markup are essential for SEO moving forward.
Managed properly, search marketing can increase web traffic significantly without raising costs exponentially.
Map the user journey
How do users move through your website?
Do they find you organically through a blog post and then browse your product pages?
What about when they arrive from your social media page?
Asking these and similar questions will help you develop a user experience that encourages visitors to stay longer and read more.
You may want to consider developing multiple user journeys for distinct buyer personas. Your Google Analytics dashboard can show you where users are currently leaving your site so you can optimise those pages.
In addition to thinking of site utilisation as a journey your users take, consider other models, such as the marketing flywheel, that seek to build SEO momentum over time.
Develop email campaigns
Email marketing is one of the most popular and useful forms of web marketing currently available.
From small businesses to the enterprise, email lists are the lifeblood of sales. They can also help you pull in returning visitors with engaging content, special promotions and more.
Cold emails – messages sent to prospects with whom you have no prior relationship – require a personal touch, and a little humor, to fully engage your target audience. Your subject lines should be eye-catching and succinct. The best strategies use content to capture visitor emails, then reinforce that relationship with additional, more relevant content.
Pay-per-click ads can be an effective way to drive more traffic to your site, but they require a more substantial investment.
As the name implies, businesses only pay when someone clicks on the ad.
These days, PPC is most effective when used in tandem with another channel like content marketing, because visitors need more information than can fit in an ad before they make a purchase decision.
Types of website marketing services
Website marketing is a full time commitment.
Brands big and small often outsource some or all of their digital marketing efforts to agencies because they lack the internal resources to run effective multichannel campaigns.
Here are some examples of what might be shopped out:
Google and other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. Specialist marketing agencies maintain an updated working knowledge of SEO best practices to ensure their clients comply with the latest standards and methodologies.
Content production and optimisation
It’s easy to hire someone to write a few hundred words of blog copy, but marketing agencies can do so much more. Agencies will conduct market and subject matter research, develop written and visual content, promote web content and update assets as needed.
Though many aspects of email marketing campaigns can be automated with the right technology, someone still needs to write and format engaging content. Agencies can help businesses develop and implement end-to-end email campaigns based around unique campaign objectives.
Marketing agencies can help businesses create PPC campaigns with eye-catching headlines and text. Consultants can fully manage bidding strategies to maximise the reach and ROI of every campaign.
Content and website marketing
Content marketing and website marketing go hand in hand.
Once you’ve attracted readers through your promotional efforts, you need something for them to engage with. After all, if users come to your site only to find a few paragraphs of sales messages, they’re likely to bounce.
However, when relevant users come to your site and find useful information, they’ll not only stick around to read it, but they will also be more likely to take an action, such as signing up for a newsletter or contacting your sales team.
Content development and publication requires a scientific approach
The content you publish on your site needs to be highly relevant to your readers’ needs; it also needs to be visually interesting and easy to parse. Indeed, there are so many factors at play, and site owners need to take a scientific approach to content production and publication.
Considering 1.2% of all indexed pages are responsible for 68% of all website traffic, it should be clear why a scientific approach is necessary to attract people to your site.
The best content marketers consider many things when approaching every piece of content, including:
- Target audience: Who will get the most use out of the content? What are their pain points? Where are they in the buying process? What content formats do they prefer? What social media marketing channels do they respond to?
- Commercial goals: What conversion action should readers take? How can we measure the impact of our content?
- Keywords: Does the content use language that users actually search for? Do pages competing for similar keywords offer greater depth and breadth of subject matter expertise?
- Tone and branding: Does the content conform to the brand voice?
- Visuals: Does the imagery and typography reflect the brand? Does it align with the written content?
In addition to these considerations, content marketers also think strategically about which platforms to publish content to, what social channels to promote that content on, the best time of day to publish content and much more.
Your website is probably the most important and powerful marketing tool you have. With plenty of care and strategic thinking, it can become your biggest source of business growth. Take what you’ve learned here and put it to good use. Let us know how it goes in the comments!