Search Engine Optimization Management - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing

URL: Why Does It Matter for Your Business?

Lots of smart business leaders know that a website URL can have a big impact on customer response.

It's important to have a domain that is easy to spell, that sticks in the viewer's mind, and something that's easy to navigate to. But beyond that, there are other questions about domain name purchases that can get a bit more tricky.

The Traditional Generic Approach
Throughout the early days of the Internet, many companies chose to buy up Internet real estate that matched generic search terms. They wanted top-level domains that were roughly the same as their keywords. A soap company might purchase soap.com. A pencil company might purchase pencils.com. You get the idea.

This idea made sense for a while -- and some people still argue for it. But there are two strikes against the traditional system of picking generic URLs. One is that in these domains are getting harder to come by, because we're not in the early days of the Internet anymore. The second point has to do with specific market research that shows some companies can get further using a branding approach than they can with generic top-level domains.

Taking a Brand Path
A lot of SEO people and marketers would agree that the brand path is more difficult, at first.
Having a branded URL can require a bit more work. At first, the domain is more obscure.
However, what happens is that the branded domain forces the company to build muscle. The company has to supplement its core website with social media campaigns, e-mail marketing and more, all of which ties back toward the brand name. Slowly, over time, this builds more power into the site and people start looking for that brand name everywhere, including on the web.

The Case for Transparency
In a way, branded domain names allow companies to more clearly see who's looking for them, and why. Instead of getting floods of visitors who are just looking for a generic product, they are getting people who made a deliberate choice to see their site and view their products and look at their approach to their industry. All of this is valuable when the company is really making a commitment to building a better web footprint.

At WebSubstance, we understand that the slow branding approach can provide a much better foundation for a company. We work with our clients to develop a long term digital strategy and help them find the best way forward in web design and development -- and that includes the domain choices that they make, as well as the site structure, and the core elements as well. We take a comprehensive approach to helping our clients to succeed on the Internet, and bring state-of-the-art marketing practices to their brands, in order to drive better conversion and visibility over time.

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The Value of SoLoMo for Web Marketing

Maybe you haven't heard of the “SoLoMo” model, but it's all the rage these days when it comes to digital marketing practices.

SoLoMo isn't brand-new -- in fact, it's been around for few years. But it's still a good guideline for upgrading your marketing techniques and building modern webpages that lead your business toward success.

Linguistic experts call SoLoMo a “portmanteau” -- which is a fancy name for a collection of words abbreviated into their individual syllables. In the case of SoLoMo, the term combines the three words: social, local, and mobile.

Social Marketing

To many people, the value of social marketing is as evident as the nose on your face. We tend to think of Facebook first, just because it's such a primary social platform. It's not just because everybody uses it, either. Facebook started accommodating business with items like the Facebook Open Graph, and specific builds for business profiles. Now it's considered kind of negligent for small business to not have a Facebook page. The Facebook enterprise profile is also a great way to reach out to customers and offer coupons or discount deals. Many businesses tie the Facebook page into the website, for instance, posting blog posts on Facebook.

However, Facebook isn't the only social media platform that's very useful in digital marketing -- companies are flocking to LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and many other platforms to get their message across to target audiences.

Local Marketing

This one can be pretty straightforward, too, but there is often a digital element that companies hire professionals to work with. Geo-targeting and related practices can be tricky with digital media. Professionals may tag parts of the website, use specific keywords, or otherwise target content or digital media toward a local audience. Then there’s also organic local marketing. With organic SEO and social, you're simply writing about things that are going on in the community, relevant for the local audience, which can also have a powerful impact. When you have localized content on a web site, that can really drive interest and a bigger readership.

Mobile Marketing

It's important not to leave out the concept of mobile marketing. We've always stressed mobile-first design and responsive design for websites, because we know that so many customers end up viewing business webpages on a smartphone.

True mobile-first design can require extensive graphic design and web design work. That's why WebSubstance employs the right people to renovate a website to get that mobile-friendly aspect applied.

Ask WebSubstance about getting professional results that will help your business soar to new heights with a combined Social, Local and Mobile strategy. We’ll take care of all of the details, and consult on how to re-brand with a fully functional and appealing web footprint, to boost profits and visibility, as well as your business reputation. Don’t wait to utilize the power of the Internet to achieve more with your business.

So next time your hear SoLoMo, think of WebSubstance.

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Local Business Marketing - How to Measure the Success

In the old days of marketing, the craft of reaching out to customers was largely intuitive. Marketers and salespeople had to design the best creative campaigns that they could, and then just see how well they worked. From there, you have the drama of AMC’s hit classic TV show “Mad Men” and everything else that goes along with this kind of blind marketing.

