Believe it or not, the attributes that make for a dream salesperson also make for great websites. You want your website to answer questions, make a good first impression, be responsive, know your product and be able to effectively speak to the customer’s problems
In this webinar we're going to equip you with the fundamentals, the right questions to ask, and even the next steps to get your website performing as your number one salesperson. But one thing we do want you to remember is that no salesperson becomes number one overnight. To get there, you need to have smart goals, metrics to validate the goals, and you need to have constant improvement.
Hello, and thank you for joining our webinar today. Before we start, we want to give a shout out to our current clients that are here. We hope you walk away from this webinar learning something new about how we can possibly further our relationships with you. We're also thrilled to see a few new names on our list today. We hope you learn something not only about our interactive expertise, but also about DDM and the services we offer.
What you can expect today is about a 20 to 25 minute presentation from us about how we approach website strategies, and then how you can replicate this within your own organization. As we go along, feel free to type your questions into the Q&A portion of this presentation and we'll go through them at the end. We plan to take about 15 minutes or so to answer everyone's questions after the presentation. We're also going to be sending all of you a follow-up email that will have Paul and I's contact information, as well as the webinar replay for you to go back and take a look at.
But first things first, my name is Jen Condit, formerly Jen Beadling. And I've been at DDM for about eight years. And I oversee our account leadership team as well as being an account leader myself. And today I'm joined by Paul De Leeuw.
Paul De Leeuw
Hi everybody, I'm Paul. I'm an implementation team lead here at DDM. I've been in a DDM over 11 years, making both websites and mobile applications. As a team lead, I've helped define data-driven processes for building and improving websites that serve our clients and their customer's needs.
Yeah, and our hope for today is that you leave this webinar with a clear roadmap for building or improving your current website.
So just to get started, let's give you a little bit of background on DDM. This year, DDM is turning 30 years old, which we are all pretty excited about. It's quite an accomplishment. We are a full service marketing firm with clients in fields ranging from healthcare, to financial services, to global manufacturing. They turned to us for deep insights and a highly responsive approach. And we pride ourselves on being a talented team large enough to handle all the work, but small enough to quickly respond to the challenge.
As you can see here, our work spans across strategy, digital and traditional media planning, automated email marketing, integration, and development. We believe in an integrated approach where all facets of marketing are influencing each other and working together. All right, with that being said, let's dive in.
So at DDM, we often think of your website as your best salesperson. Just looking at these qualifications, this makes sense, doesn't it? Always available to answer your questions, meets your customers where they are, always learning and improving. And we want to really hang on to that point. These attributes make for a dream salesperson and they also make for a dream website.
During the remainder of our time together, we're going to equip you with the fundamentals, the right questions to ask, and even the next steps to get your website performing as your number one salesperson. But one thing we do want you to remember is that no salesperson becomes number one overnight. To get there, you need to have smart goals, metrics to validate the goals, and you need to have constant improvement.
Paul De Leeuw:
And we hang on to that last point as what we think your new website strategy should be, which is continuous improvement. You're going to determine your focus, you're going to create goals around that focus, and you're going to measure and develop and repeat.
So digging into that a little bit more talking about determining your focus, what is your site's focus? Is it a marketing and lead generation tool, or is it sales support? And it's probably a hybrid of the two. But usually there's a focus and that focus will help you develop your content strategy and your architecture, so you can direct your customer to the right resource at the right time. For marketing and lead generation, that might be a product page and a contact form. But for sales support, that might be a customer or a salesperson login with deeper access to internal materials, price sheets, and quoting tools.
Having that alignment with your team, understanding the focus and your external partners for that matter gives you the direction you need to go on and create smart goals. Smart goals are instead of thinking, we want more leads, think about it as, we want 20% more leads weekly within three months. That takes an open-ended goal. And it turns it into something that you're going to return to and measure with a specific metric for success in line.
Then you're going to go on from those smart goals to measure, develop, and repeat. With those goals and metrics in hand, you're now equipped to start making changes to your site. As you make those changes, you keep an eye on those metrics and you identify further changes that you can make to keep working toward your goals. This makes your website improvement plan a data-driven process. You're looking at specific metrics and you're planning your improvements to meet those goals. "That's great," you're saying, "but where do we need to start with our goals so that we can take action?" This is a perfect opportunity to introduce our fundamentals. Each of these fundamentals has a guideline goal that you can adapt and apply to your situation. And each one provides actionable improvements that you can make without having to scrap everything and start over.
