m Menu

Six steps to a more powerful web site

Just one look at the contemporary marketing realm would take the swagger right out of Don Draper's stride. Cybermarketing has turned traditional "Mad Men" model topsy turvy.

Today's marketers maintain sophisticated websites and make smart use of social media and blogs to boost awareness of their brand and forge relationships with potential and existing customers.

Businesses of all sizes know they must have a website in order to have a position on the playing field. Unfortunately, too many are developing web sites without addressing the basics of marketing. As a result, the sites can look great, but they're like crystal palaces with no foundation. Maybe we'd better revisit the strategic foundation-building practices of Don Draper and crew.

Why Marketing Communications Planning is Important to You

How often do you drive cross-country without a map? Sure, it can be fun to explore a bit. But it gets scary when you run out of gas in an unpopulated area of New Mexico. (I know.) Executing shoot-from-the-hip marketing tactics is a lot like traveling without a map.

Having a solid marketing foundation eliminates wasted efforts, maximizes the dollars and resources expended on marketing, and provides a consistency that strengthens your brand. Most important, building this foundation more than pays for itself in results.

Maximize the Performance of your Website by Answering These Questions About Your Business

These are only a few critical basics of marketing communications planning. They don't constitute a complete marketing plan but will help ensure that your website—and other marketing efforts—are strategic, well thought-out and far more effective.

  1. What are your overall marketing objectives? These may be sales goals, desired market share or even desired brand perception.
  2. Who are your customers? Describe them. What are their needs and desires? What keeps them awake at night? What excites them? What motivates them? What are their unmet needs? After all, it's about the customer. The better you respond to their hearts and heads, the more successful you will be.
  3. What is your unique position in the market? This is the exclusive space your brand owns in the marketplace. It’s relevant and compelling to your customers, and different from your competitors. It's especially critical for your website to reflect your positioning. Why? Because cyberspace doesn't provide direct, face-to-face interaction. And thousands of your competitors are just a click away. Visitors to your site need to grasp quickly what you—and you alone—have to offer them.
  4. How are you going to achieve your objective? Examples of strategies include:
    • Build awareness of your business and products or services
    • Establish yourself as an expert in your field—the go-to resource
    • Become your industry's leader in innovation
    • "Own" a highly specialized market niche.
    Your website will provide a host of methods for executing your strategies. For example: Compelling and valuable website content, such as white papers, industry data and how-to videos, builds awareness and helps establish your expertise. Relevant inbound links boost awareness and credibility.
  5. What tools and methods will you use? Our focus in this article is websites. But tactics include everything from websites, social media and email blasts to events, speaking engagements and traditional media. If you don't have graphics standards for your brand, this should also be on your list. You will be wise to have "mini plans" for complex tactics such as websites. But they should always be consistent with your overall strategies.
  6. How will you measure your results? Measurement, evaluation and ongoing improvements are crucial whether you're developing a website—or executing a marketing plan.

Yes, it takes some effort to address these steps. But competition has never been stiffer. And consumers have never had so much access to information and product options. The fact is: marketing is every bit as essential to your business as your products or services. 

With the new realm of cyberspace offering limitless possibilities for engaging customers, it's an exciting time to be a marketer. But Don Draper can buck up. Those Mad Men still have a few tricks to teach us.

Image credits: Rod Waddington