Toppling a dangerous website myth: If you build it, they will come
I’ve heard it time and time again – clients believe that creating a website will be like Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” In reality, this is far from the truth, and it’s critical that we break away from the notion that a website project ends with the launch of the new site.
Launching your website starts a whole new phase of the project, where your focus is on promotion and tracking instead of coding and building. This is the part where marketing becomes essential – if you want people to actually see your content!
You can offer the best product on the market, but without visibility, no one will know it exists. In order to create a need - marketing - and fulfill that need - sales - you need traffic to your site. A solid strategy for getting eyes on your digital content has three pillars: Owned media, earned media and paid media.
Owned media comprises web property that you can control and that’s unique to your brand. Your website is a major piece of owned media, but you have other owned media properties that can and should be leveraged to support your website and branding efforts: social media pages, email lists, company-generated blog posts, and your own thought-leadership content (on-site articles, infographics, videos, newsletters, etc.).
Owned media is the destination - it’s where you want to drive the majority of your traffic because it’s the part of your digital presence that you have control over.
If owned media is the destination, earned media is the vehicle that takes people there. Earned media comes with exposure of and trust in your brand and what you offer. Earned media is your online word of mouth. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ”engagement.” The surge in the trend toward engaging people online is at the heart of earned media, because engaged audience members share the information you put out into the world.
Of the three digital pillars, earned media tends to have the most long-term impact, but it can take a while to build engagement with your brand. In the meantime, I recommend that new companies who are still working on building up brand recognition focus their marketing budget on paid media, which can have faster returns.
Paid media is a good way to promote your content, which can drive earned media and guide traffic to owned media. The most common form of paid media is search engine marketing (SEM). Search engines like Google offer both pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, which are served based on selected keywords, and retargeting ads, which are based on customer profiles (cookies-based).
Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter also offer paid advertising in various forms, which let you target your content to people based on the information they’ve provided on those sites. There are many forms of paid media; choose the route that fits your specific goals.
All three elements - owned, earned and paid media - are critically important to your digital marketing plan. Keep in mind that the online work doesn’t stop when your website launches - that’s just the cue to create a solid update, share and advertising schedule and put tracking tools in place so you can adjust as needed. It takes time, planning and budget, but if you’re willing to invest in building your online presence, they will come!
With a love for design and a passion for technology this mother of four has never shied away from a day of hard work in either. After working in the IT field as a marketing director, she now works in the marketing field as Manager of Technology & Business Services for Savage. Just don't be fooled by her sweet nature, underneath lies the heart of a gamer, and the competition better watch out.