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The benefits of your website in digital marketing

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Why read this? : We explore the business benefits that drive your website in digital marketing. Learn its role in hitting key objectives like reach, engagement and sales. We also review the systems, skills and resources you need to run it. Read this to learn how to maximise what your website does for your business.

Brand websites first appeared in the 1990s. In the fast-paced digital marketing world, this makes them sound almost old-fashioned.

And yet, they’re still very important. A great website is vital to your digital marketing plan. 

That could be a simple blog or an advanced interactive platform full of technical bells and whistles. (See our website planning guide for more on building websites).

Screengrab of Three-brains home page - headline says "Ready to raise your game? Outthink, outplay and outgrow competitors with three-brains"

Whatever the content, design and functionality choices you make as you build your website, it also has to connect to the rest of your digital marketing. To your digital media and search, for example. And in fact to all your customer experience and e-Commerce activities.

It’s how customers find you online. It’s how they get to know your brand better by interacting with it. You use it to persuade them to buy, on your site or via an online retailer.

These multiple uses make it like the Swiss Army Knife of digital marketing. Your website plays a key role in all parts of the digital marketing business model.

The website in the digital marketing business model

Our digital business model guide outlines the 7 activities which “digital” covers. 

First, there’s reach, engage and sell. These cover the online interactions between you and the customer. 

Then, there’s technology, analysis and resources. These happen behind the scenes to make digital “happen” in your business.

And finally, there’s transformation. The change management which turns you into a more digitally capable business.

The Seven Steps of the RESTART digital business model - Reach, Engage, Sell, Technology, Analysis, Resource, Transform

We call it the RESTART model. Reach, Engage, Sell, Technology, Analysis, Resources and Transformation. Activities which help you restart your business in a digital world. Let’s now look at the role your website plays in each of these digital marketing activities.

Reach

Reach is about getting your message in front of customers. You reach them with your online communications to create awareness and interest. 

Your digital adverts and social campaigns should all link to your website. It’s the call to action destination for your online communications. It’s where customers come to “visit” you at “your place” online. 

These links can be overt e.g. visit our shop at three-brains.com, but often the context makes it clear anyway. The call to action should make it obvious the customer will go to your site if they click. 

When customers click a link, they’re mostly interested in what it’ll do for them. Find out more, make a booking, buy now or whatever. They don’t care much about where they do this, only that they get the benefit – informative content, a booking, a purchase and so on. 

Your reach plan helps you create the right link. While that could be to another site such as selling with Print on Demand, or through Amazon, ideally, you want customer interactions to happen on your website.

This gives you control over the customer experience. What they see, and what the interaction does.

Engagement

Engagement happens when you create relevant content and experiences for customers on your site. It’s a measure of their interaction with your content and should relate to something they need. 

For example, a blog article which explains how to do something. A video showing your product in action. FAQs to answer all their questions. 

Digital marketers often talk about engagement broadly, but it also has a more specific meaning. 

Woman wearing a grey sweatshirt and looking at her phone in a dark room

On websites, that’s usually the time spent on site and / or the number of interactions with the site. A specific measure that shows the customer engaged with the site. 

Watch out for start-up gurus and self-claimed e-Commerce experts who only talk about engagement broadly. Real digital experts know you need specific digital data to measure engagement. 

You can analyse those engagement measures to see how they correlate to sales. There’s never a perfect fit. However, well-built sites usually show a strong correlation between engagement and online sales. 

It makes sense, right? The more engaging your website, the more likely customers will buy from it. 

Selling

Not all brand websites can handle online selling. But there are plenty of benefits if you can set it up.

It gives you a stronger connection with customers. They’re no longer anonymous visitors, but customers who trust you enough to share their personal details. 

There are also clear commercial benefits. You own the whole e-Commerce profit and loss. So you decide the selling price, and all the charges and fees. If you want to price discount, you control that. 

Woman holding credit card near a macbook and typing in her details

And finally, you’ve got total control over the whole customer experience. So, you can go faster and try more things out. For example, faster innovation. Faster product page updates. No more fumbling your way through third-party product information management systems.

It’s your site. It’s up to you how fast you go, and what you prioritise.  

You can test your e-Commerce website with different copy, designs and navigation. Get direct customer feedback by analysing how they respond to changes. And if something doesn’t work, you drop it and move on to the next test. (See our e-Commerce learnings article for more on this approach). 

