I recently was involved in a LinkedIn discussion about the value of a website and how much budget should be allocated to a redesign. I asked what the objective of the website was and to which I got the reply ‘no objectives, it’s just a shop window to our business’. My answer was ‘then spend £0’.
A website for any building product manufacturer should never be considered as a shop window. This is the old 1990’s way of thinking about websites, the web has moved on since then and so should you if you still use this phrase.
Websites fall into your owned media mix and should be considered as a resource in which you keep growing and attracting a more specific audience to your website. Maybe your website is 90% geared towards architects and 10% contractors or vice versa.
Here’s a simple visual to illustrate how a website fits within your owned, paid and earned media mix:
In order to keep architects, specifiers, designers and contractors using your website (loyalty) you need to be thinking about how you can turn it into a resource as opposed to a brochure site or a shop window.
By looking at your Google Analytics you should be able to see what percentage of your total visitors visited your website once and never returned – your job as an online marketer is to reduce this number. So how do you do it?
1. Create a library of documents
Attract the right audience by creating the right content. Make it easy for them to access your information and ensure it’s of value. CAD drawings, BIM files, images and technical datasheets all fall into this area.
If you decide to put it all behind a registration wall or have it free to access then make sure you are measuring your activity using Google Analytics so that you can see how successful it is. Below you can see that Registrations has been set up as a goal in Google Analytics. We can now see which sources of traffic (organic search, social media, email, print advertising etc) is converting our visitors into registrations.
2. Create some sort of interactive tool
Technical folk are always having to calculate things – especially when it comes to your product you should be making it easy for your audience to specify, choose or buy your product easier than your competitors. What about designers? Could you create a spatial planning tool? Design tool?
Again, measure using Google Analytics how many times this tool has been used and try and grow its usage. What you will want to measure is ‘how many people completed all the steps in order to finish using the tool and produce the end result’.
3. Create a blog containing technical content
Start writing content and publishing it on your blog and allow for your audience to either comment or share your stuff with others. Remember – a blog is not a place for press releases or stuff about you and how many trees you’ve planted this year. A blog is a place for opinions, ideas and discussions relevant to your area/products or sector.
Here’s a post you may be interested in: 5 reasons why construction companies should be blogging.
And of course you can measure how many people sign up to receive your blog content on a monthly basis too using Google Analytics.
4. Create a weekly technical Q&A on your video channel
I’ve not seen much of this around but I think it’s got mileage. Using social media you could crowd source questions or search forums to find common questions about your products or application and produce a weekly or monthly Q&A video featuring 2 or 3 of your technical team.
Again, you could measure how many times your video has been viewed on your website or on YouTube depending on where you decide to publish.
5. Conduct monthly webinars on specific topics and invite your audience to join
This is a great way to generate leads and also providing value to existing audience/customers. Have prospects sign up to join your webinar and give existing customers a direct link to join your webinar without making them sign up (remember, make things easy).
You could do a webinar on specification, design, standards, environmental issues or even run through a 15 minute case study.
Be a resource, not a shop window
So there you have it. Your website doesn’t need to be a brochure website or a shop window. Start being useful. Start turning your website into a resource and keep those visitors coming back.
Below example shows you how these particular architectural practices now use your website more than they did the previous year:
Are there any website which you would consider a great resource? One that you always go back to should you need some information or need to perform a specific task? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Image credit: http://pauldunay.com/