Strategy: Don’t Launch a Campaign Without It

You wouldn't drive somewhere without directions. You wouldn't build a house without blueprints.

And you shouldn't launch a campaign to increase web traffic without a strategy. 

Without strategy, you'll keep shooting aimless messages out into the world, from which you'll get plenty of impressions and few results. But with strategy, you can integrate your marketing efforts to not only attract more web traffic – but also secure more business. 

Just ask yourself these three questions:

1. What is my goal?

What do you want your customer to do once they are on your website? It depends on your specific product or service. For instance:

  • Retailer? Add to cart. 
  • Manufacturer? Find a retailer. 
  • Service? Call for a free estimate. 
  • Nonprofit? Donate or sign up to volunteer. 

Determine your website's call to action (called the conversion in web talk), and ask your customers to do it. Make it a giant button on every page of the website. Make it the goal, directly or indirectly, of every marketing message you create. 

2. Who is my customer?

Marketing isn't about forcing people to buy things they don't want. It's about finding the people who need you and introducing yourself, in their language, at exactly the right time and place:

  • A billboard for car air conditioning repair as they sit sweltering in rush hour traffic. 
  • A plumbing business on page one of their Google search for how to fix a toilet.

Also consider the length of the buy process – how long it takes to convert them. If you sell clothing, the process can be as little as a few minutes, from grabbing the customer's attention with an image of a cute dress to getting them to click Process Order. If you're a university trying to attract students, however, the process can stretch over months or even years as your customers weigh their options.

Throughout a longer buy process, find ways to stay in front of them. This might involve using softer calls to action to funnel them closer to your ultimate goal. For instance:

  • Inviting them to tour the campus will guide them closer to the primary conversion of completing their application.
  • Enticing them to subscribe to your blog for free advice lets you prove your knowledge and helpfulness while they decide whether or not to pay for more extensive services.

3. Who is my competition?

If you follow the tips listed above, chances are you'll already be a step ahead of your competitors. But you can go the extra mile by:

  • Targeting their customers. For instance, when buying ads on search engines, add your competitor's name to your keyword list, so your business appears on the results page every time someone searches for your competitor.
  • Differentiating yourself. Focus on benefits, not features – particularly the benefits you offer that your competitors don't.
  • Being more attractive. Study their ads before writing your own and find ways to make yours more compelling – like by offering discounts and free trials.

Pinpointing your goal, understanding your customers and knowing your competition are the building blocks of strategy, and strategy is the backbone of any campaign. Don't leave home without it.


Continue reading: *Designing* for Website Speed

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