Marketers are almost trained to look for the hot new thing. No one wants to be the last person to adopt a new app or have to explain to their boss that they don’t know what “x” trend is. If it is new, we need to know about it.
Tim Asimos made this point and cautioned against it when speaking to AMA Baltimore in July. Asimos, Partner and Director of Digital + Growth at circle S studio, said that “marketers are always chasing the newest shiny thing, but when it comes to the tools at their disposal, web is the most valuable.” In other words, it isn’t a bad idea to become a master of a new platform/trend/technology/whatever, but marketers shouldn’t lose sight of the most important part of their strategy — their website.
Attendees of July’s AMA in the PM, “Websites, UX, & SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Maximum Impact,” gained new insights about websites from Asimos and refreshed a few established web skills. Here are our three takeaways from his presentation:
Your website isn’t all about you.
When someone visits a website, their objective is “to find what they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible,” said Asimos. Helping your visitors achieve their goal needs to be a marketer’s main motivation when they are creating a website. Being clever with a design isn’t always helpful to someone searching your site. Providing the information a person needs quickly and easily will always win a company points in their eyes of their visitor. Asimos suggested prioritizing function over form and fully optimizing the mobile experience by going beyond responsive design.
However, having an easy to use website does not mean it needs to be plain or boring. It is important to create a compelling homepage. Asimos points out that it takes a person .05 seconds to form an opinion of your website, and your front page is the virtual front door to your business. That page needs to tell a story and tease the rest of your website. The smartest thing a marketer can do is “plan for the scan and the scroll,” Asimos explained. “You need to establish a visual hierarchy. If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.”
Content, content, content.
How well do you understand your buyers? We all know what we want to tell them, but do you know what your visitors want to see or read? Understanding what our users want to see is vital to providing relevant content. The key word there is “relevant.” It isn’t about what we want to say; it’s about what buyers need to see. If we are creating content that helps our buyer, we can establish trust and build credibility. This is a pretty basic principle in content creation, but it is something that marketers need to remember and utilize in order to have an effective website.
Content is also essential to ranking higher on search engines. SEO is all about content. Asimos points out that the average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words. If marketers need to create content that has that many words, they can’t waste their time on ranking for something that isn’t relevant for users.
Measure results and get a budget.
All of your marketing work is almost useless if you aren’t tracking your results. Analyze your Google Analytics, embrace heatmapping, and track that data. Understanding how your website is being used and which pages are visited the most will help you cultivate an effective site that generates results. It isn’t easy, but gathering data will impact your work positively in the long run.
In addition to measuring results, marketers need to create a website budget. Managing a website is an evolution. As you discover your data, you should continue to expand and grow your site to keep users interested. Marketers need to protect their site with the proper hosting, security, and backups necessary to keep their pages active and healthy. “You can’t take your eye off your website,” said Asimos. Having an ongoing fund will alleviate some of the pressure that necessary upkeep can create.
Developing and maintaining a successful website is crucial for any company. Asimos equated “website care” to losing weight. We all know that the keys to weight loss are to eat right, exercise, and sleep.The concept is very simple, but it’s easier said than done. Optimizing your website for maximum impact is made up of simple steps, and with the right planning and effort, marketers can expect results.
We want to thank Tim Asimos for this excellent presentation. To stay up-to-date on upcoming events, visit our events page.