We recently had a chance to chat with our Director of Services, Guliz Sicotte, about key factors to consider when investing in website design and marketing.
Due to popular demand, she’s back to discuss how specific services can morph your business into a selling machine, as well as how to properly allocate your budget to ensure success. Check out Guliz’ thoughts below to discover the importance of social media design, ecommerce services and measuring your efforts.
How important is it for me to invest in design for my social media platforms?
Social media rules our world these days. Consumers expect businesses to have a presence and to regularly engage with their audience on Facebook or Twitter, so it’s important to build your brand not only with a logo and a website, but also with social media channels. Think of your social media presence as an extension of your website.
Your branding on social media platforms needs to be consistent and work in tandem with your website. For instance, one of the things we keep in mind when designing your Social Store is maintaining a design consistency by carrying over some of the color, font and style choices you made on your website.
What type of budget should I set aside for ecommerce services, and how do I go about saving for them?
This is a very broad statement – and again – every business is different, but as a general rule of thumb, you should allocate at least 10% of your revenue to marketing. Startup businesses that want to hit the ground running may have to budget a much higher percentage in the beginning. You may also choose to increase your budget during certain seasons. Over time, you’ll find the right marketing mix and the right budget to help grow your business.
I have a budget for marketing, but am unsure how I should split it up between SEO, PPC and other channels. Do you have any advice?
This really depends on numerous factors, like the type of products you sell, target audience, maturity of the business, the competitiveness of your market, etc. Best practice is to include complementary strategies in your marketing mix.
If you don’t know where to start, I recommend researching where your competition is advertising online. For example, are your most successful competitors using PPC to reach prospects? If they are, you should also inhabit that space. Are your competitors featuring their products in Google’s shopping results or other shopping sites like Shopzilla or Nextag? If they are, you should strongly consider including shopping feeds as part of your marketing mix.
Next, perform a search on Google for relevant keywords and determine whether your site is visible in organic results. If your competitors are highly visible, but you aren’t, then SEO would be an excellent investment. Keep in mind: SEO is more of a long-term strategy, whereas channels like PPC and shopping feeds yield immediate results. This is one of the reasons I recommend engaging several marketing channels at once. A diversified strategy will yield better results.
Can’t I just market my website myself?
Sure you can. You might have the time and resources to learn about marketing your website effectively, but many business owners prefer to focus their time and energy on their core business, and enlist experts to market their business for them. Our Services team has years of experience in design and marketing. It’s our passion. We’re constantly educating ourselves on best practices, keeping up with the changes in the industry, and utilizing the best tools to do our job better. While it’s absolutely possible for business owners to market their site on their own, in many cases it makes the most sense to allow the experts to do it for you.
How do I know if the updates I’ve made to my site are working?
Great question. Google Analytics (or any other analytics tool) is your best resource for gauging success. The most important and obvious performance indicators are conversions and revenue, of course, but those aren’t the only metrics you should rely on to determine if your updates are working. Let’s say you updated the title tags on several pages of your site based on your keyword research. The best measure of success for that particular update would be the change in organic traffic for the targeted keywords and similar phrases. You really have to consider a multitude of metrics to evaluate success, and it will vary depending on your industry and objectives.
You should also be prepared for lots of trial and error. I encourage business owners to test their hypotheses and utilize tools like Google Website Optimizer. Even if you don’t have experience with testing tools, you can try small changes like using different calls-to-action on your homepage and see if it increases click-throughs or conversions.
We hope this post has helped inspire you to take your marketing and design efforts to the next level. Big thanks to Guliz for taking the time to answer these questions.
Still have something on your mind? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the box below and we’ll get back to you!
-Guliz Sicotte, Volusion