The Internet offers unprecedented data on your marketing efforts, but if you don’t use this intelligence to optimize your web efforts, you’re wasting your time and resources.
Unfortunately, this is a common mistake, BDC’s Ravi Dindayal says. Many companies create a basic website and social media properties but then put little effort into optimizing them and wind up frustrated with poor results.
Optimization can be divided into three stages, depending on the sophistication of your web presence. It’s best to start small and focus on simple, incremental improvements to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Review your Online Properties
Stage one is to review your website and social media pages to make sure they are meeting your basic requirements. They should:
- Be user friendly for visitors (easy to navigate, with clear calls to action and prominently featured contact information)
- Present your company in an attractive, professional way that is consistent with your branding and overall business strategy.
Extend your Search
Once you’ve accomplished this first level of optimization and gained some experience online, you are ready for stage two. Here is where you start making efforts to extend your reach online.
Set up your online analytics tools to generate the measurement data that will be at the heart of your optimization and other Internet efforts. Using this information, do the following:
- Look for information on what is working best on your website— and what you need to improve or replace. Experiment to see which tweaks improve your results. For example, does a bigger font, different positioning or a new call to action increase the number of people signing up for your online newsletter?
- Gauge the reaction to value-added content. If you post a new photo on your website, do visitors look at it more or less often than they looked at the previous one? How many photos are ideal on various webpages? Is a video better? Which social media posts get shared most? Which generate the most comments?
- Work to improve your findability in search engine results and on social media.
- See which keywords work best in online ads.
- Focus on ways to improve the conversion of visitors into paying customers. This can pay off more than efforts to get more traffic to your site. For example, make sure forms are simple and easy to fill out. Also, align calls to action with content on different pages. Visitors are more likely to subscribe to a newsletter if the subscribe button is beside a useful how-to article.
- Think about how to make your brand more impressive online.
Take it to the Next Level
Once you’ve mastered stage two, you’re ready for the next level of sophistication. Here’s where you optimize your online presence in creative ways to enhance your brand still more. Optimization at this advanced level can even involve revising your business model.