Website or strategy: which should come first and why?
It’s amazing how often we talk to clients and businesses who have recently undergone a rebrand, built a new website and now want to discuss their marketing. This ‘build it and they will come’ approach leads many companies to the unfortunate realisation their new website isn’t what they need it to be at all!
Who is your customer? Where do you find them? What are they looking for? These are questions that you need the answers to before you embark on creating a website and planning any marketing activity. It’s no use doing these things before you learn about your audience or nail your sales process – you’re simply shooting in the dark.
So, where should you start? Here, Engine Room Managing Director Ian Hargreaves answers some common questions and discusses the importance of a wider strategy and understanding your demographic.
‘Why is a strategy so important?’
It’s in the name. The very definition of strategy is a ‘plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’ and that’s exactly what you should have. Just like your business, your marketing activity needs a clear action plan, purpose and goals in order to achieve success.
Your strategy tells you everything you need to know; who your audience is, where to find them, what platforms to use and how to talk to them. And of course, you can’t treat them all the same, they will all have different requirements and different reasons to buy from you. So what is important to them and why should they choose you? All of this comes out of your strategy.
‘Sounds complicated, I wouldn’t know where to start.’
When you have a business to run it’s difficult to find the time to step back and look at a wider strategy – even more so when it’s not your area of expertise! Talking to someone who specialises in creating marketing strategy allows you to focus on what you’re good at, whilst creating a robust strategy. This covers everything from your company’s positioning in the marketplace and where you sit in relation to key competitors to the needs of your target customer and their reasons for purchasing.
‘Surely you need a website as soon as possible, can’t I build a website and adapt it once I have a strategy?’
You could but it might end up costing you more than it’s worth. Just like building a house and then realising you need to move the bathroom, or discovering the layout isn’t conducive to the way you live, ultimately it’s only going take a lot longer and cost you a lot more to fix it.
A wider strategy informs a web brief which then tells you exactly what your website needs to be; how the user journey should work, what you need to display, what information to include and importantly the keywords to include too. Without all of this you still have a website, sure, but it’s not going to do the job you need it to do.
‘I’m already sending some emails and using Facebook, I think I know what I’m doing so I don’t need a strategy!’
Starting activity without a strategy is all well and good but how do you measure success? How do you know if what you’re doing is working as well as it should, or if it’s a waste of time?
Understanding your target demographic is key to creating an activity schedule that is targeted and more importantly – effective! Once you have your strategy you will know where you should be focussing your attention in order to reach your audience; where to reach them, how often you should email them, which sectors you should be targeting, your tone of voice and what they want from you.
Simply put, you know what you need to say to them and where to say it to them!
Think you should be looking at getting a marketing strategy for your business? Get in touch today.
Alternatively, why not get your FREE online marketing review here, and we’ll give you some feedback on what you’re doing right and some quick wins you can implement yourself too!