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Websites should always be designed to deliver an engaging user experience. To succeed, marketers need an understanding of how online communication works and they need to be clear about how a business can serve the needs of its customers on the web.

The websites that are succeeding online are the ones that concentrate on the delivery of quality user experience, functionality and added value elements such as personalisation to really engage with visitors.

Savvy marketers are starting to concentrate on the 4Cs of web marketing (content, community, commerce and communication) and this is enabling businesses to deliver exactly what web visitors are after and realise some of the following key benefits:

1. Rapid go to market – in a controlled fashion

The great thing about a website is that you can tweak content and design whenever you want, at a relatively low cost compared to more traditional media.

This means that your company can launch a webpage for a product or service which has the right content and basic functionality and ensure this delivers results by refining over time through testing and further development.

Define which issues are development and which are maintenance and try to get rapidly to the maintenance stage for a well-defined project. Marketers have the freedom to move content around, test new ways of using images and video and go with the options that work best once the site is up.

2. Better integration with wider business processes

In this day and age, marketers are trying their best to make their websites emulate what consumers want. But they have to be careful not to lose sight of how the website will integrate with wider business processes and existing systems.

This is especially important in cases where there is an existing CRM tool. Or it might be that the site needs to connect up to outbound mailing systems so that marketers do not have to re-enter the same information in multiple places.

Finally, seeding information on social channels should also be considered. Reducing the number of times you need to login to publish your information is a key efficiency driver, allowing you to easily maintain all your channels.

3. Clear return on investment

Analytics provide marketers with the tools to assess how successful an online campaign has been and, most importantly, how they can improve results in real-time and for future activities.

By analysing certain aspects of a website, marketers can quickly personalise pages to better suit customer needs, for example tweaking a page that is experiencing high drop off. A little change can often make a big difference.

4. Making campaign microsites generate long-term value

As mentioned earlier, a site doesn’t need to be perfect when a product or service is launched; it just needs to have all the right content and basic functionality to be effective. This thinking can be transferred to campaign microsites too.

These are a common marketing tactic for many companies, but rather than creating a temporary resource that has a very limited shelf-life, smart marketers are realising that these pages can be absorbed into wider, lasting online strategies that add value to visitors and gain important search visibility.

5. Prioritising accessibility to bring improved usability and better search visibility

Accessibility is a fundamental part of any website these days. If you incorporate this into your strategy at the start of the project, then you will benefit from it in the end. It is much more expensive to go back and change at a later stage.

The deployment of accessibility standards and technologies can bring new benefits and opportunities for business advantage. Accessibility can also benefit a broader audience and improve website performance for users.

Improved access and usability in turn broadens your website appeal and actively improves your users’ experience online. It can also help you with search too as Google is increasingly favouring websites that have put the work in when it comes to accessibility. So not only will it help visitors to your site, it will help them find you in the first place.

Maria Wasing

Published 13 May, 2011 by Maria Wasing

Maria Wasing is VP of Marketing Europe at EPiServer and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

24 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

Caleb Jarvis

Caleb Jarvis, Developer at Caleb Jarvis Enterprise

I think it is important to get back to basics online in various ways such as streamlining designs, junking unnecessary info for net memory as well as psychological reasons.
Sanitised internet usage is important in my opinion.

over 5 years ago

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seo pricing packages

I don't think basics online is still there. It has never gone far, it's just that social media is becoming the trend nowadays. Streamlining designs, junking unnecessary info is still there.
Haven't you noticed it?IF not maybe you're just too busy on your content writing maybe.
Great post by the way.
Keep them coming.
Cheers y'all!!!!

over 5 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

Sometimes we get so caught up in the flashy new marketing techniques, we forget the basics in order to start using the new. But without a strong foundation, all other marketing efforts are pretty much done in vain. At the end of the day, it all comes down to giving the consumer what they want.

over 5 years ago

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Sarah Alder

Linking to existing business systems is particularly important. It can be difficult to handle because the web team want to get on with their project without having to involve the CRM team, sales and purchasing, or the brand team. But to give good advice on a web project you need to be able to clearly articulate the links between different processes and the risks of ignoring them. Keeping everything focused on user experience, as you point out, is the simplest way.

over 5 years ago

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Maria Wasing

@caleb - agree totally, sanitised usage is a good way of describing the objective. Also important from a maintenance perspective for a site and the content. Do the test and see how many pages you have and how many of those pages have an owner. Think most companies will be surprised at what they find.
@seo pricing packages - Glad you like the post. Social media is one of the items that can be a basic function, or not. Depends on if you need it to talk to the target audience. Although, i would say that for most sites today, you need social elements.
@Nick - yes,knowledge of the customer and the business processes you need to support with the site are key. Without that knowledge, you would not even know what the basics mean to your business.
@Sarah - yes, we have integrated our own site to our CRM. Works well for us, but the business owners need to be involved and the complete process designed and agreed. Although it is worth it from an efficiency standpoint, now we have less maintenance. Start with the customer experience and work backwards. Think outside in, instead of inside out! It takes a champion internally to coordinate and see the different angles that are possible and as you say, also the risks of ignoring them. Sounds like you have experience from doing this!

over 5 years ago

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