By: Adam Dince, VP of Owned & Earned Media, CvE
Digital marketing is a complex, multi-faceted field, with brands exploring an increasingly wide variety of channels to reach their target audience. One integral aspect often unjustly sidelined in this dynamic space is the company’s own website. While organizations invest copious resources in paid media, social media, and various other channels to drive traffic, the primary destination for these streams—the company website—sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In fact, I’ve observed this pattern with businesses across all verticals and sizes.
However, what these organizations often miss is that a well-optimized website must not merely act as an endpoint for their marketing efforts, but rather, it should serve as the nucleus around which all other marketing activities revolve.
That said, a website can be one of the most difficult assets to maintain—especially for organizations that do not have a meaningful governance plan and/or those with multiple lines of business/stakeholders.
The Imperative Role of an Optimized Website
A brand’s website is essentially its digital visage. It is the central repository of all its content, the platform offering your services and products, and most importantly, it’s the space where you can hone in on optimizing a best-in-class customer experience that drives performance results.
Below are a few examples of website performance levers that can be optimized.
Optimize for Page Speed: As the digital epicenter of your brand, your website often provides potential customers with their first interaction with your business. A fast-loading, user-friendly, and visually pleasing website can instantly enhance your brand image and establish credibility in the eyes of your audience.
Optimize for Google & Bing: A website that is well-optimized for organic search, garners favor with search engine algorithms, potentially leading to higher rankings. This improvement in organic search visibility may result in an increase in website traffic and perhaps conversion while augmenting your brand’s visibility among potential customers/clients.
Optimize for AI Chatbots: With greater usage of AI chatbots (e.g., ChatGPT and Google Bard), it’s important for brands to return in relevant chatbot responses. Think of someone asking ChatGPT to answer the prompt, “What footwear brands make running shoes?” If you were Nike, you’d want to be included in the answer. Optimizing your content and related website experience to showcase your expertise in relevant topics is a major element of influencing AI chatbots.
Optimize Conversion Pathways: An optimized website is not just an information center but also a potent lead generation and conversion tool. With strategic placement of calls-to-action, customer testimonials, case studies, and intuitive navigation, you can guide visitors through the sales funnel, ushering them from initial awareness to final decision-making. Optimizing the customer journey is key to improving conversion.
Activate on the Data Your Website Collects. Websites allow the collection and analysis of user behavior data, providing businesses with valuable insights into their audience’s preferences and interactions. This, in turn, facilitates the formulation of data-driven strategies and fine-tuning of marketing efforts (including website personalization).
“We need to drive more revenue quickly! How much more should we be spending in media dollars to drive incremental performance?”
This is a question I often hear when brands are missing revenue targets. However, often, when I look at their overall media and website performance, traffic looks great—it’s the visit-to-lead and/or visit-to-sale conversion rates that look terrible. And of course, often, as media campaigns expand, the quality of traffic declines which means conversion rates can suffer; essentially, diminishing returns. So, throwing dollars at media that sends traffic to un-optimized website experiences will only get you so far. Yes, paid media campaigns are engineered to drive traffic and conversion, however, media success hinges on what transpires after the click. That said, an optimized website can supercharge your paid media initiatives in the following ways:
Enhanced Conversion Rates:
When users click on an advertisement, they expect a seamless and relevant experience that dovetails with the promises made in the ad copy. An optimized landing page and user-flow can deliver this expectation, leading to improved conversion rates.
Reduced Immediate Exits (Bounce rate in some analytics tools):
Websites that offer quick loading times, clear and intuitive navigation, and engaging, relevant content can keep visitors on your website. Better post-click engagement can contribute to an improved Quality Score in Google Ads, which can diminish cost-per-click and augment the ranking of your ads. Additionally, a website that provides a meaningful digital customer experience improves your ability to nurture more accurately through remarketing.
Refined Remarketing Efforts:
By utilizing cookies or other identifiers, you can track the behavior of visitors who land on your website via your paid ads. This data can empower you to devise targeted remarketing campaigns, allowing you to re-engage users who didn’t convert during their initial visit.
Ultimately, all the benefits of website optimization coalesce into a more fruitful return on investment for your paid media campaigns. The better optimized your website, the higher the value you will extract from each click on your advertisements.
I know this is basic stuff, but it gets missed all-too-often.
The Anchor Role of Optimized Website for Other Marketing Channels
An optimized website doesn’t just augment paid media strategies—it plays a critical role in bolstering the performance of all your marketing channels:
Your website can serve as an effective platform for capturing email leads. The wealth of content housed on your site can pay off your email marketing efforts. Like paid media, the landing page and/or user journey your email marketing traffic experiences post click, can make, or break the success of your campaigns. I recall working with a client who was running full-lifecycle automation who was disappointed with performance. A simple audit uncovered the reason for the poor performance— poor landing page quality. Even basic elements like calls-to-action weren’t present on the pages.
Social Media Marketing:
The content on your website can be leveraged for sharing on social media channels, driving traffic back to your site and offering depth to your social conversations. Simultaneously, linking your social media profiles from your website encourages visitors to engage with your brand on various platforms, fostering a sense of community. And of course, your social media traffic becomes great candidates to remarket to, nurturing visitors into conversions. That said, it’s important for your website content and experience to continue to honor the good work your social media marketing is doing.
Your website is the host for your blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, and all other forms of content marketing. High-quality, relevant content can boost your SEO efforts, engage visitors, position your brand as a thought leader in your field, build trust and loyalty among your audience, and convert those who engage with your content into customers. Additionally, your blog/support content can be great material for your sales teams to leverage. A few years ago, I worked with a higher education institution that invested significant resources into building out a world-class content engine. Their well-optimized website and content experience allowed them to rank at the top of Google organic search results for terms that were essential for driving new student enrollment. In fact, 80% of their nearly one million visits a month came from high-quality organic search visits. Additionally, the institution’s optimized website experience led to higher visit-to-lead conversion rates as well as improved downstream conversion. Finally, the seamless website experience allowed the college’s call center to quickly find helpful content on the site, which led to significant increases in close rates.
While so much more could be written on the topic of website optimization, the net-net is that your website is your most important digital asset and the role of your website as a central hub should never be underestimated. By focusing on website optimization, you’ll elevate the user experience and amplify the outcomes of your overall marketing strategy. Every ad click, every social media post, and every email marketing campaign funnels users back to your website. Make sure it is primed to impress, engage, and convert. After all, in the world of digital marketing, your website isn’t just part of the game—it’s the home ground.
Email me at: email@example.com
I’d love to work with you and your team and take you on a journey to improve your website optimization that ultimately drives sustainable revenue and business growth.