Making the Website a Marketing Priority

The marketing department can have a great influence over the success of a site in many different ways. With off-page factors, such as link popularity, Google PageRank and link reputation, the marketing department can have an influence over the success of a site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), often beyond that of any other department of a business.

Beyond this direct influence on how a site ranks, the marketing department should play an active role in all aspects of a sites development, coding, implementation and direction. Too often a site’s design, coding and purpose are left to an over worked and under resourced IT department, for whom simply getting it all to work is a greater priority than the impact decisions will have on sales and marketing goals.

Web sites usually have several separate and distinct goals and responsibilities. A site may need to be an online brochure or the first port of call for existing customers. It can be a place to find manuals, product information and support, as well as a tool to drive and deliver new business. In serving all these goals, the net result is often that a site ends up serving none of them particularly effectively. Many times a company’s site is simply forgotten as a marketing tool and other elements take precedence.

Responsibility for the site often falls between the gaps. Is it the IT department’s responsibility, the copywriting team or sales and marketing? This decision will have a massive influence over the inevitable result achieved, as each department will bring their own interests and preferences to the table, resulting in a site geared to these preferences.

There is plenty of scope within the framework of a site for the inclusion of all manner of functionality, from user tools to FAQ’s and online help. Unless this is a service that generates revenue, these things should not be the focus of a site.

Instead, a site should focus on generating sales and leads. Marketing should take an active role in all phases of the development of a site, and should make marketing targets not only a part of the mix, but the fundamental Key Performance Indicator (KPI) used to measure a site’s success. If compromises need to be made, they should be made with the understanding that marketing goals come first, other issues a very distant second.

Written by Bill Vasiliadis

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