In case you weren’t paying attention to your digital strategy, you probably are now. The Coronavirus has upended virtually everything, including how businesses, large and small, function. While some industries are seeing growth because of the pandemic, others are struggling to survive. And if your business wasn’t focusing on digital, it should be now. The virus has changed how businesses function, both logistically and virtually. Overall, every aspect of digital is seeing change, from ecommerce, marketing and online chatbots to streaming services and social media outlets. While website traffic is down for many industries, like travel, it’s up for others.
Regardless of the industry, the pandemic has altered how businesses are marketing and selling. With limited in-person events and a vast majority of professionals working from home, it’s more imperative now than ever before to have a digital strategy for your business that focuses on marketing, sales and customer service. And the heart of your digital strategy is your website. Why? Because your website is literally part of your marketing team, sales team, customer service team and HR team. Bottom line: It’s vital to make sure your website is not just good, but great. The following outlines four factors companies need to plan for as part of a successful website digital strategy:
The actual performance of your website is tied to a number of areas. Most importantly is the speed of your website. Visitors have no patience for slow loading pages. Simply put, the longer your website takes to load, the more likely visitors likely to leave. Sites that don’t load quickly not only risk losing visitors, but actual dollars. Consider the following stats from Neil Patel:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
According to Website Builder Expert, “You can think of site speed as a sliding scale, where the faster sites reap the most benefits, and every second makes a difference. For example, pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%. Even a one-second difference in loading time can have a huge impact on performance.”
Think of it this way: If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost the company $2.5 million in lost sales every year. When Yahoo! reduced its page load time by just 0.4 seconds, traffic increased by 9%.
So, how fast should your site load? Maile Ohye, from Google, states that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” That’s pretty fast. While many can’t get to the 2-second threshold, it’s certainly a goal companies should strive for when they develop a new website. To test your website, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights.
At the very least, your website needs to be designed for responsive viewing, meaning it’s built for a host of different devices and screens, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. It also needs to work perfectly with the main web browsers, including Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Next your site needs to be professionally designed in order to provide visitors an instant understanding that you’re a professional company who values design in order to communicate your value. While design can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution, people know instinctually what a professional website looks like versus one designed to look amateurish.
The design of your website should be an extension of your brand. So, if your brand isn’t designed to communicate the right message to the right audiences you’ll need to start there. Why, because your brand determines everything, including your logo, colors, typography, imagery, tone, iconography, vision, mission and target audiences. Having a clear brand with guidelines is essential. From here, it’s recommended you turn to a professional web design company. It may be the same company that designed your brand. Regardless, companies that invest in design are more successful in providing a better customer experience that translates into more leads, sales and outcomes.
According to Adobe, companies with a strong design outperform companies with a weak design by 219% on the S&P Index (a stock market index) over the span of 10 years.
In fact, 48% of people surveyed by Tyton Media said that the website design of a business was their number one factor in determining the credibility of that business.
Design is really important, so make sure you focus on it and hire the right people to make your website come to life in order to create an awesome customer experience.
Everything on your website is essentially content. From the words to the graphics to video, content is what communicates your company’s value, mission and vision to your audience. And the fact is, far too many companies simply don’t invest in creating great content. When we think about a website, we’re mostly thinking about the written word. For it is the written word that will help determine the sites’s entire structure, design and layout. From the main menu to page length and ongoing blog posts, content is really king. Content is needed to run a number of marketing initiatives, including ads, videos, webinars and email campaigns.
Content is also at the heart of search engine optimization (SEO) and the fuel for posting on social media. Chew on these stats if you’re still not convinced how important content is:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric)
- The most common measurement of success for content marketing programs is Total Sales. (HubSpot, 2020) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. (HubSpot, 2020) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- 94% of marketers use social media for content distribution. (SEMrush, 2019)
Content is vital and should be at the top of your list when your company thinks website design.
Conversion Optimization Rate (CRO)
When we think of conversions, we mean converting website visitors into leads. So, for example, let’s say a visitor gets to your website and isn’t ready to buy your product or invest in your service. But, they are interested. Offering this person something of value, like a downloadable guide, free audit, complimentary software trail, etc. is an easy way to convert a visitor into a lead and gather useful information on this person. Leveraging your website effectively to increase conversions is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Marketers tend to spend a lot of time, money, and energy on driving traffic to their websites, but here’s the thing: that’s the easy part. The real challenge is converting as much of that traffic as possible through effective conversion rate optimization.
Companies should also be focusing on how to increase conversions. Here are a few areas to focus on first:
- The first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. (Portent, 2019) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- Companies spend just $1 on conversion rate optimization for every $92 spent on customer acquisition (Source: Econsultancy)
- Top-converting companies spend at least 5% of their budget on CRO (Source: Adobe)
- Reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4 generates 120% more conversions (Source: Unbounce)
- ‘Click Here’ converts better than ‘Submit (Source: Unbounce)
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year. Businesses need to invest in digital, and if you’re not already doing so, start with your website. As discussed, your website is the hub all digital activity. Ignore your website, and your chances of driving more business online are slim. Instead, make your website part of your greater digital marketing strategy. Learn how to drive more traffic to your website and convert this traffic into viable leads to help your company growth during and after these challenging times.