Thursday, October 22, 2009

Supporting SEO with effective Post-Click Marketing

Alright, I know that’s hardly a killer punch line, but it should get you thinking about what your site does for you. To my mind every website should be a salesperson- or at least do some of the things that you’d want a salesperson to do.

Most websites are selling something; even if those things can’t be commoditised (I’m thinking “ideas” here). A blog that is alive and kicking is selling the author, or their ideas. In order to sell things you need to at least meet some expectations of the people you want to be interested in you.

Like a good salesperson a good website should present clear messages in accessible language. It should be able to answer questions and objections, and show evidence of success and happy customers, and show with clarity what is on offer. For an SEO these are great content opportunities- especially the “what is on offer” as these pages are the bulk of e-commerce site. They also count as the post-click- what people find once they’ve arrived.

Outside of SEO, the salesperson analogy is also really helpful when taking an objective view of the look and feel of your site. You wouldn’t want someone who represents your business turning out badly dressed and unkempt, or like a 20 year throwback (or even well, but inappropriately dressed). People make instant judgements based on appearance, and they do the same with your site.

Regardless of design trends, how your site looks compared with all the others chasing the same customer matters. I’m not suggesting that you magic a budget out of thin air and build a brand new site every 6 months, but at least take at look at your competitors and see what they’re up to. If you’re lucky enough to be competing with a raft of ugly, hard to use, websites you can steal a march on them just by making yours look good, and work well.

If you’re in a market where everyone else has a smashing website, and yours is dated and has less to offer, you really should consider how to get up to speed. Mostly this can be achieved with design refresh- there’s often no need to invest heavily in a new CMS, or re-engineer your database, or add a bunch of flash, or… the list is long.

When re-skinning a tired looking site you can also add useful content such as a news service, or create better conversion opportunities. You’ll be giving your salesperson a new wardrobe, a haircut, a nice car even, and a much better chance of getting the business.

We live in an image obsessed age, so even though SEO can drive visits, you need something to welcome them in and make them want to stay once they’ve arrived. Search engine marketing is as much about the post-click as it is about the promotion.


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