You can't just take and make a website without a marketing strategy

In 2005, there was enough logo, company name and phone number for the site. Maybe even a low-resolution photo of the office with a brief description of the services. Now the website is an important element of the brand's marketing strategy. Visitors come here to contact you, learn something, and finally buy. Can your website do all this?

Today, if someone searches for your business on the internet and doesn't find it, you don't exist - regardless of whether it's about b2b or b2c. We agree, it does not pull at revelation, but the matter is not limited only to this. It's just that the site will also suit few people.

Consumers are used to great service. If a person came to the site for the first time and decided to buy something, he will compare you not with direct competitors, but, for example, with Ozon. If we talk about loyal customers, their loyalty still needs to be earned. During the pandemic, people proved that they are ready to support their favorite brands, but it's always a long game: content marketing, social networks, media publications - and your website is at the center of everything anyway.

Whether you are thinking about redesigning or developing from scratch, the site should be thoughtful and convenient, as well as give visitors something more than just a product catalog.

Why is this impossible without a marketing strategy

A few years ago, when someone was talking about digital marketing, everyone was thinking about SEO. Then social networks appeared, and they started talking about SEO and SMM. But that's only part of the equation. Firstly, there are enough variables in the digital environment: take the same content and email marketing. Secondly, the boundaries between online and offline marketing are gradually being erased.

And then, you can't order a website and hope for the best. You need to understand what you want to achieve with it. For example, you have accumulated a lot of cases that it would be nice to show to potential customers, but the current functionality is not enough to design them beautifully. Having prepared a strategy and a plan, you will know exactly which tools to use — and what results to expect.

Regardless of whether you are creating a website from scratch or planning a large-scale redesign, there are several steps that you should take before starting work.

What to do before

To make the right decisions, you first need to understand where you are. If there is an old site, it is necessary to analyze it, if not, to conduct a competitive analysis. Ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of a new website or redesign?
  • Why didn't you reach it with this site (if there is one) — what prevented it?
  • How can a new design fix this?

The answers to these questions will help identify existing gaps that will affect the setting of goals for the new site in the future. Even at this stage, it will be useful to do the following.

Scan the old site. Again, if there is one, — and document the structure. This way you will have an idea of which pages existed before, what worked poorly and what can be done better.

Get data from the old site. You won't just want to compare how the new site works compared to the previous one. You will probably continue to identify gaps: the data will become the basis for the development of a digital strategy.

Define the goals of the new design. When you understand the problems of the old site, you will come to some conclusions. For example, that you need to pay attention to ease of use, visual updating or more effective SEO.

Develop a sustainable brand. A point that deserves a separate conversation. But in short: positioning, key message, brand tone, corporate identity — all this should look plausible and be remembered by people.

Think about a technical SEO strategy. For example, to conduct a keyword research — this will help you understand which of them you can get a rating for, and develop a content strategy. You will also learn how to improve existing pages, which ones to create additionally, and which ones to get rid of.

Analyze conversion paths. You have a rough idea of what pages will be on the site. What actions should users perform on each of them? Think about what premium offers are needed to start the funnel, what forms to use, how to track conversions.

Choose an analytics platform. To monitor the work of a new website and make informed decisions based on data, you need an analytics platform. The basic minimum is Google Analytics plus Yandex.Metrica.

When you go through these steps, you will know what you want from the new site. With such introductions, you can safely go to the studio or agency — working with prepared customers turns out to be the most productive. However, your role does not end there.

What to do in the process

You have drawn up a technical specification and agreed on a prototype, but this does not mean that it is now up to the designers and developers. In order for everything to work out, you need to continue working with them in close conjunction. So, one of the biggest problems so far is content. Take care of the section about the company and the description of the goods, while fonts are being selected for you. Write the texts for the cases while they are working on the admin panel.

For a new online store, you will probably need photos and videos of goods in good quality. And you also need to think about retargeting, working with an abandoned basket, personalized mailings and various trigger chains — it's time to choose an email marketing service. There are a lot of things that support the operation of the site. Not everything rests on a beautiful picture and a user-friendly interface.

So think about what you can do (or delegate to whom) while the site is being prepared.

What to do before launching
So, the site is ready. But before you start it, you need to make sure that everything is in place, works correctly and looks beautiful. All this will be checked by the development team, but you should also participate.
✔ Make sure that the text is accurate and does not contain errors. That is, all the content has been checked for grammar and spelling, the contact details are correct, the "fish" has been replaced with normal texts.

✔️ Replace the stubs with photos and videos. Sometimes the designer uses stub images if he does not have actual photos and videos at the time of creating the page. And sometimes these artifacts remain on the site even after launch.

✔️ Check the copyright and style settings. The text has been edited and meets the uniformity of the brand's voice and style, and all the company's slogans and statements are relevant. At the same time, paragraphs, headings, lists and other formatting are implemented correctly.

✔️ Consider copyrights. You are responsible for the licenses for images, fonts and other content. Once again, make sure that they are all right.

✔️ Test the site for usability. Pages should look equally good in different browsers on any devices, photos and videos should be in the right places and open, internal links should work.

✔️ Check the technical implementation of SEO. Unique titles and meta descriptions on the pages. Pages designed for organic ranking are optimized by keyword or set of words.

What to do after the launch

You clicked the button, the domain points to a new site, everything works — and even integration with third-party services. What's next? It's time to tell the world about it, but first a couple more moments.

✔️ Make a backup. Now that everything is ready, you will want to have the site in its original form in case of data damage or loss. It is better to set up backups so that copies are created regularly.

✔️ Set up analytics. Create and configure Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica accounts to collect up-to-date data.

And finally, the announcement of a new website: use social networks and email newsletters to tell users about it. Don't forget to focus on the new features and how they will benefit the audience. Digital marketers advise to promote the launch within a month: it is easy to miss a single post in the feed, and not everyone will immediately have time to study your site.

Another option is to tease the site before launching and thereby create an expectation.

Creating a new website should not be a random decision. Your advertising campaigns and social media accounts lead to the site. Email newsletters, media publications, and even TV ads are also associated with it. Thus, the site becomes the center around which all marketing takes place, which means that it is impossible to do it without taking into account the marketing strategy today.

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