The catcher, really?

How do you look at your website?

I’ve championed the website at my company for 9+ years now.  During this time, our strategy has changed, our leadership has come and gone, our parent company has reorganized, and our division has merged with other areas of the business in a game of business musical chairs.

Through it all, our website has been a stabilizing force.  Oh, its strategy and functionality has changed too, mapping to business priorities.  But it is always the public face of our division, the receptionist if you will.  

In marketing, we spend countless hours analyzing campaigns that drive lead flow–paid search campaigns, paid social programs, email promotions, nurture streams, events and trade shows.  The website is often viewed as the “catcher” of these programs, the central place where our campaigns can culminate.  This view dramatically reduces the value of our biggest marketing asset.

The website is not a catcher but an integral part all our marketing programs, providing functionality to extend and expand our investment in other campaigns.  It is a dominant force that should be the backbone of any marketing strategy.

Our website provides a stabilizing presence, illuminates the company’s brand, and enables the functionality to move inquiries to sales. It gives our business authority.  It allows it to be found by prospects and customers alike.  It proclaims our messages, showcases our products, presents our point of views and thought leadership, introduces our employees and gives us the space to do business.

The website is our always on campaign.

24/7, somewhere in the world, someone can come across our website in a search. They peruse our content without us, clicking links and moving through content sometimes in ways we never imaged. 

Here’s where we can first entice a prospect.  We can influence a customer, show an industry analyst our latest information, even scare our competitors.

The door is wide open.

We can use new technologies to present content in context and with high degrees of relevancy.  We can chat across great distances or set up meetings that are convenient in multiple time ones.  

If you ever want to be amazed, sit back sometime and watch people use your website. It’s amazing what you can learn!

On our website, whether we like it or not, the visitor is in control.  They research what they find interesting or what meets their needs.  They go at their own pace. They pause when they want and come back only if we provided enough value or potential value on that first visit.

It is our role to use our website to talk in the voice of our market so prospects and customers find us first when they search. We need to understand their challenges and anticipate their questions, presenting our company in creative and innovative ways.  

We need to use the full strength of our always on website as the greatest marketing campaign we have.

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