Posted 25th March 2013 | By Nick Evans, Chairman

If you are planning your website and associated campaigning with email and social media, then answering these questions will help you to understand what you need from your online media and to specify a strategy for the future.

Question: Do your website and other online media match your brand? How will you make sure that you present a consistent face to all your visitors on social media, email marketing, website and blog?

Consider: your business values and how you express them, your brand identity and how it will present in a number of contexts.

Question: Do you understand your audience? Do your materials, online and offline, speak to different vertical groups in your customer base – for example, consumers and resellers?

Consider: your clients and prospects: do they fall into defined groups and, if so, what are their needs. For example, a consumer has a much different view of your product from someone who is going to resell it.

Question: What are your key differentiators that set you apart from your competition? Do you exploit that in order to set yourself apart – to stand out from the crowd?

Consider: a market, a product, a technique, a service – how are you different from your closest competitor? How will you take advantage of that? Are you understanding all the niches where your products may fit – see the previous question? Do your website and offline material speak to people in that niche?

Question: Does your website provide easy access to all relevant information for any specific client group? If not, can you change the way that the navigation works to accommodate their needs and make it easy to get to the information they need? In other words, does it service your customers and prospects?

Consider: how many clicks to any given piece of information; how tricky to complete the buying cycle online; think about feedback from users – ask them how well your site works.

Question: Does the Home page of your website hit visitors in the eye with a punchy message that will encourage them to keep exploring further into your site? What is that message and how will you best present it?

Consider: banners that hit home the key messages; video on home page; tiles that direct different visitor groups to relevant areas of the site.

Question: Does the Home page of your website also tell visitors immediately about your key values that are in your brand principles: quality, reliability, consistency, service, for example?

Consider: mission statement such as the one we used as a demo for Stormking: Unrivalled quality and reliability. Design-led and BBA accredited. Rapid installation and regional support. All these are messages that speak to particular audiences about what you stand for.

Question: Does your website function wherever your visitors might be – for example, if there are field operatives who need access to data, information resources or video, will those present equally well on a laptop, tablet and phone? Is your website responsive to those devices and does it need to be?

Consider: do your visitors need to see your site on the move? Check out your website statistics and look for information about the devices people are mostly viewing your site on – you may well be surprised by the volume of mobile devices.

Question: Do you have video resources that could be delivered through your website – particularly a good, punchy video to add to your home page?

Consider: what will work well to put over in 1 minute a good message about your company and/or its products?

Question: Does your e-commerce system match your clients' needs? Is it off-the-shelf, or tailored to your marketplace?

Consider: do you actually need to sell, or are you just quoting because of the market into which you sell? What special facilities do you need that, currently, you have to engineer after the sale because your current e-commerce does not accommodate it?

Question: Are there opportunities for visitors to subscribe to newsletters, view abstracts of social media posts and see your latest blog post on your home page? Are you giving them good reasons to subscribe and to keep following what you write?

Consider: new content keeps your website fresh – where will it come from and what will it be about? Blogs allow you tell a longer story and provide great food for email marketing and social media. Do you only currently tweet and post about your products – what about your industry, the context into which you sell, the effect of legislation, the impact of your new product on a tired marketplace?

These questions were first published at the Staffordshire Marketing Academy seminar, held on March 22, 2013.

If you want to know more, why not contact us and discuss ways to improve your online profile?

Nick from ExtraMile Communications Ltd in Eccleshall, Staffordshire.

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