Digital is one of the hottest segments in the industry right now, and perhaps the most misunderstood. For many, the first thoughts turn to the flashy fun toys, the various platforms, and dreams of becoming YouTube famous. While there are many pieces that play into the digital world, there is one that should be your biggest focus – and that’s your website.
What you own, and what you don’t
This is important for anyone charged with marketing to understand. Remember the days (not too long ago), when you’d buy ad space, run your print ad, or air your commercial? You didn’t own the magazine, television or radio station. What you really “owned” was your message. Think of digital the same way. Unless your name is Mark or Sergey, you don’t own things like Facebook or Google. They are very valuable pieces of your marketing mix, but they’re not yours, and they get to change the rules whenever they want.
What you do own is your website, and the ability to control what you broadcast, how you frame your story, and how people interact with your brand.
Over the years, we’ve had clients come to us who have relied solely on social media platforms, posting all of their news and content on these third-party sites as opposed to leveraging the platforms to encourage people to visit their company’s website. Think of it this way, you get to know each other and “date” in public spaces. Social media is great for this! You have exposure to a lot of people who are interested in what you have to say, and have the opportunity to attract more each day.
But where do you really solidify the relationship? On your own turf, maybe even behind closed doors. Your website is your turf, and it’s the only digital tool you own.
Your Turf is Your Marketing Hub
You get to control your turf, and the experience that visitors have when they come. It’s where you share your brand, image and message with the online world on your terms. It’s your marketing hub where your digital strategy starts, and that guides the rest of what that plan looks like.
Use your website to share your stories and messaging. Ask yourself why you’re including what you are, and whether it is valuable to your audience. Identify where your core audience is, and which social platform or other online campaigns are applicable to them. Then develop strategy for each.
What Can Happen When You Ignore Your Website
In today’s world, the unthinkable isn’t so unthinkable. Let’s imagine that you’ve posted all of your valuable content Facebook, for example. You’ve got good engagement, thousands of followers, and then … Your page gets hacked. Someone mistakenly reports you for sharing something you shouldn’t have. You lose control of your page, or maybe Facebook even takes your page down. You’ve lost – not only your content, but also your audience’s sole means of experiencing your brand. Think it can’t happen to you? Well, these people didn’t either. And trust me, Facebook is no help when it happens. We’ve been through it with clients, and it’s not fun.
However, had you been focusing on directing people to your website, continuously working on its visibility, quality, and content (and leveraging social channels to get visitors there), you still have your primary platform intact. Your audience is in the habit of going there, and you get to continue building that relationship.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re big advocates of the right mix of social media being a part of your digital strategy. It’s a huge asset that’s cost-effective, and that’s opened up many opportunities in the world of digital marketing. Broadcasting your brand here is essential. But my message today is this: create a solid strategy to use these tools while building it all around your property. Your website.