By Colette Wade, director of marketing EMEA & Australia at Webtrends
It can be fairly straightforward today to create an online presence for your company and this can even be done overnight (albeit in a simple manner), but what is more challenging to digital marketers is making the most of their online presence and using it to increase revenue and build brand awareness. Here are a few of my top tips to help your company get the best results it can:
Most importantly, remember that websites are all about enhancing the customer experience so that customers engage more effectively with your brand. View all visitors to your website as customers (regardless of what you sell) and ensure you have the necessary services in place to make them happy. The best way to do this is to live test different strategies to see the real-time results. This way you can effectively see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
It’s also important to consider what your competitors are doing online. Take a look at their online presence (such as website, Twitter, smartphone app, eBay store, Facebook, mobile site) and channels they are using to push their brand and sales. Take note of what you think works well or doesn’t work well and why. Also, analyse the channels that are being used and identify how well they engage with the customer.
Be app savvy
With the rise in smartphone apps, it is easy to get distracted and dive head first into the ‘cool’ channels such as building an all-singing all-dancing app. But often it is more important — and cheaper — to concentrate on other online areas first. There is no point building an expensive app and then having a poor online presence elsewhere because the app can end up being a burden. Mobile websites can be a more important resource than apps depending on your industry. For example, increasing numbers of web users are banking online, but it’s no good having a smartphone app allowing customers to check their account balance if the counterpart mobile site isn’t accessible enough to allow user-friendly money transfers.
Web and mobile analytics are essential to monitor the success of new and existing channels. It sounds obvious, but there is no point in having an online strategy if you don’t monitor it. There is plenty of insightful data out there and it’s important to make the most it by analysing what the data reveals about visitor habits. This data will tell you a lot about what areas you need to improve, add or promote, and just how customers are engaging with your brand.
Decide on a social media strategy
It can be too easy to set up numerous accounts across numerous networks and leave them to go stale or only update them occasionally. Think about how you will use Twitter as a marketing tool. Will you use Twitter primarily as a marketing tool, or will it be used for sales and customer service too? Also, investigate the best ways for your company to make the most of social commerce — an area which is set to be a rapid grower in 2011.
Stay ahead of the game
Finally, don’t forget that online channels are continually changing. Don’t assume that one update here and there once a year is enough. Regularly track how your online strategy is faring and explore any new developments that might be relevant.
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