Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on July 10th, 2011

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The Website is Alive and Well

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This post first ran in a more condensed version over at SpinSucks when I was honored to guest post for Gini Dietrich and Lisa Gerber!

What's the one thing Mobile, Social Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising, Facebook, Twitter, and QR Codes all have in common? WEBSITES!

Ultimately, what is Facebook & Twitter? A WEBSITE

Where do PR, Marketing & Ad campaigns direct audiences? A WEBSITE

Social media is all the rage, or wait, is it mobile? Hard to choose, right? If you are a PR firm drafting a campaign for your client, which is more important if you had to pick one? The reality is whichever you pick, ultimately it will be secondary. Secondary to a company website. That's right, a website, even though Wired Magazine declared them dead some time ago.

Think about it, if your campaign is the success you are hoping for if your target audience is listening to your message, your entire message, what happens then? If you nailed it, you leave your audience wanting more, right? They want to learn more about the firm/promotion/product, so where is the number one place they go? To the corresponding website! Is it ready?

SOCIAL MEDIA
But wait, the client says, "I have a Facebook Fan Page, my website isn't important!"
Give them this statistic, 250 million people engage with Facebook from EXTERNAL WEBSITES via integration. This is a statistic right on Facebook's site. 250 MILLION websites are the first stop in traffic then onto Facebook!

Also, take into consideration that not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter, does your client not value their business as well? Also, consider this, according to Facebook 70% of their user-base is OUTSIDE of the U.S.A., is that the target market?

According to a recent study by ForSee research, on average, social media is responsible for a 1% increase in traffic. This percentage comes from surveys of such companies like Kellogg, ESPN, Ticketmaster & General Mills to name a few. All of these probably have fans & followers in the thousands and more "Likes" than we could image. Yet, they are generating only an average of 1% traffic increase from social media! That means all those "Likes" are gaining less attention than a firm's other marketing efforts. It also means customers are accessing the websites without Facebook or Twitter. That means 99% of the traffic is from people interested in hearing right from the firm on their OFFICAL website!

In a recent interview with SmartBrief editor Mary Ellen Slayter, Chris Brogan used this analogy of Facebook "businesses that rely on Facebook pages as their "website" to people who would call a hotel room their "home." Like a hotel, Facebook doesn't allow the complete customization you would find in your home plus, it can kick you out whenever it wants. Facebook is where you congregate fans and reach out to them, but a website is where you establish your identity, Brogan said."

MOBILE
Mobile is yet another example of the importance of your website. Is your website mobile ready? With the sales of smartphones up 85%, chances are there are many potential new customers attempting to access your website via a mobile device. What will they see? Is your website flash-ridden, if so, the customer won't see it on Apple products! Is your website optimized for mobile?

QR Codes
Are you utilizing QR Codes to generate new leads or target specific, trackable demographics? If so, where do those QR Codes send the user? To a website or micro-site. Is the site ready for new traffic, more importantly, mobile traffic?

CHECKLIST
Every Marketing, PR, Social Media firm needs a developer for a best friend. Before you launch that mega campaign, you need someone to analyze and bring the website behind the campaign up to date. What should be in order, prior to launch?

  • Navigation
  • Fresh Content
  • Call to Action
  • Easy to find Contact Info
  • Limited Flash
  • No broken URL's
  • Social Media Integration
  • Mobile version of website

What could happen if you launch a campaign for a company who does not have an updated web presence? Your campaign could fail. Sure, you could have knocked it out of the park, created a great traffic boost and then, implode! If the site doesn't back up the campaign, a potential client could be confused, frustrated, annoyed. If the content on the site can't back up the social media buzz, the visitor is likely to leave and in all likelihood find a competitor to hire! BAM! ROI dead in the water!

Ducks In a Row
Bottom line, no matter what kind of campaign you are designing for your client, it all leads back to their website. It's best to take a look at it and discuss it with your client as part of your initial consultation. Does the website have its ducks in a row? Can it handle the attention your campaign might bring? This is an important conversation to have with your client. If the website cannot perform, no matter how good your campaign is, the client will not get the results they had hoped for, and in the end be disappointed in the outcome! Don't set yourself or your client up for failure!