By Samuel Scott
In the first part in this series, I introduced how I have been using holistic, integrated marketing to build and market a personal, hobby website of mine at night entitled Buffy the Vampire Slayer Online that aims to sell advertising and merchandise. (Yes, it is a website of the 1990s cult-television show because I have been a fan ever since I first saw it in college.)
The first part (which I recommend reading before continuing here) explained the strategy behind building an optimized, online destination before even thinking about getting relevant traffic there. Here, I will go into the next parts: calls to action and holistic marketing.
Still, I must repeat: Whether you are building a website about a television show, marketing a site for a high-tech start-up, or anything else, the principles remain the same. The ideas are what matter. Here, I will continue this series for The Cline Group showing a personal example of what we can do professionally since I test the latest theories on my own site and then apply “what works” to our clients.
What Do You Want Your Visitors to Do?
After I had built a quality “destination” of a website, I asked myself: “What do I want people to do when they arrive?” This is when you need to align your marketing goals with your business ones. In this context, my business goal is to sell as much “Buffy” merchandise as possible. The primary marketing goal, then, is to “push” the traffic to my online store.
So, the next step before getting the traffic was to create a simple pop-up that, when clicked, takes the person to the store – but one that appears only once every three days to the same visitor and is easily dismissed so my visitors are not annoyed. I also created a “catchy” call to action with a link in the text at the top and bottom of each page and blog post.
Many websites I have seen do nothing of the sort. Too many webmasters do not comprehend that visitors need to be “told” to do something when they arrive at a website – otherwise, they will become confused. Some people go to a website looking for something specific; others may want to poke around. Regardless, if you present visitors with a menu of, say, thirty pages and a home page with a large, boring block of text, then they will be unsure of what to do and where to go. Unless you tell visitors what to do, they will likely click away since people have short attention spans today.
Depending on your business and marketing goals, you may want to use some or all of the following possibilities (among others):
- Pop-up windows. These should be used sparingly. Based on my analysis of my bounce rate and similar metrics, I have seen that my visitors are not “turned off” by my pop-up. But they are emotionally-invested fans of a cult television show. Your traffic will probably be less likely to tolerate pop-ups (unless they know for sure that they will want to see the content beyond the pop-up).
- Attention-grabbing banners. The top of your website – the “above the fold” section that people see without needing to scroll down – can have banners that encourage people to click to be taken to a sales page, a request-for-information form, or anything else.
- A contact form. This is a common option. B2B or B2C companies that sell products or services directly can use such a form to obtain qualified leads – after all, people who take the time to fill out a form are usually genuinely interested in what you have to offer. However, it is important to give them a reason to fill out the form since people do not want to be “spammed” in the future. Telling them, for example, that they will get a “free consultation,” an informational white paper, or a discount by filling out the form can work well.
Adding Social Media
When you market a website – whether it is a personal one about a teenage vampire slayer or one for a leading biotech company – you need to decide which tactics to include in your marketing strategy. As you probably know, you can use SEO, PPC, online banner advertising, social media, traditional public relations, and affiliate marketing – among countless other methods. But not all of them always work for a given company, sector, or industry, so you need expert guidance when making this decision.
After building an optimized website and creating “calls to action,” I knew that social-media marketing and PPC would be the next steps to get immediate results for my “Buffy” website. (SEO has become very effective, but as usual with the tactic, it took months to work. If you need immediate results, PPC is usually the best way to go.) After all, people love talking about things on social media such as movies, TV, bands, entertainment, restaurants, and bars because those subjects are personal outlets of the people themselves.
However, I knew that the social-media tactic for my own website would succeed quickly only with PPC advertising on Facebook combined with content marketing and public relations. Many marketing strategies need to be holistic now, so sometimes you will need several of these tactics to succeed. Social media and content marketing affect SEO and inbound traffic, social media needs content marketing, and social media is one form of public relations. I wrote the prior sentence in a confusing way for a reason – everything is connected. If one tactic is missing, then your entire marketing strategy could fall to digital pieces.
So, back to the main point: I used such a holistic strategy to gain roughly 2,000 “likes” for my website’s Facebook page (and even more since I did the initial “push”):
The next part in this series will detail what exactly I did, but here is a teaser:
- After Facebook’s IPO, using Facebook’s PPC advertising is now the best way to gain “likes” rather than the more-traditional methods
- Creating original, quality content that is published sparingly but in a way that will spread both on Facebook and via your website and targeted mediums
- Using public relations to identify and communicate with targeted influencers on Twitter (and elsewhere) and get links from them
- Having your Facebook page fulfill the same goals as your main website
- Adding social sharing and related items on your website
Whether you, like me, are building a website from digital scratch or are looking to promote an existing one, the need for integrated marketing is increasingly obvious in the Digital Age. And this is true whether you, like Buffy, live in Sunnydale, California – or in New York, Tel Aviv, or elsewhere.