Just a few years ago, creating a website was a slow, long, and costly process. Even the most basic websites could take weeks to go live.
Thankfully, things have improved.
Today, you can build a beautiful, modern, and feature-rich website for your business in a fraction of the time. The cost is even lower now as compared to the past.
What hasn’t changed though, is the importance of carefully planning every aspect of your website before you start developing it.
In this post, I’m going to share the exact steps in creating a website. Ideally, this guide should make sure that your website comes out exactly as you want.
1. Have a Clear Objective for Creating Your Website
What do you want to achieve with your site?
Do you only want a corporate website that serves as a customer touchpoint?
Or are you looking to create a site where you can actively engage with your prospects? Or are you simply creating one to publish new content, grow your subscriber base, and sell your products and services?
The answer to this question will determine the features and the resources required to create your site. But more importantly, it will determine your site’s role in the broader context of your marketing and branding strategy.
Therefore, write down all the expectations you have from your website and the things you want to achieve with it.
2. Understand the Needs of Your Audience
You’re creating a website so that your existing and potential customers can use it to connect and engage with you.
But do you even know what they want from your site?
Understanding the problems and the needs of your target audience is crucial in creating a successful website. For this, you need to conduct market research and find out what your target audience wants from you.
For example, if they’re looking to purchase products online, you’d have to create a website with eCommerce features.
If they want to see video tutorials and read new content about your products and services, then create a blog!
In short, you cannot create an effective website unless you completely understand what your target audience wants from it.
3. Choose the Right Platform to Build Your Site
Websites can be created using different platforms, languages, and technologies. You can either go for a custom developed site or use a Content Management System (CMS).
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It powers more than 27% of the web and commands a whopping 76.4% CMS market share.
There are other CMS software like Joomla, Blogger, Drupal, Squarespace, Wix and many others. All of them have their pros and cons which is why you need to carefully select the platform that fits your business needs.
4. Create a High Level Website Structure
Before the development phase, you need to create a high-level structure of your website. Determine the number of pages on your site, how they’ll interlink with each other, and the hierarchy they’ll follow. Study the role they’ll play in the overall user experience of your site.
Most corporate websites use the following pages.
– About the Company – The Team – Products/Services – Shop (in eCommerce sites) – Company Blog – Contact Page
However, there’s no standard formula for the number of pages on a site. It all depends on the objectives of your brand.
5. Develop Your Site’s Brand Assets
Your website’s design should clearly reflect all the core elements of your brand.
This includes a recognizable logo, a memorable punchline that summarizes your core offer, your brand’s color theme. Your branding voice and visual elements should also run consistently across all pages.
Don’t underestimate this part because it has a huge impact on how your site is perceived by your audience. To give you an idea, here’s a demonstration of the emotions that different colors evoke in your audience. It only shows how the world’s leading brands have used them.
It’s best to hire a professional designer to help you find the ideal colors that truly represent your brand.
It’s a time-consuming exercise but has a long-term impact on your business.
6. Write Compelling Copy for Your Key Pages
The quality of your site’s written content largely determines whether people stay and explore your services or bounce back immediately.
Research shows that Home and About is the most frequently visited pages of most websites. Therefore pay special attention to the words you choose to describe your company and your services on these pages.
To create compelling copy, always think from your customer’s perspective. Answer their biggest questions and clearly tell them what they should do to solve their problems. You can do so by using a clear Call to Action.
HubSpot’s homepage is a really good example to follow.
The moment you land on this page, it immediately tells you what it can do for you (the main heading). In addition, it also states what it requires from you (the call to action button).
This leaves no room for confusion and results in a high conversion rate.
7. Chalk Out a Content Marketing Plan for your Site
Content marketing is a strategy used to attract clients and leads. Most brands do so by publishing useful, actionable, and high-value content that answers the questions of your audience.
This helps you build a rapport with your prospects as a result. Moreover, they eventually trust your advice and prefer buying from you.
Research shows that sites with good content marketing generate 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than a static website.
You need to consider your site’s content marketing plan during the development stage because it requires several fundamental changes. For example, if you want to actively pursue content marketing, you’d need to have a blog on your site.
Similarly, you’d have to include other engagement tools such as social sharing widgets and, moderate the comments on your site.
All of this requires prior planning.
8. Test Device Compatibility and Optimize Performance
According to a recent study, more than 50% of the global internet traffic now originates from mobile devices.