It's a lot different today -- with so many new technologies and digital advances, marketers now have the ability to work from known metrics and outcomes, to design more effective marketing campaigns and sales funnels. Digital marketing performance is accurately measurable and that makes it even more exciting.

Many of these performance metrics are called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. How do local businesses use these to achieve success in their communities?

Business leaders will look at things like sales and direct revenues, but they’ll also get a glance at specific types of lead generation, and find out more about how web campaigns work, using specific bits of data gleaned through digital systems.

For example, a company can use a web form to get submission details from a prospective customer. That allows them to see more about that customer, before a deal is ever made. It enhances the sales funnel, and makes the salesforce more informed and gives them a better edge toward conversion.

Looking At Online Engagement and Participation

The engagement side has a lot to do with what companies offer online. Marketers can log in and assess metrics like the click through rate (CTR), which is how many people clicked into the site, and the bounce rate, which represents how many people quickly dropped out of the site, instead of doing deeper reading.

These items are important for Google rankings, but they're also valuable business intelligence -- without them, how do you know if people are really interested in what's on your website?

Even e-mail marketing has its own metrics. Using things like phase marketing and A/B testing, e-mail campaign managers can see how these messages are reaching customers. They can tweak things like the rate of message delivery, time of day, and even the phrasing or structure of e-mails to make them more effective.

Platforms like Google Analytics can be effective here. Google Analytics can help to provide detail on practical metrics including page views and session lengths for users. By digging into this data, companies can get a much better idea of how well they're reaching their audiences.

Technical Marketing: A Life-Saver in the Digital Age

Too many companies don't invest in these types of “scientific” marketing, but in the end, they need to do so to grow their customer base and better understand their current customers. They may have a website, but no clear call to action, so that people just read, and can never take any kind of step forward. They might have valuable industry information and great landing pages online, but no lead generation forms, so that they never collect the business information about the site visitors that they can use to follow through.

When you pay attention to such KPIs and add these things to a website, you get exponentially marketing improvements -- without a whole lot of cost. WebSubstance can help companies to take their online game up a few notches, by engaging in precise, metrics-based marketing, instead of just trusting in the power of creativity. Talk to us about how to add both science and art to a web footprint, to get the best of both worlds, and really drive customer interest.

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Renovate Your Customer Journey - Enhance Your Customer Experience

Professional Web designers understand that one web site is not just like another -- but businesses often leave too much to chance when building their sites, and they don't understand that some design changes can make a big difference in final results.

Yes, you have a website. Yes, people can navigate there with a mouse (or even on mobile). But what do they experience when they get there? And does it move them to action, or make them feel comfortable with your business, or does it just lead to boredom or frustration?

This is what it means to look at your customer's experience or journey online. By paying attention to certain principles, businesses can really improve their customer traffic by focusing more on online outreach.

Read What Customers Read

One of the cardinal rules of effective marketing is to always look at things from the customer’s viewpoint. For example, at physical stores, walk the store the way the customer would. Start from the parking lot, where the customer starts, then come in and evaluate what you see as you enter.

The same holds true online. Business leaders should be surfing their web sites and clicking into the landing page just like a customer would, and reading the text as if they've never seen before. This is the only way to really learn what it's like for customers to browse a site.

Find “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves”

Another key point is to figure out what customers need, and then provide it to them. Is it a set of hours or information about products? And are these at an accessible point on the site? What are the most vital things that people need, and are they able to reach them without lots of clicks?

Create a Customer Journey Map

Another component of changing your customer's journey involves planning. When you have navigated the site and figured out what customers need, make a detailed plan to get these things front and center on your business web site. This is part of the process that type A managers will like. By planning out your site work in specific ways, you get yourself closer to the eventual results that will make your customers feel better about your company.

Make It Easy

This one is almost impossible to overemphasize. Look at everything and make sure that it is easy for customers to get where they need to go. Don't settle for “it's on the website”. Make it so that everybody knows that it's on the website, and they can get it easily from their computers or smart phones.

Socialize and Share

It's also important to keep things interesting for customers. Social media is a prime example. Facebook and Twitter campaigns can pay off immensely when they are set up right. You don't want to intrude on people's lives, but giving out coupons and other kinds of natural marketing is going to increase your visibility as part of your community, no matter what you're selling.

Get to Know Your Customers

A lot of this core site work isn't going to be precisely targeted unless you know who your customers are. This is another part of getting inside your customer's shoes. They may not be like you -- they may be from different backgrounds or have different tastes. That's why you need to do careful market research and then put yourself in that person’s position, looking at your business through their eyes.

When it's time to change up your site to improve your customer's journey, WebSubstance Portfolio can help you make that trip. From the first draft up to the hustle and bustle of implementation, we’re right there with you, bringing innovative design to your plans to put your business more deeply into your customer's visual experience.

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Contact Us

WebSubstance
21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President
contact.info@WebSubstance.com