It’s common practice to check out a company’s website before deciding to use their product or service. We all do it; either to learn specific information about the product/service, gain further insight into its use, or simply to feel more comfortable with the company before making a purchase or commitment. This is true for both B2C and B2B, online and in-store purchases, packaged goods and professional services.
Understandably, companies are doing their best to create websites that engage with targeted audiences. Savvy organizations are:
- Presenting what they do in a stylish and easy to navigate manner.
- Making their website easy to use on tablets and smartphones.
- Ensuring their website is accessible for people with disabilities (a legal requirement for some organizations).
- Incorporating meta information and strategically worded content to build a solid foundation for SEO.
- Engaging readers with relevant and interesting information.
- Positioning their brand with messaging and imagery for greater impact.
So, let’s assume you’ve done all the above and have a good looking, informative website that provides a good user-experience on any device. Good for you… however, you can do more. If you expect your website to play an active role in your marketing, it needs to go beyond passively presenting and further engage your audience.
Here are three areas where your website can play a more active role in increasing awareness, improving your message and brand, and facilitating growth. Note that PROSAR is a SharpSpring Partner, so naturally we recommend SharpSpring as a cost-efficient and comprehensive marketing automation solution, but there are many good automated marketing platforms such as HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, etc.; and software specifically for email such as MailChimp.
Going beyond an auto-reply email greeting when someone completes a form, your website can assist in nurturing relationships and prompting conversations when people have indicated an interest.
In their pre-purchase research, consumers may visit several websites looking for something specific or simply wanting to feel comfortable before they commit. Most consumers don’t announce that they are ready to buy, but they do provide signals. Wouldn’t it be ideal if your website could help identify those potential customers and reach out to them?
- When a known user returns to your website within 24 hours or visits specific pages, a personalized and customized email could automatically be sent them. Perhaps providing details on the products they were looking at, informing them of an incentive (price, warranty, added value, etc.), suggesting an appointment, call or chat to answer questions… there are many ways to engage and determine how you can help them.
- When someone downloads a resource from your website it can trigger a scheduled series of personalized and tailored emails with tips, related products/services, articles of interest, other relevant resources.
- On an e-commerce website, an abandoned shopping cart or product comparisons could trigger a series of emails designed to provide information and insight, or bundling cost advantages on the specific products.
Workflows are series of emails crafted in advance and triggered by prospects’ specific behaviours. The flowchart can be as simple or complicated as you wish, with every if-this-then-that sequence of decisions triggering different emails. The prospects’ actions control what emails are sent to help them with their purchase decision.
Notifications should be added to the workflow so that marketing and sales staff can be alerted when and how a prospect would like information or assistance. Notifications can even alert when a prospect is on the website browsing.
Automated emails are not an excuse to force your information on unwilling recipients; the objective is to provide information to those who are seeking it. Harassment is not good business, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) imposes strict and sensible regulations on how a company can engage with people via email, you can read more about CASL here.
On your website, as in your daily life, what you say and how you say it matters. When we speak, we typically cater our words to the audience we are addressing. Most websites are static in nature (ours included these days!). They are filled with relevant, but generic content. Many larger companies have people dedicated to their website and social media accounts, so content can be updated, making it more relevant and topical. However, it is typically focused on a single targeted audience, or worded to address as large a segment of the public as possible.
Personas are being used more and more by organizations to better understand and target specific audience segments. SharpSpring tools enable different versions of emails and website pages so that headlines, text and images can be customized for specific audience segments. When the website identifies a user, it will present the content that relates to that persona. One of the underlining benefits of marketing automation is the ability to target your ideal customer personas and treat them as individuals.
Dynamic content facilitates more appropriate and persuasive communication with targeted audience segments. It also improves SEO by tailoring versions of your content with specific search terms. Such strategically worded content impacts being found online, effectively presenting your message, and converting leads to customers.
Combining personas, dynamic content, workflows and email campaigns with tracking, lead scoring and a full CRM tool (Client Relationship Management) provides a platform to nurture and convert prospects. This complete package is how things come together to more effectively (and efficiently) manage prospects and customers. By tracking user behaviour and notifying marketing and sales staff, your website plays an important role in supporting your customers and identifying prospects.
Marketers can identify trends and create customized content and workflows (emails and landing pages) to address them. Salespeople are notified of potential interest and reminded of customers who have not been active, triggering workflows to engage and retain lapsed customers.
Your website can be more than a 24/7 online brochure. It can be actively participate in the marketing and sales process by attracting, engaging and converting leads, as well as maintaining existing customers. Unlike social media, your website is a stable hub that you control. It is an ideal resource to go beyond passive information presentation and effectively engage with your targeted audiences.