Your website is your company’s most visible face to the world! If you want a successful and comprehensive site launch by 4Q 2014, make sure you hire your vendor before the end of 1Q. Web site projects are often catalysts for changes in the way companies tell their stories externally. If you wait until the last minute to hire a vendor and start your project, you short change the critical internal conversations around who you are and what you do. While the technical and design aspects of a new web site typically take 4-6 months, the overarching branding and messaging considerations can take 3-4 months themselves. For example, if you start the web project and your company decides to redo that logo the founder’s art school nephew designed twenty years ago, or you are in the process of changing your market focus, those considerations alone require some serious focus before your web site re-design can really gain traction.
If you don’t need the extra time, you’ll look like heroes. But if you do, and you wait until the last minute to go to bid and hire a vendor, you’ll look like putzes.
Content Management System (CMS)
Most B2B websites today are built on and open source CMS. Open source means the website software is widely available, while proprietary means it is used only by your prospective provider. If you go down the proprietary path you’ll most likely be tied to your designer / developer forever. Open source means you’ll have freedom to select who works on your site. WordPress works wonderfully for most B2B websites!
Your company website MUST cater to mobile, desktop, and everything in between. Responsive design means one site can be implemented across devices. With the increase in tables and smart phone sales, responsive design has never been so important for those looking to optimize their online content, which is important in SEO. Good quality content improves your search engine ranking page positioning and, with responsive design, fewer resources can be wasted in low-level duplication of content across sites, increasing your chances of ranking higher in the search engines.
Another benefit of responsive design is that the user has an improved site experience as there is no need for redirection, use of standardised Style Sheets (CSS) across devices and unified design approach will also create a consistent look and feel. Consistent user experience will better conversion rates because people are familiar with navigation and site or system use across devices.
SEO has changed. It is still crucial to have a solid key word strategy, but it is not enough just to plug those into the title tags and hope for the best! Google now has the ability to find and punish low quality content. If it’s duplicate or scraped – or just not useful – it’s not going to rank well. Sites at top of the search engine results pages are being rewarded for links from authoritative sources and high quality content.
Content marketing creates interesting and engaging content that attracts prospective buyers to your products. The content you create may address needs that buyers have in every stage of their decision to purchase specific goods. Content marketing is the process by which you strategically distribute your content around the Web, where your prospective buyers will find and interact with it, leading them to your products on your website. If you want SEO success, you need a content marketing strategy for 2014!
Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigning
PPC campaigns allow your company to instantly generate targeted traffic and quickly increase online visibility. Most PPC campaigns are poorly organized, lack strategic focus and fail to meet expectations. The key to driving valuable traffic is to properly structure your account, implement an aggressive bid strategy, and continuously optimize your ads/keywords based on performance. Creating a profitable PPC campaign takes effort and constant refinement, but when done correctly, PPC ads can rapidly boost your online exposure and immediately put you in front of potential customers!
Messaging with Clarity
Most websites lack clarity when it comes to effectively messaging key points, such as: who the company is, what they do and especially why they matter. Studies show that website visitors give you a stunningly short 7 seconds to get all of this across – or they leave. Effective messaging uses tiered statements that are pithy and engaging. Brevity is key, but so hard to do. If you don’t have experts on staff, then seek outside help.
Social Media Campaigning
The options of what you can do on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites expands monthly. If you don’t already, start to use an editorial calendar to define and control content, from idea through writing and publication. Update your content schedule for the next six months, and stick to it.
- If you don’t have a blog, yesterday was the time to start one! If you have a blog, get back to posting quality content, and sharing the link through your social media, and in your e-mails. Also, keep in mind that blog optimization is good for search optimization!
- Keep expanding your followership on your social media sites, especially on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has become THE social network for the B2B community. With more than 2.6 million company pages on LinkedIn, the network has an ever-expanding global presence. By creating a company page on LinkedIn, B2B marketers can show their products and services, team expertise, share consumer feedback, and more. Also, having recommendations on your company page goes a long way in attracting new business prospects and are valuable in making an impression on a potential prospect, even before they reach your company website. When you add your products and services to your company profile page, you give your customers a chance to give you a recommendation. Testimonials from happy customers can be a great booster for your company’s brand and express quality of your products or services!
LinkedIn Groups are an incredible opportunity not to become a thought leader and active participant in places where your prospects and customers are talking. It also is a great tool to growing your prospect database, and allows you to reach out to these prospects, even without being connected to them! However, you need to be mindful of a few Group considerations:
- Manage your group carefully and choose carefully
- Follow companies and connect with prospects
- Optimize your profile
- Keep your profile fresh.
- Add links to all your communications so that happy customers can quickly get to the site to post a review.
- Respond to all input immediately with constructive comments.
- Follow your existing customers
- Follow your prospects to keep up with what is going on with them
- Create lists for your prospects, separated by lead groups
Are there other considerations you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments section.