All right, well, let's start with the first one on our list, which is analytics. So the M in smart stands for measurable. And analytics provides you with the data you need to analyze your goals. Maybe it seems strange to start with analytics. After all, they're the tail end of the feedback loop, right? But thinking about the analytics upfront helps you really integrate your website within your larger strategy. So keeping those things in mind, where are your users focusing their attention? Where are they coming from geographically and technically? Are they coming from organic search, online campaigns, links from other sites? What devices are they using to get our materials? And lastly, how long are users staying on our site?
Knowing the answers to these questions really helps you refine and refocus where you apply time and effort to improve and help you determine next steps. So for analytics, your guideline goal could be, "We want monthly reports on user activity within the website in the next three months."
Next up is responsive design. So responsive design is the approach to web design that makes web pages render well on a variety of devices in window or screen sizes. And as of September, 2020, believe it or not, but mobile phones make up about 50% of web traffic. So your customers are on mobile devices. They're using tablets, phones, and sometimes even watches to get to your information. Many websites still take the approach of creating a unique mobile experience. In some cases, that might be the right approach, but for most businesses, it's better to take your full website experience and adapt it responsibly to the mobile device.
So, you might be asking, "Well, what does that mean exactly?" In the simplest form, it's a coding technique that is built into your current sites framework so it all lives in the same place under one roof, so you aren't left to manage a handful of different platforms. So, your is ready to engage now, but don't push them away because they have a small screen. Your guideline goal for responsive design would be, we want a lower bounce rate for our mobile users in the next three months.
Paul De Leeuw:
Now let's talk about speed and optimization. The speed of your site is extremely important. Slow sites have a higher bounce rate and lower customer engagement. Having a speedy site will keep your customer right where you want them, looking at your content. There are a lot of techniques that can be applied to improve the speed of your site, between caching, content delivery networks, and code optimization, you can and should get your site loading in under one second.
Again, analytics can tell you how well your site is loading. And if you have any specific pages that are poor performers. So your guideline goal, we want our website to be usable in under two seconds within the next three months.
Next up we have a really big topic, which is accessibility. How does a visually impaired person use your website? They might use a screen reader or refreshable braille display. How does a hard of hearing person hear your videos with subtitles and captions? Are your color choices friendly to people with colorblindness? One in 24 people can be affected by colorblindness. That is a huge percentage of your potential customers. Websites are complicated messes of code under the hood. If your team isn't intentional about supporting accessible design, screen readers will often produce bizarre and complicated results that make your website really hard to navigate if you're visually impaired. If your videos don't have subtitles, they might be entirely useless to a deaf person. And color choices are extremely important. They make user interface and user experience better for everybody.
What's more, depending on your industry, you might be subject to regulations that require adherence to an accessibility standard. If these standards are not met, you could be issued a fine or have legal action taken against you. The gold standard for accessibility is a document from the Worldwide Web Consortium called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Implementing these guidelines show that you are making a best effort to provide an accessible and ADA compliant user experience to those in your audience that may have disabilities. We at DDM use tools like Siteimprove to grade your website for accessibility, as well as performance. Your guideline goal, we want our website to be WCAG 2.1 compliant within the next year.
Next up we have governance. Governance is again a really big topic. And it's probably something in a lot of organizations that goes overlooked. Who has the final say on what appears and what doesn't on your website? Governance is the model that you use to determine how those changes to your website get approved and executed. In many organizations, the person who makes those decisions will be the designer or the web developer who's tasked with making updates. Multiple stakeholders are contributing opinions, requests, even outright demands. And often it's the developer who's left to sort out who's going to make it all work.
And usually that turns your site into a mess. Your web developer is not the person who holds the vision of what your site is supposed to be or understands the goals that you're trying to achieve to reach your customers. They know how to make the changes, yes, but they might not really be able to reconcile which changes are good and which changes are bad. And they probably don't have the clout to say no, either. Even if they know that something isn't the right direction. A good governance process keeps your website clean, functional, intentional, and in line with your vision. The person who has ownership of that vision is not the person who coded and designed your site. Your guideline goal, we want a defined path and process for changes to the website within the next six months.
All right. So the last other fundamental punch list is focused promotion, which is how do you direct people from various channels to your site? So that could be email marketing and campaigns, digital advertising, keyword analysis, or direction by the Salesforce to your website. Make sure you're optimizing each of these channels in line with your strategy. That way you'll get the right people on your site and engaged with your content. If you're interested in learning more about these topics and and how important they are to your strategy, you can refer to our previous webinars. We have one on getting started with marketing automation and integrating media and content strategy. So your guideline goal for this one is we want 20% more traffic delivered to our website, let's say, via digital advertising in the next three months.
So as you progress through the fundamentals, you'll quickly find that the next steps required better data. After all, better data leads to smarter goals. If you're thinking beyond the fundamentals and are ready for more, here are some data collection techniques that can help illuminate the customer journey and feed other marketing systems.
