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Cara-Ann Carstens - Website Marketing

How to make your website work for you

Your company’s website is the single most important space to gain new clients. SAIBA’s marketing manager shares some valuable lessons, learned from revisiting the institute’s website. Also, get some tips on how the marketing team grows the SAIBA website traffic by 20% per month.

Cara-Ann Carstens | SAIBA

As we discussed how a new website visitor will click to join, I thought about the intricacies of a website and how a marketing team should really consider human psychology when building a website.

At the time of writing this article, the SAIBA team is working hard to launch our new website. As we step into the future of a new-look website, the importance of a website became quite evident. Most B2B or membership model businesses gain clients via their web channels or word of mouth. Both these channels will direct traffic to your website, where the client’s final decision will be made.

Stepping into the experience of building a new website for SAIBA, we did extensive research, and thought we would share some of the valuable lessons learned through the process:

1. Catch your leads

When someone lands on your website, you have to firstly communicate clearly what you want them to do. Add a clear call to action to ensure you turn leads into business. A homepage with several messages could be confusing, so make sure your first impression gives a good instruction.

Secondly, most client retention websites will direct your clients to contact or sign up pages, because that’s where leads become clients. So, make sure not to turn away your possible client with unnecessary information.

Thirdly, for those who feel it’s necessary to explain your service offering before conversion, ask yourself this: Why would someone visit your website? Is it possible that your visitor is searching for something very specific? Then, remember this simple rule: call to action first, more information on an easily accessible tab and secondary on your homepage.

2. Don’t just update, upkeep

We so easily launch a new campaign, upload the relevant information, banners and use space on the website, without considering the implications. And, here we are, two years into the current SAIBA website, and as we go through the layers and layers of content, it becomes evident that we moved far beyond our website some time ago. And, visitors will have a really hard time to navigate through all the content and mixed messages. How is it that a business that gains most of its conversions via the web, misses out-growing the very platform that brings business?

For a year, we have flirted with the idea of a new website, every time getting caught up in yet another campaign, sending more traffic to the same old website.

Now, keep in mind, that with a fast-growing entity such as SAIBA, it becomes all the more difficult to keep the growth, promises, new prospects and braggable content in a nutshell, that is easily understood and relevant to members. Even though an updated website is critical for relevancy, the biggest lesson learned is to avoid the “update” mentality and truly upkeep your website. Make sure that your website remains concise and relevant. Your website should be an easy overview of your business. We learned, if you are thinking of updating or redesigning your website, it’s most probably time to do so.

3. Don’t be scared to re-evaluate

Your brand is the soul of your business, developing and growing with the organisation. What seemed like a very nice and modern idea a year ago, might be miles from where you currently are. With all the growth we experienced as an institute, we soon realised that the SAIBA website was not keeping up with the brand. What seemed new and relevant only a few months ago, now seems of the past. Many businesses experience fast growth, especially in the start-up phase. Make sure your website keeps up with your company growth.

4. It’s all about the user

It is one thing to have the latest, most modern website design, but if it takes ages to load due to high resolution photos and videos, you will no doubt lose leads. Not to mention the disaster of a website that was designed without considering user devices. Your user wants to have easy access to the information he/she is looking for. So, think about connectivity issues, data usage and legibility on mobile devices when designing your website.

When designing the new SAIBA website, we wanted to add an automatic video for a modern touch on our homepage. We soon realised that the video won’t be suitable for our audience, because it will impact loading speed and data usage. So, instead we opted for a button that will lead users to click, should they wish to view a short promotional video.

5. Segmented data

It is key to grow your database from the get-go. You can develop your database with a simple newsletter signup button or popup. But one thing we learned is the importance of segmented data. Being able to contact possible clients, based on specific requests or information, makes your communication more relevant and your lead stronger.

6. Security

It seems pointless for a small business, but security from hackers is vital. You lose trust and credibility without the relevant website security. This point is just as important for smaller businesses as for larger institutes.

The truth is, as a marketing team, we might have missed a few things, but a good team improves on mistakes made – and so we did. Here we are, new website and all, bringing our members into the future of accounting. And we hope you learn from some of our lessons learned.