This is why your website needs to be compatible with smartphones, tablets, mobile phones, and desktop devices.
Similarly, you need to optimize your site’s performance. Find ways to make it load quickly and do not make users wait for the elements to load. For this, you can use the Google Page Speed tool to see where your site stands.
Are You Ready To Launch Your Website?
I have summarized the key steps involved in creating a website. There’s a lot of technical detail in each of these points that I’ve intentionally skipped. As a business owner, you should not get caught in the technicalities of your website, leave that to the experts. Your job is to ensure that your site’s direction is aligned with your core business objectives. Make sure that this has everything that your customers expect from it.
Need advice on how to make your site more user-friendly? Get in touch now.
If you are like most Massage Therapists, you are well trained to care for your clients, helping them to reach their health and wellness goals. But your education probably didn’t teach you the skills you need to run a small business, such as online marketing. But, marketing your business in order to reach new clients and keep established clients engaged is a necessary skill in today’s competitive environment. You can’t afford to ignore the need to market yourself well.
Small businesses that are looking to grow (or even stay competitive) know that social media marketing is a must. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay for advertising. That is the beauty of social media – you can get your message to thousands of people for FREE.
Here are a few tips on how you can use social media to market your Massage Therapy business without needing a degree in marketing:
Don’t always sell
Social media followers don’t want to be sold to, they want a relationship. They want to be able to trust your business. This seems like a tall order, but it’s not as complicated as you think. If a patient was in the room with you, would you simply be throwing information about your services at them? Of course not. You start with conversations, get to know them, offer education about the benefits of massage therapy. As you get to know them, you build a relationship and as you do that, you build loyal patients.
You have to do the same thing on social media. Create posts that are in-line with your mission: inspirational quotes, quick facts about health and wellness, tips to care for your body between massages. And every once in a while post something to sell your business. You can post something about accepting new clients, registration for a presentation you are giving, or the details of a new service that you are offering. When you have already engaged with your patients in positive ways, the sales post will be more effective.
We offer a FREE pdf with 11 ideas for social media posts that are designed to build relationships with your followers. You can get it at myfitcoach.co (a pop-up will appear in the bottom, enter your email and you will get immediate access to download the pdf).
Incentivize your followers to buy
When it is time to sell your services a great way to gain clients is to offer a deal that is exclusive to your social media followers. Making the offer time-limited will encourage followers to take action. Just be sure to make it clear and easy to access the deal, ideally, have it available to purchase online (since your followers are already online they won’t have to change gears to purchase).
Let your energy show in your posts
When marketing your services, you are actually marketing yourself. Make sure you are representing yourself well. Is your energy calm and relaxed? Or more energizing? Choose photos, quotes, and fonts that represent who you are. Remember the goal is to make loyal clients out of your followers, so make sure they know who they are following.
Engage and interact with social media followers
This simple idea is worth its weight in gold. If a follower comments or asks a question, respond to them. Quickly. Social media followers usually expect fast response times. Since you aren’t always going to be watching your social media feed, it’s important to have office staff available to respond to any basic questions. Many clients may want to know about appointment availability or may be looking for clarification on something you posted and your office manager can answer these questions quickly.
Establish yourself as the expert in your field
I know and you know that you are an expert in your field. You may still need to convince your social media followers. How do you do this? By providing content that shows off your knowledge and expertise. One great way to do this is to write a weekly blog and share it via social media. But you can also offer information in shorter amounts with direct social media posts. Offer tips on stretches to do throughout the work day, proper posture, foods that support health and more. There is a world of potential clients out there that are looking for information, and you have that information.
Many small businesses feel that they shouldn’t give away too much information online, but we believe the opposite is true. By providing accurate and valuable information, you will be considered a “go-to” resource for your followers.
Most of all, remember that relationship marketing is a long game. Keep providing helpful content and you will see your followers and your business grow!
If you are new to social media marketing, you may want to read a few of our latest posts to help you maximize your efforts:
Facebook Ads for Gyms One Simple Metric to Determine Marketing ROI
Struggling to calculate return on a text campaign or Facebook investment? Just apply this single, simple equation.
Facebook Ads for Gyms One Simple Metric to Determine Marketing ROI
When I was a consultant at McKinsey, we helped Fortune 500 companies optimize their marketing spend. With the help of statistics PhDs, we applied complex statistical models to customer data to identify small tweaks in marketing campaigns–to the tune of millions of dollars of incremental profits.