Technology

The systems and data for this testing and analysis are part of your marketing technology plan. In fact, your website is also a piece of marketing technology.

Your Content Management System (CMS), for example, defines how you publish, organise and store all your content (text, images, video etc.). Behind it sit databases, plug-ins and other pieces of software which make it work better for customers. 

That could be simple like making it easy to contact customer service.

overhead shot of many laptops and other pieces of technology on a table

Or more complex like a subscription model where customers manage their own orders. (See our martech challenges article for more on using complex technology).

But your website also connects to technology outside your business. That makes it even more complex. For example, your website and social media platforms usually link together. Customers find you on social media, but they only really learn about you when they visit your website.

The website technology connects everything, so there’s a consistent experience for the customer. 

Analysis

Technology also helps you collect data from those customers and what they do on your website.

For example, you analyse the data from Google Analytics. You use the insights to improve the site and the overall customer experience.

Analytics tells you how many people visit, which pages they visit, and what they do on each page. 

You can also use tagging to create different website experiences for new versus returning customers. 

Mobile phone showing Google, with the word "analytics" in the search bar

With a CRM program or e-Commerce store, you get more specific customer data you can use to create more personalised interactions.

You have to analyse the data and make decisions. For example, if some content works particularly well, how do you make it more prominent? And if something isn’t working, how do you quickly get rid of it? This type of analysis and decision-making helps improve your website’s impact. 

Resources

Of course, all this activity to create, manage and run your website has a cost. You need resourcesmoney, time and people – to make it all happen. 

For example, it costs money to buy the URL and pay the hosting fees. You need to pay for the digital media which drives visits. 

You need to create content to go on the site. Blog articles, photography, and video, for example. You do this yourself (which costs you time). Or you get someone to do it for you (so you pay agency fees). 

Close up of woman's hands holding a bunch of dollar bills and in the process of counting them

Someone has to handle the site maintenance. It needs regular testing. Software updates. Fixing bugs and glitches. You have to refresh content to keep your SEO ranking. All these have a cost.

You need a digital marketing business plan to work out these costs and how much sales you need your website to create. (e.g. by attracting new customers, or persuading existing customers to buy more). 

This isn’t easy to work out, especially if your website doesn’t sell directly. But you need this “money in” assumption to work out how much to spend on your website (in money, time and people). Your website should have a positive ROI, even if only an estimated one. 

Transformation

Lastly in the digital business model comes digital transformation. This is the name given to the changes businesses make to adapt to customers using new technology.

Customers expect businesses to fit into this new world where technology makes things easier.

They expect your website will do things for them. Inform them about your products. Give access to your services. They expect a seamless online interaction with you. 

Woman standing in a poorly lit street at night. She is blowing into her hands which holds a light and some sort of illuminated confetti

This is why websites are a more critical part of your digital marketing than say your social media. It’s where you have the most opportunity to shape the customer interaction.  

Think of your website as your online brand ‘home’. It’s where you open up the doors to your brand online and say to customers, “Welcome. Come in and enjoy”. 

Your website and customer experience

Now the role of the website in your digital marketing plan is clear, let’s think about it from the customer’s point of view. You have to understand why they visit your site, and what they want to do when they’re there. 

It helps to know what they already do online. For example, when you build your customer experience segment profile, you research what your customers do online.

Which types of websites do they visit? What do they search for? Do they over-index on certain types of online behaviours? (For example, see our digital services and online opportunities articles).

Use these insights to shape what your website says, looks like and does. That could be a simple site with only one job – to explain your brand. Or it could be a complex site with multiple jobs. Visiting customers might have different needs, so your website should be flexible enough to meet all those needs. 

Use a customer journey map

Use a customer journey map to identify all the jobs your website has to do.

It helps you identify specific customer needs at each stage of the journey. 

Create the content, design and functionality to meet those needs. It’s that simple. 

Organise the site with navigation and hierarchy to make it easy for customers to find what they need. (Using techniques like progressive disclosure as per our article on design psychology). 

Customer Experience Journey Map

Your site needs clear category headers and links, for example. Add a search function. Make sure articles are tagged with keywords to make them easier to find. Make it easy to contact customer service

Anything which makes the visit easier makes the customer happier. Happier customers mean more sales. 

