Why is a website critical for small to medium-sized enterprise marketing?
Two words. Perception and relationships. Here is what I mean by them.
We humans make decisions based on perception. According to research, our subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of the decisions we make. This means how your website makes your target audience “feel” is important. You may have an awesome product and amazing people in your team who deliver stellar results. But if your website doesn’t make your target audience feel confident, relevant, assured, and comfortable, you have a slim chance to convert them to a customer. Your target audience does Google search, visits your website, and judges whether you’d be a good fit for them or not way before you have a chance to speak with them. Making sure to have a website that represents your business is in your best interest. This blog about the role of branding in marketing explains this in more detail. I encourage you to have a read: 4 Steps to Strengthen Your Brand
You start building relationships with your target audience long before there is an in-person contact or a transaction. Your website is often the first impression. With your website, you have an opportunity to create an unforgettable first impression and start building lasting relationships with your target audience. Your website is the best digital/virtual space where you can effectively communicate who you are as a business (not only what you do but why you do what you do - i.e. your purpose), who you serve, and what pain points of your target customer’s you help solve. It is the best avenue for you to build an audience and turning them into customers and eventually (and hopefully) fans. It won't happen over night but will happen gradually but surely when you devote resources to your website management. Think for a moment your own purchase behaviour. Who do you tend to buy from? I'm pretty sure it is the company who seems to know in depth about what they do and has been helpful while you were evaluating your options.
3 tips for SMEs to build a solid website
1. Utilize an easy-to-use website management tool
Whether you are a 10-person company or a 200-person company, an easy-to-use tool for your website management is invaluable. Being able to manage your website (i.e. adding new webpages, revising dated content, changing designs and layouts, etc.) without a web developer's assistant is critical if you were to be agile. Think about this scenario. You just updated your product features and want to update the product page. Another scenario: You plan to host a webinar in 6 weeks and need to create a landing page where your target audience can sign up. In both scenarios, if you were using a user-friendly platform like Wordpress or Wix, anyone in your team will be able to update your website with minimal training. This agility empowers you to turn your website into a business enabler. When you use a platform that only skilled web developer can make changes to, your website can become a rather bottleneck. A web developer and a web designer definitely play an important role, for example, when you want to refresh your entire website. However, for day-to-day operations, you want to minimize your dependence on a specific talent.
2. Allocate your resources on content marketing
Your website becomes your biggest digital asset when it hosts useful content. Content marketing means that you create and publish the content that your target audience is looking for. Consumer behaviour continues to evolve and now more than ever before, people expect a great digital experience. That starts with the very early stage of their buying journey, the education stage. People want to educate themselves rather than being sold to. Content marketing is a way to become the source of education for your target audience.
One example of content marketing is blogging. Writing a blog regularly can be a great way to share your expertise and knowledge with your target audience. Each blog should be optimized for search engines to make it visible and easily accessible to your target audience (see the next section for details). One tip for content marketing: regularity is a key to create momentum with your content marketing and to set an expectation with your target audience. A content calendar helps you establish the regular schedule and stay on it.
3. Search engine optimize your website and each webpage
No matter how beautifully your website is designed and how useful your content is to your target audience, if your website is not search engine optimized, it has a limited opportunity to be found. SEO (search engine optimization) is not where you want to take a penny-pinching approach with your marketing budget. Not taking SEO seriously is a rookie mistake you want to avoid. To get it done efficiently (highest return for a limited budget), consider hiring an SEO specialist. Depending on your objectives and the size of your budget, you may decide to hire a full-time SEO specialist or outsource this function to an agency. When it comes to renovation, you may be able to do it yourself but choose to hire a team of professionals to get it done right the first time. It often turns out to be more cost and time efficient with better results. Same thing for SEO.
Website’s role in SME marketing
Marketing, when done right, is what enables exponential growth of your business. For marketing to efficiently get this important job done, we want to clarify what to prioritize and allocate resources accordingly. Designed for SME CEOs, the 6PM (6-Pilar Marketing) Framework visualizes your marketing priorities while avoiding loopholes in your marketing plan. Here is a 5-minute summary video that gives you an overview of the Framework.
Website management belongs to the Rooms of the “Marketing House” (ie marketing strategy). Although a website has a role in all four rooms, it plays the biggest role for the “Attract” pillar.
To read more about what marketing activities are included in each of the four rooms of the marketing strategy, check out this blog: 4 Key Aspects of SME Marketing Strategy.