A close friend of mine recently came to me for advice on redesigning his company’s site. He works for an enterprise software company whose website pales in comparison to the capabilities of his tool (which is awesome), and it’s his job to come up with a boss website worthy of the company and its software.
So I sat down with him last week:
The designers have put together a first draft of the site’s marketing pages. Would you take a look at them and tell me what you think?
But here’s the thing — though the “marketing pages” were actually very good, the way he was conceiving of his new site was dead wrong.
And he’s not alone. Most marketers are still stuck in a mindset of building a small set of landing pages (be it 1 or 100), then buying traffic to those pages through ad networks, optimizing them, and probably running the bulk of their customer acquisition strategy through a half-dozen to a dozen pages. You know, the ones that won the A/B tests, right?
Wrong. While these marketers may well have found local maxima, and while they might have even found a profitable way to bring in new business (lifetime value of a customer > cost per acquisition is a risky bet that can lose you money for a good long while but that’s another story), they are missing the broader point:
Businesses shouldn’t build websites with the sole goal of creating a discrete set of polished, sleek-looking trophy pages.
Brands Need Dynamism
Trophy pages are like those cheap blocks of amber with a bug trapped in it: it looks pretty cool, but how much can it be worth if everything in it is dead?
Instead, businesses need to plan for the future — marketers need to conceive of their website as a platform that will deliver new messaging to new market segments as they emerge. They need to build a site that can capitalize on current events and participate (and even become the focus of) conversations in their industry.
That means businesses need to stop relegating their blogs to the footer navigation (dat SEO value tho) and start taking themselves seriously as publishers, contributing to the meaningful conversations taking place in their industry.
That means designing a blog that is beautiful, interesting, AND capable of selling.
That means publishing insightful content every day and broadcasting it to your audience.
That means growing your authority in your space online and showing up every day with something to say on your company’s social networks.
That means giving your team something new to share each day, something that is worthy of sharing.
What Happens When You Do all of That?
You reach real, relevant prospects through the social graph of the company, its executives, and its employees.
You grow your social audience and reach more people when what you’re bringing to them each day is new, relevant, and something worth talking about.
You build a new web page every day that will rank in organic search for new and different higher-funnel keywords, which creates opportunities for re-marketing.
You can imbue those “trophy pages” with fresh content that keep them relevant, and more than just the pretty faces of your company that don’t have anything to say.
You build new kinds of interaction with your audience and position yourself as an authority in your space, which leads to opportunities to comment in publications of record, speaking opportunities, and invitations to publish elsewhere (those links tho).
You generate tons of earned links that grow the authority of your domain, which means your homepage will rank higher for your business’ most valuable keywords.
In short, you win. And I have the results to prove it. In one year of work for a client, we:
- Increased Overall Traffic by 258%
- Increased Organic Search Traffic by 220%
- Increased the Number of Earned Links by a whopping 3000%
- Increased the Number of Indexed Pages by 315%
- If those numbers seem gaudy, that’s because they are. And it’s because we do the hard work of publishing each and every day.
And did I say a year? In reality, we’ve only been working with them for nine months. Okay, I’m really bragging now.
It’s time to start doing the hard work of participating in your niche. It’s time to stop treating your website like a trap that you wait for Google to drop customers in.
It’s time to compete for traffic every day.
Longneck and Thunderfoot offer digital strategy services, including website branding, style guides, persona development, and audience segmentation. We’re a partner in making content work for your business. Learn more about digital strategy here.
(Main image credit: James St. John/flickr)