2018 has been a turbulent year for social media as a whole, with all the scrutiny on fake news, false advertising metrics, online vigilantism and the likes. Undoubtedly, it feels like the entire social media climate is still pretty much the wild, wild west of the digital realm.
Top social media platforms - most notably Facebook - have been updating their algorithms regularly to reduce the reach of your organic posts and sharing with your fans and followers.
So now, if you want to reach out to your audience, be prepared to pay for it.
How does it feel to be “betrayed” after spending considerable time, effort and resources into building a following on Facebook only to be undone by a few lines of code? It stings big time, doesn’t it?
No point crying over spilled milk. The real question is: so what are you going to do about it?
In the first of a 5-part series over the next few weeks, let’s explore what is the most important component that you need to have in order to ace the digital marketing game, and the factors that contribute to its effectiveness.
Digital marketing: are you missing the plot?
When it comes to digital marketing, most people conveniently think about how to run better ads, how to upload better-looking photos and put up more engaging posts, all in a desperate bid to win over the shortening attention of an ever increasingly discerning buying audience.
And many business owners pour thousands of dollars into pushing out and promoting content on their social media pages, playing right into Facebook’s hand and coffers.
But very few actually pay any attention to fortifying their own websites, building out features and content that would make visitors to the website want to stay longer and learn more about what the business offers, eventually buying and becoming a customer.
Which is unfortunate and ironic, since your website is the only digital real estate that you'll ever truly, fully own and control online.
Sharpen the one asset that you control: your own website
Whether it’s search engine optimisation, social media marketing, paid advertising and so on, the common reality remains that to perform well in those channels, you are essentially playing in someone else’s playground and by someone else’s rules, not yours.
So the long haul objective of any marketing strategy really should be to bring the traffic, engagement and attention of the target audience that you’ve amassed through those channels onto your very own platform, one where you fully control the brand narrative and dictate the direction of the conversation.
And it all starts on your own website, the very foundation of your online presence.
This means, before you start any marketing or advertising campaigns this year, the very first thing that you need to do is make sure that you have an extremely effective website that can turn traffic and interests into income-generating leads and customers.
If you still do not have a website by now, you should start building one immediately right after reading finish the rest of this article. There is nothing of greater importance.
A website really only has one true purpose for its existence: to generate conversions. Everything else is just in support (or conflict) of that overarching objective.
So an effective website judged by this criterion is simply one that generates the optimal amount of conversions to fulfil your business goals.
Depending on the nature of your business and its revenue model, a conversion can be any of the following:
A sale made through a checkout process
An purchase enquiry made
A subscription to the mailing list
Why is having an effective website so important?
This is stating the obvious, but the more conversions that you website can generate, the more sales you can derive out of it.
Because let’s face it, nobody is going to give you that conversion, if there is no interest to buy anything that you are offering or eventually selling. A conversion from your own website is the most direct and authentic form of commercial intent.
While having a ton of likes and followers on your social media accounts gives you a huge boost of dopamine and makes you feel good, most of these likes and followers will almost never ever turn into real cash for you.
Heck, some people just like the idea of liking and following, with zero intention of being further involved in your brand or business.
An effective website that has a high tendency to convert is presumably providing a good user experience to its visitors, delivering good solutions and information in the form of engaging content on its webpages.
Turns out these are the exact qualities that Google - the most prevalent search engine in the world - looks for in a website when considering to rank it in search results.
It is also one of the most important factors that influences the PPC (cost-per-click) for your advertisements in Google Adwords. A website that converts better gets better mileage on Google Adwords and a lower PPC versus advertisers competing for the same keywords.
In short, making sure that your website is effective at conversions keeps your marketing and advertising costs low while improving the upside of your revenue top line.
Now, tell me that’s something you don’t want.
How to know if your current website is an effective one?
There is no magic score that can straight-up tells you if your website is an effective one. Performance expectations and results differ from business to business, target market to target market, and also highly dependent on your specific desires and ambitions.
But suffice to say, If none of the above conversions is currently happening for you, there’s much work to be done to optimise your website and realise its full potential.
If you are having some degree of conversions but want to know if you have been doing it rightly, or if there are ways to improve further, read on.
Nevertheless, regardless of your current conversion rate, bear in mind that having a high-converting website has to be your overriding consideration when reviewing all your marketing efforts to ensure that no unnecessary dollar is being diluted and diverted to other vanity metrics that brings lesser ROI (return on investment).
Otherwise, no matter how much effort, time and money that you pour into your marketing and advertising activities won’t deliver you the revenue performance that you desire.
If you are running a physical store, you may be tempted to consider visits to your physical shop - and a subsequent purchase in it - as a conversion. The only way to know for sure if these conversions are influenced as a direct result of your website, is to measure it.
There are specific ways that you can leverage on ecommerce behaviour and workflow to measure this. If you wish to find out more, upvote in our poll by clicking the link below, and we’ll put out an article on it!