Earlier this year, our owner and founder, Nikki Bisel, sat down with the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce to chat about what brands must do in order to build a website that is beautiful, functional and effective.
Read the seminar transcript below, or scroll to the bottom of this article to watch a video of the discussion.
How to Build a Successful Website – by Nikki Bisel
1) How can you drive traffic to your website?
The five core components we always talk about at our company are SEO, advertising, social media, email marketing and your website. So what we talk about a lot here is the first phase of the sales funnel: How do you drive traffic to your website? Well, that’s email marketing, SEO, social media and advertising. A lot of those things can also be combined: social media and advertising; if you’re talking about search, you can advertise on search.
2) How does website UI drive customer engagement?
When we get to that fifth component of what digital marketing is – your website – what most people tend to think of is a pretty website — something that’s nice to look at. Most people know some of the core components you should have on your website: your logo, which is usually in the top left corner, and your menu, which, nowadays, is usually at the top. You want to make it easy for people to know what to do and where to go once they hit your website. If you start hiding things on your website that people should be able to find, they’re not going to be able to find them. You’ve only got a couple seconds to grab people’s attention and to put them down that user path, or that user funnel, that you want them to go down.
3) How do you make a good first online impression?
If you’re running a social ad campaign and you drive someone to your website, how do you capture that person’s attention? And not just capture it, but in those couple of seconds, intrigue them to the point of taking action, probably action that’s going to cost them money. That’s a really big thing to have to do in a couple of seconds. So how do you do that?
Well, you start at the very beginning. Sit down and put together what we call a persona of a customer. Who is that person? If you had to boil things down to five bullet points of who your average customer is, do that, and give them a name, and give them a job – make a person out of it; make a cartoon character that you can use to think about that person when they’re running through your ad campaigns, when they’re finding your website and when they’re hitting your website. Once they get to your site, knowing who that person is is going to be really beneficial in trying to figure out how they think, because that’s really how a website is organized: how people think.
4) Does your website have a value proposition?
A few things that we always think about on a website are, on the homepage, first having the value proposition for your company. A kind of summary of what that would be is what your company does, who it does it for and why you’re different than all of your competitors.
Seafoam’s value proposition is that we build digital marketing solutions for companies that want to lead. It tells you what we do, who we do it for and why we’re different than other agencies. You’ll generally find that as kind of a headline: top, center, above the fold on the homepage of the site. What you’ll usually find right under that is a call to action.
So just like when you see an infomercial on TV, and they say, “Call today!” that would be the call to action on that infomercial. When you go to a website that says, “Click for a free consultation” or “Buy today” – whatever that big bright button says, that’s your call to action, and that also needs to be above the fold.
5) What is the purpose of your website?
Once someone hits that site, and they see your value proposition and your call to action, the next thing we want to think about is: What’s the real purpose of this page? And we’re going to ask that for every page, and I’ll go through a couple different examples of this, but on the homepage, besides laying out who your company is, what they do and giving someone a call to action – which, again, is that path that you want them to follow – the other purpose of that page is to answer your core customer’s three main objectives. For some companies, that may be objections that they have.
Typically, in digital marketing – again to use something I know well – those objections are price, if it’s digital marketing, people associate it with IT, and another one is probably the complexity of it: marketing is really complex, and there’s a lot going on with it. If I can answer people’s three main objections about those things, I have a much better chance of taking them to the next level with our companies.
For other companies, it may just be three questions about who you are or what you do. What does your service mean? Whatever those are, it’s important that you start to give those answers on the homepage, or at least provide some little clips of that information for people to be able to drill down into a little bit more detail.
Is Your Website Working in Your Brand’s Best Interest?
Now that you have some insight on how to build a beautiful, functional, effective website, how does your brand’s homepage measure up to the criteria discussed in this article? If you’re not sure, that’s okay! This is exactly why agencies like Seafoam exist.
We are a full-service marketing consulting firm that expands on the traditional best practices of marketing while delving into the deep end of SEO, web development, content creation and social media — all of which mesh to form a cohesive marketing strategy that helps our clients get discovered online and build everlasting relationships with their customers. In short, we help brands become leaders in their various industries.
If you are interested in seeing what Seafoam can do for your brand’s marketing outreach – including giving your website the care it deserves – reach out to our team today! We’re excited to hear from you.