Originally published on Horse Nation.
I know we've never met, and I haven't seen your online store, but if you're running an outdated website, you're losing money. How? Because while your social activity and digital ads are pulling people in, your dusty site is giving people the wrong impression; that you're outdated or possibly not in business anymore.
It's causing you to lose the trust of potential customers - a trust you're working so hard to earn.
How Does a Bad First Impression Break Trust?
Customers tend to trust a site that's up-to-date in design, form, and function. A website that's looked after, is mobile friendly and relevant. Is yours?
I'm asking these hard questions because your website is the most critical element of your digital strategy - even more than your social presence and ads.
Think of it this way, your ads and social activity act as an Uber that drives customers to your home. However, when they arrive, your home looks like no one's lived there in years. Looking around all they see is dust and mismatched furniture. It gives your home an uncomfortable feeling and makes visitors wonder, "did they leave for the store and decide never to return?". It's weird.
I know 'dusty, dated or uncomfortable' wasn't the vibe you were going for when you created the site; you were going for 'inviting, clean, and easy to use,' right?
Just as you want your home to make visitors feel at ease, you want the same vibe to radiate from your online store. Because when customers feel comfortable and trust you're site, they stay and shop.
Triggers, SEO, Descriptors, OH MY! Have you Thought it all Through?
Design is the pretty face your website wears, but the brains do the heavy lifting. Tactical operations such as copy optimized for SEO, or the undercurrent that guides users precisely to where you want them to go, acts as the bridge that carries customers from casually admiring your products to becoming a buying customer.
Having a wide variety of website platforms to create a homemade site makes it easier than ever to get your online store up and running as soon as possible. However, what's missing in most homemade sites is the crucial optimization work. So what I mean by that is the action of taking a new website off its default settings so Google can find it. Yes, that is a setting you have to 'turn off' sometimes. It's crazy, I know.
Building an overly visual site is helpful from an attractive standpoint, but poses a problem for SEO because having good copy and copy that's optimized is essential. In other words, it may look pretty, but leaving your site's tactical operations behind gives you a false sense of security. Your website is not the field of dreams. Building it doesn't mean customers will flood in. Not to mention, focusing solely on design and ignoring the customer's experience suggests that even if they do come, they won't spend their hard-earned money because it's too hard to give you their money. In short, building a website and sharing the link won't do anything for your brand if it's not correctly set up in every aspect and maintained.
For a site to benefit ALL your marketing efforts, it must include the right words which give the audience "the feels", have the proper systems in place to guide people to your site, and have a design that's pretty and functional.
I know this sounds like a lot, but taking the time to make sure your site is working for you is a 'must' on every online store's needs especially if you're looking to survive the first few years in business (and beyond).
Does the Carpet Match the Drapes?
Another critical element in your digital strategy is making sure your social output matches your website's tone and focus.
If your website is clean, simple, and product-focused, your social media photos and tone need to match the brand. It's how customer's get to know you. Showing up in their newsfeed as a version of your brand that doesn't match your website will confuse your audience.
If you confuse, you lose.
Facts Tell, Stories Sell
Ensuring your website matches every facet of your digital strategy makes storytelling wildly easier. Because now you can focus on helping your audience get to know your brand and feel confident your website won't let you down.
It's now a well-oiled machine that's geared up to convert silent stalkers into sales. Moreover, using that logic, storytelling can slide to the top of your mind and take the lead. Doing so turns your brand into a living, breathing thing in which people can form an emotional connection. The very thing you knew was there all along, living inside your heart and mind. Storytelling is a great way to share it with the world.
In the end, it's not a website link that makes you money; it's the combination of digital marketing and your brand's unique creative approach. Moreover, if you're looking to raise your sales numbers, start by bringing your site to life, optimizing your words correctly, leaning heavier on your site's form and function, and setting it up to truly do something for your brand and bottom line. Isn't it time your website works just as hard as you do?