If you’re a small business owner, you don’t have the luxury of a PhD data scientist on your staff. Between opening and closing every day, managing inventory, and hiring and firing employees, you have a few hours every month to unearth insight from your spreadsheets and Quickbooks data. What should you be looking for? What insights can drive meaningful impact on your business?
But studying spreadsheets isn’t the only way to unearth marketing insights.
In order to multiply impact for your business, I want to introduce you to a different marketing ROI framework that’s much simpler than the classic equation taught in finance textbooks. Traditional finance ROI is defined as net profit from an investment minus investment cost divided by investment cost. However, this calculation is not easy to do in marketing because a fully loaded net profit from a marketing campaign is hard to ascertain.
So do what the big guys do. Most Fortune 500 marketing VPs look at the revenue to cost ratio: incremental revenue driven by a marketing campaign divided by the cost. It’s a deceptively easy metric, but if you use it properly, I guarantee you’ll be able to make the bold marketing decisions you need to grow your business.
Recently, for example, one of our FiveStars merchants ran a text message campaign to their loyalty program members. It cost them six dollars to send the text to a few hundred of their current customers. Four percent of the recipients of the text came to the store and spent a total of $110. The revenue to cost ratio of this campaign was 18x. Was this a good result? Rule of thumb for most companies is that 5x is a decent return, and 10x is a home run. Considering that the restaurant only had to incur incremental costs for the food of about $30, and spent six dollars to get $80 in gross profit, this was a great result. We recommended that this merchant expand the size of a loyalty program, and start running bi-weekly campaigns. Implementing these simple tactics and investing less than $600 could increase the restaurant’s revenue by over $10,000 per year.
Once you understand the revenue to cost ratio, it’s easy to start ranking marketing decisions.
Should I advertise in the newspaper?
Or Should I pay to advertise on Facebook?
Maybe I should do a daily deal? All of these decisions can be put through this simple analysis to see if it’s a good decision. You can estimate revenue to cost ratio up front, or you can try a campaign once and see if it passes your ROI hurdle.
Who needs a data scientist? Through testing, intuition, and smart application of the revenue to cost ratio, you can arrive at similar conclusions. And therefore make decisions based on those conclusions, as any data scientist would.
These marketing strategies for fitness will definitely spark your creative energy.
It takes a lot of time and effort to develop and maintain a marketing campaign that resonates with your intended audience. As a strategic thinker, however, the development of a marketing campaign takes even more consideration. After all, we’re always searching for ways to gain the oh-so important competitive edge.
There are times, though, when we all hit the proverbial wall. If you find yourself in that situation, then you may want to check out these fifteen marketing strategies that will definitely spark your creative energy.
1. Partner with allies.
Marketing partnerships have a number of benefits to push a marketing campaign. For starters, when you collaborate with someone else, you tend to deliver better content. On top of that, marketing partnerships are cheaper to create, see success more quickly, and expose your brand to a new audience.
For example, prior to being acquired by eBay, Half.com worked the town of Halfway, Oregon, to change its name to Half.com in exchange for stock, Internet access, and other giveaways. The tactic gained a lot of attention for the textbook rental company. Another example was when Converse teamed up with Guitar Center to record music entitled “Rubber Tracks.” The content was then used to create a series of YouTube videos that focused on the musicians.
2. Embrace user generated content.
According to a survey of 839 millennials, they spend “5.4 hours a day with content created by their peers. This represents 30 percent of their total media time and is rivaled only by all traditional media types combined (print, radio, and television, at 33 percent).” In the same survey, “Millennials reported that UGC is 20 percent more influential on their purchase decisions than other media.”
You can achieve this by having customers share personal stories (Estee Lauder’s international breast cancer action campaign), exchange ideas (Salesforce’s Idea Exchange), and by giving them the tools to make an ad for you (Nissan’s VersaVid campaign that was shared on Instagram and Vine) or through humor (Doritos Roulette bags).
3. Collaborate with influencers.
Another way to gain a new audience and extend brand awareness is by collaborating with the top influencers in your industry. Home improvement store Lowe’s allowed “top designers and mom bloggers to take over its Instagram account for a few days at a time.” By allowing these influencers to share inspirational content, Lowe’s was able to tap into a new audience.
