Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 12, 2014

Analyzing the importance of a web presence

Goshen News

---- — This is the last column in the series of “how to advance your business online in 2014.” The first two columns are available on my blog at www.mikegingerich.com.

To quickly summarize what I’ve covered, I’ll review here: As businesses look to be effective online in the year ahead they need to first ensure they are providing a good mobile user experience on their website with either a mobile site or a “responsive site” that adapts to the display size of the visitors device (computer, tablet, or mobile). Mobile use on the web simply continues to grow rapidly. Without this, a business can be missing out or causing 20 to 50 percent of their users to have a less than positive experience on their site, so having a mobile website solution is very important to a company’s web presence today.

Once a company has implemented a good mobile visitor experience on its website, a second key area is the content on the site itself. I’m a big proponent of having a blog, and that blog having content that is strategic and accomplishes three key purposes. These purposes include content that attracts and engages; content that helps gain opt-ins and leads; and content that helps finalize sales and motivates consumers to make a purchase. This is all a part of a content marketing strategy where a company gains influence and grows its audience through the sharing of continually new, relevant, and helpful content that meets these three objectives. By having a treasure trove of content online, the company can be found more often in searches of various topics.

Last week I covered the need for social media participation as a key part of advancing your business online in 2014. Social media is not a “if we should” but a “we must.” There is no need to go “all in” and try to be on every social network. Your company social priorities should be defined by the most used social networks of your customers and potential customers. It simply makes sense to prioritize being where your key audience is at. As well, a company needs to “socialize its website,” meaning to include social media buttons to enable visitors to further amplify your company content to others by enabling visitors to easily and freely share your blog posts and other web content on social media networks. Lastly, in the social media realm, a company needs to have a set plan to share their own content socially, and give specific time to using social media to interact with, engage, and network with their broader community on these platforms. Social media use by companies offers the opportunity to build trust, answer questions, and provide support that can lead to loyalty and business growth.

This week, in part three, the key is focusing on lead capture and lead nurture. These two items mean the difference between merely growing your site traffic and having site traffic that converts and helps to grow company sales.

Lead capture

Lead capture involves either blog posts with a form included to access more information, or key landing pages on the site that solely exist to give a offer of value that a user would want to sign-up for. These simple offers can be items such as a product brochure download, an eBook resource, or a coupon; whatever would be of enough value to move a visitor to enter their name and email address to be able to access it. This moves the person from a visitor to a potential lead for the business. Often, businesses finish their website and overlook this key strategy for growing sales online. They simply finish their content and merely have a “brochure” on the web that informs but doesn’t help grow sales or identify visitors. It is very important to have a lead capture method to move visitors into the lead nurture funnel and a simple offer that requires the user to opt-in with their email address can work great. Another lead capture tool that can work well is a opt-in box that appears on the site. Often this type of tool is set to appear after a certain amount of time, inviting the user to sign-up and receive the offer. The key is to plan out the offer and the strategy to gain the opt-in.

Lead nurture

Once the visitor opts-in and your company has the name and email address, the key is to follow-up with a automatic e-mail nurture campaign. Email nurture campaigns can be implemented by using a email marketing service such as Constant Contact, Aweber, MailChimp or other providers. It’s a way to further educate and build rapport with a web visitor over time automatically.

For example, if a user signs up to download a brochure from your website, there would be the opportunity to send a email to thank them and give them a link to the download. Then 24 hours later a email could automatically go out that says, “since you had interest in this, you might also like to learn about this..” Two days after this another email in the sequence could go out, and so on. Since it can take six to eight positive connections with a business to help a new customer be comfortable and ready to make a purchase, a lead capture with lead nurture automatic campaign can help that process.

The key in lead nurture is to ensure the offer and the email follow-up sequence are cohesive and intentional. They should not be direct sales pitches but informational and educational, addressing key questions that would-be buyers have so that trust is built.

By implementing a digital review for your company and addressing these key areas, businesses can ensure that they are giving visitors a great experience on their site, offering content that is valuable and which attracts the right audience, and then moves visitors into the lead nurture funnel. When done well, this empowers a company to have a 24/7/365 automatic sales mechanism in place that helps grow sales and positions the company as a leader in their arena.

Mike Gingerich leads the Digital Marketing and Social Application divisions of web company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.