Put the customer in control of their visit

Customers want to feel like they’re in control when they visit your website.

They can go where they want, follow relevant links and interact with the site in a way which helps them meet their needs.

This interaction is important. It’s what sets websites apart from traditional marketing channels like TV advertising and in-store sales promotions.

Customers expect to be able to click on your website and make things happen. 

Person holding a mobile phone with an e-Commerce page on screen and a credit card in the other hand

It should feel like a 2-way experience. Active interaction rather than the passive acceptance of traditional marketing. They press buttons or input data. Things happen which meet their needs. Content to read. Videos or photos to look at. Resources to download. And of course, products or services to buy. 

Your website and brand identity

Your website is how customers experience your brand online. It’s a key part of your brand identity.

Not just your logo and colour palette, but your values, your tone of voice and your personality.

You should think of your website as a place to bring your brand assets – tangible and intangible – to life.

For example, what about your origin story? Most websites have an About Us section which introduces who they are, and how they came to be. 

Screenshot of the Three-brains website FAQ page which says questions and answers to help you raise your game

What about educational or entertaining content which meets the customer’s needs? How-to guides and interactive content which showcase your brand

It could even be as simple as your website making your brand easily available, so the customer doesn’t even have to speak to you. They can do it all online.

Baking this identity into your website and in your digital marketing helps customers understand who you are, and what you can do for them. 

Your website and brand activation

Your website also connects to your broader marketing plan and brand activation including non-digital activities. 

Despite what many digital evangelists tell you, not everything happens online. Most businesses still have a mix of online and offline activities. If your marketing does things in the “real” world, think about how your website supports those. 

For example, share your TV and print advertising on your website. Not many people search on adverts. But when they do, you want them to find the adverts on your website. 

A subscription model box branded with three-brains on a doorstep

Your website can act as a hub for your public relations activities. Many businesses post news announcements and make it easy for journalists to contact them via their websites. 

If you run sales promotions and price discounts highlight these on your website. In fact, if you need to include legal notices, such as when you run a competition, customers expect to find those on your website. 

Conclusion - The benefits of your website in digital marketing

With the amount of noise that social media generates, websites can sometimes be the forgotten child of your digital marketing plan. 

But because you control the whole experience, you can flex the content, design and functionality to best meet customer needs.

It’s your online home where you have the closest interactions with your customers. Your website helps you reach them by customers as it’s where your digital media points to.

Screengrab of Three-brains home page - headline says "Ready to raise your game? Outthink, outplay and outgrow competitors with three-brains"

Use it to engage customers by creating entertaining, educational and interactive experiences. And if you have your own online store, use it to sell to customers.

To do these things you need systems, skills and resources. (See more on this in our e-Commerce capabilities article). This includes setting up marketing technology; data and analytics and investing the right level of resources money, time and people. 

All these elements help you create a website which delivers a great customer experience. Doing that brings your brand identity to life and connects to the rest of your brand activation. 

Check out our website planning guide for more on this. Or get in touch if you need help working out the role of your website in your digital marketing plans. 

Photo Credits

Digital Marketing : Photo by Diggity Marketing on Unsplash

Woman looking at phone in dark room : Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash 

Woman holding credit card near Macbook : Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

Laptops : Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Digital data – Google Analytics : Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Counting cash : Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Alchemy : Woman blowing sprinkles : Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

Online shopping with phone and credit card : Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Doorstep delivery : Photo by MealPro on Unsplash

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6 thoughts on “The benefits of your website in digital marketing”

  1. Hello, I read your article, it is very informative, it helped me to improve myself, I started to follow your website. I wish you good work

  2. Digital marketing is a transformative approach to promoting products, services, and brands in the online space. In today’s technology-driven world, businesses leverage various digital channels to reach their target audience more effectively and engage with them in a personalized manner.

  3. I’ll mark your webpage. We explore the business benefits that drive your website in digital marketing. Find out how it contributes to achieving important goals like reach, engagement, and revenue. We also go over the tools, knowledge, and resources required to operate it. To maximize the benefits your website may provide for your company, read this. Nonetheless, they continue to be crucial. A strong website is essential to your strategy for digital marketing. I wonder if we can gather such practical information about it, a great post definitely to come across. You must also check out Cindtoro.com it has some great insights too.

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