So the advanced goal is we want to connect an individual user or customer to the items they have seen on our site. So capturing some kind of identifiable customer information during the course of a visit to your website is the first step towards collecting data that you can then use to populate a CRM, collecting rate leads, or simply notify a sales person that a potential customer has browsed the site for specific assets.
So there's obviously more than one way to create an associate this data. But the most obvious is to ask the user to register with the site and create an account. So if you're already doing this because you need the customer to log in for another business process, you've got a good head start there. The upside, our customers will have great engagement when they complete this process. The downside, some users will choose to go and just not complete the steps to register.
Paul De Leeuw:
So here's a way that you handle that situation. You ask your salesperson to register a customer themselves when they have an inquiry. The rep can use a simple form on your website to generate a customized email. And that gives the customer exactly what they asked for. And in the process, you've created the customer's account for tracking purposes. The upside of this, it's very easy for the customer and it feels very high touch and high service. They get the email with the information that they're looking for, they didn't need to go search your website to find it, but you can still draw them into the website and get them engaging. The downside, you've got to train your salespeople to do this. But you counter this by providing the salesperson with a notification when their customer engages. That delivers value to the salesperson and it helps them understand the relationship.
Perhaps the least obvious way that you can gather this information, use your email list, but create personalized URLs. That means a unique URL for every recipient of the list. That way, when a personalized URL is clicked, your system can recognize that it's a unique URL and register the source of the information. The upside is, it just requires clicking a link. The customer doesn't have to do anything except click the link that they sent you via your mailing list. The downside is there's some technical complexity here. If the email gets forwarded, you'll also end up tracing activity from multiple users. So it isn't as directly personal as what you sent them yourself, or if a user registers with your site.
Once you've got a way to identify your customers within the website experience, you can start to track and illustrate their journey using a reporting dashboard. This helps uncover the target customers. And if you provide these tools to sales using an automated report or a CRM, they'll be able to act with precision on a customer by customer basis.
So to summarize, we talked about our website strategy of continuous improvement, determine your focus, create smart goals, measure, develop, and repeat. We talked about the fundamentals and how to create those smart goals around the fundamentals to meaningfully improve your website for your customers and keep it aligned with your strategy. Your number one salesperson is always learning and improving. And to that end, we're equipping you with the strategy to keep your website always improving.
All right. And that brings us to the end of our presentation today. We'll give you guys a few minutes to finish typing in your questions, and then we'll answer as many as we can before we run out of time. For those of you who are current clients, feel free to reach out to Paul or your account manager with questions. We'd love to sit down with you and figure out what your vision is for your site and how we can integrate it into the current partnership we have with you. And then for those of you who are new to DDM, we'd love to chat with you too. So like I mentioned before, we will be sending up a follow-up email and that will have Paul and my contact information. So you can reach out to us directly. And we'd love to set up a time just to sit and talk further.
All right, now let's take some questions. All right. We've got one here that says, "How would you go about implementing personalized URLs?"
Paul De Leeuw:
Yeah, so this is one of the downsides that we talk about with this is, it does involve a little bit of technical complexity. So what you want to do is you're going to start with your mailing list, whatever tool you're using for that, whether that's Mailchimp or ExactTarget, you're going to pull that mailing list and you're going to associate a unique identifier with each record in that. And you can do that in an automated way. Generally you use a simple random number generator of some kind that generates unique strings that get attached to every record in your mailing list. You pull that back into your mailing list, and in the template you can take that field, that unique identifier that you gave each record, and you can pull that in as part of the link. And then when that link gets clicked and goes to your website, you'll be able to see in analytics exactly where those came from. It's sort of like using a UTM code or a campaign code. Only in this case, you're making it a unique code for every individual user.
Great. Looks like we have another one that says, "Could you define what bounce rate means?"
Paul De Leeuw:
Sure. Yeah, we talked about bounce rate a couple of times in the analytics and in the speed and optimization fundamentals. What the bounce rate is very simply, it's the percentage users who land on your site. They look at only the one page that they landed on and then they leave and go somewhere else. They close the tab, they close the window, they just don't click anything else on your website. They don't go anywhere else. They might get onto your homepage and look around for a minute or two. It's not really a time-based metric. It's really about, did they take the next step that they do anything else or did they just see your page and bounce? So, that's your bounce rate. It's the percentage of users that are coming in, not going anywhere else, and just leaving again.
Great. All right. We'll give you guys a couple more minutes. I think I see some people drafting in questions. All right. Well, if there's not any more questions, we thank you guys all. And like I said, we will be sending out this replay via email. Thanks guys.
Paul De Leeuw:
Thanks so much.
Tech Lead and Back-End Oversight
Account Leadership Oversight