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The buyer journey and your website: Discovery

- Alex Karei, marketing director for Webspec Design, blogs about web strategy.

Last month, I started a series on this blog about the buyer journey and how it impacts your website. I introduced, at a high level, what a buyer journey may look like in regards to making a purchasing decision, and outlined an example. If you missed that, you might want to jump over to that blog and catch up before following along here.

Ready to go? Good - let’s get started on the first stage I outlined: discovery!

At this stage in the buyer journey, your potential buyer doesn’t know you exist. They may not even know they have a need you can address as a company. Typically, they’re experiencing symptoms of a problem at this stage, and are beginning research to address this problem.

Through my work with websites - both at Webspec and outside of it - I’ve found that many organizations suffer with issues related to discovery. There’s often an attitude of “if I build it, they will come!” Unfortunately, real life isn’t like Field of Dreams, and there’s a little more work to be done than hoping that users will stumble upon your website by accident.

Discovery for your website can be approached a couple of different ways. One approach relates to an overall integrated marketing strategy, while the other relates to your digital strategy, particularly, your SEO.

Active Website Promotion

When you have a website, it’s important to take the time and promote it. If people don’t know that it’s there, they may not ever go on their own! This is especially important if your company or web presence is brand new to the world. Here are a couple simple ways to do this:

  1. Include Your URL. It’s easy to forget that your URL can be a small and simple detail in any type of marketing material you produce, from flyers to T-shirts. As you create marketing collateral or agree to any type of sponsorship or advertising, make sure your URL can be - if not front and center - at least easily seen by new audiences.
  2. Claim Your Business Online. Between social media accounts, review websites, and your Google My Business page, take the time to “claim” your business profile anywhere you can. This ensures that no matter what platform they’re on, users can find you. A case could be made for not claiming every social media platform (every channel isn’t right for everyone) but that’s a discussion for another day.

Optimize Your SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a trend that isn’t going away. Luckily, business owners are starting to recognize and appreciate that fact.

What’s this “SEO” thing anyway?

If you haven’t heard the term “optimize your SEO” yet, it’s a simple concept. When you optimize your SEO, you’re working to ensure that your website ends up on page one of search results. When someone Googles your industry, service, business, or product, where do you land in the search results?

Why optimize your SEO?

Although it’s a bigger job than just promoting your website, one could argue the effects of optimizing your SEO can be both more important and longer-lasting. How many times have you Googled something already today? Amit Singhal, former senior vice president of Google Search, stated in October 2015 that Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. When an individual does a Google search, they’re actively looking to solve a problem they have, essentially creating a captive audience. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure you appear in the first page of results this person reviews?

Having worked both as an in-house marketer and in an agency, I understand how difficult and confusing the land of SEO can be. Not everyone is ready to invest in consulting to improve their SEO, however, at the very least you can make sure you’re asking your webmaster the right questions when you begin to build a new website.

“Have you considered how this sitemap will affect my SEO?”

“What kind of keyword research have you conducted to recommend the language we’re using?”

“What kind of SEO plug-in are you installing for me to update post-launch?”

These are all conversations that your firm should be able to have with you. If not, you might want to look a little harder at who you’ve hired.

Whew! That was a lot of information, huh? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take just 2 or 3 suggestions away from this blog to try and begin to implement and encourage traffic to your own website. Once you’ve gotten those done, pick a couple more. Bit by bit, you will help new users “discover” your website, and then you’ll be ready for our next stage.

Join me for my next blog to learn how to address “consideration,” and be sure to leave any questions in the comments below.

Alex-Karei_YPFinalist2016Alex is the marketing director for Webspec Design, a website design and development and digital marketing agency in Urbandale. Connect with her via:

Email: alex@webspecdesign.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/alex_karei

Instagram: www.instagram.com/alex_karei

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexandriakarei

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