4. Help customers solve a problem.
As perfectly stated on HubSpot, “You’re in business because you provide solutions.” Some of the ways you can help customers solve a problem is by: creating how-to-content; offering exclusives that make their lives easier; listening/responding to them; or creating apps/tools.
You could also create a campaign like Orca Chevrolet did in Brazil. The company partnered with a local tow company and rescued stranded drivers by arriving in the new Orca. Not only did Chevy save the day, it also gave drivers a chance to test drive the car.
5. Let customers interact.
No matter the product or service you’re offering, your customers want to interact with your company, or at least other customers. AMC, for example, created an online tool that allowed you to Mad Man Yourself. American Express connects small-business owners to each other and helpful resources through its OPEN Forum.
6. Experiment with new channels and platforms.
Don’t hesitate to try out new channels and platforms to promote your brand. As Clare McDermott, editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, points out on the Content Marketing Institute, the Four Seasons introduced the Pin.Pack.Go program on Pinterest. This was an industry-first campaign that allowed guests to co-curate a customer travel itinerary through a Pinterest board.
7. Take a bite out of Apple.
Apple deserves special mention mainly because it’s a brand that has created an entire generation of lifelong advocates. How did they accomplish this? Remember when the iPod was introduced? Apple’s now-iconic strategy involved empathy, focus, and impute when they used silhouettes of people enjoying the iPod. It may not have been the best MP3 player, but it created brand recognition that helped dominate the market.
8. Have some fun.
You probably never heard of Dollar Shave Club until the company released that humorous YouTube video. The company continues to have its way with the shaving industry. Taco Bell and Old Spice are other examples of companies who are having fun with their marketing campaigns. Even campaigns you wouldn’t expect are getting in on the action.
Caterpillar launched its “Built for It”campaign by having five Cat construction machines playing a giant game of Jenga.
9. Get employees involved.
Let employees be your biggest champions and brand advocates. That’s what happened with Caterpillar’sBuilt for Itcampaign. The videos tapped into the allegiance of the brand, which motivated them to share the videos with friends and family.
10. Be a little weird.
You don’t always have to play it safe. Sometimes you want to think out of the box and get a little weird. For example, to help launch the new radio station FM 96.3 in Glasgow, Scotland, the station placed empty guitar racks throughout the city. The hook? Each rack had a sign that read: “Free Air Guitar. Take One.” It was unique and matched the brand perfectly — who hasn’t played a little air guitar when listening to the radio?
11. Don’t forget about existing customers.
I know it is important to obtain new customers if you want your business to grow. But don’t forget about the customers you already have. As Belle Beth Cooper notes on the Buffer Blog, you could use the “upside-down funnel” approach. This could include making customers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, giving them something extra, and making them feel like VIPs.
12. Use big data to target customers.
Big data is now helping retailerstarget specific customers. Red Roof Inn uses cancelled flight information to send messages to stranded travelers. A pizza chain uses data to send out coupons to customers who are experiencing bad weather or power outages. In short, big data can be used to predict purchasing trends. With this information, you can get in touch with consumers before they search for your products or services.
13. Venture into the concrete jungle.
You can still do a little offline marketing to create a buzz surrounding your product or service. For example, you could hire an artist to paint a mural (with permission, of course). You could also go the route ofCiti Bike. Having bicyclists riding around with your logo or name is a clever way to grab attention. Another great example was when the Copenhagen Zoo shrink-wrapped city buses so that it appeared that they were squeezed by a giant boa constrictor.
14. Tap into nostalgia.
Entrepreneur shared an interesting discovery from the Journal of Consumer Research. The study found “that people who were asked to think about the past were willing to pay more for products than those who were asked to think about new or future memories; another experiment showed an increased willingness to give more money to others after recalling a nostalgic event. ” Maybe that’s why brands like Coca-Cola, Calvin Klein, and Internet Explorer have launched campaigns that take Millennials back to the 90s.
15. Tell a cross-media story.
Storytelling is one of the most effective methods in marketing. But how do you modernize it? Axe’s “Susan Glenn “is a perfect example of a modern story that was shared across various media platforms. If you don’t recall, Axe tapped into the memories of the girl who got away. Instead of just repacking the content, the story was told differently on different channels. There was also a 60-second film, interactive billboard at Times Square, and unbranded memes.
Hitting the wall with your marketing efforts can stall your business and raise frustration levels. You need to be thinking strategically in everything you do and building a strategic culture with your business. What tactics do you use to breathe life into your marketing?