Websites are an essential part of your brand and marketing ecosystem. Put the right strategy in place to use your website for sales and lead generation.

Twenty years ago, when I started working in digital media, our sales meetings began by explaining what the internet was and identifying opportunities it presented to businesses. These businesses included Nabisco Foods, Canadian Tire, MacLean Hunter and even Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall. Mind you, this was 20 years ago. Most of those brands have their own digital teams working on their digital properties.

But what about small businesses? What were they doing online 20 years ago? Nothing, and why would they? We were all still asking the question of how long would this “internet” thing last?

Today we have seen the change for small- and medium-sized businesses in realizing that a website is an essential marketing asset. The challenge, however, is that the development of a website has become a simple checkbox on the marketing to-do list, but the strategy that should go into the website is lost. It often goes like this:

• Website - check

• Email newsletters - check

• Facebook page - check

• Twitter account - maybe later

• Linked In company page - what for?

• PPC/display ad campaign - would love to but...

• Automated marketing emails - what's that?

• And of course the central CRM - huh?

Let's go back to "what makes a good website?":

A website is a living entity for your business. It should change over time, growing wiser and more sophisticated, and always adapting to changing objectives as the business itself evolves. So, start small. Define your initial objectives and create a website to meet those objectives.

This is our “good website” checklist:

• Defined customer journey, with clear calls-to-action (CTAs)

• Professional design, which is mobile friendly

• Basic SEO (this does not need to be expensive!)

• Social links and sharing options

• Constantly updated content

• CRM- enabled

This checklist does not require a big budget, nor does it require all of the bells and whistles. Start with the basics, but make sure it is professional and engaging. Find a partner that understands marketing, as well as technology, to get you the marketing results you want and the reliability you need.

Once the basics are in place, be sure not to put a permanent check on the checklist for “website”. In order to continually bring in new customers, and engage existing ones, you need to continue enhancing the content and features of your site as frequently as possible.

To find out more about what your website objectives should be, and how to develop it, contact us.

At Mawazo, we help business owners grow their revenue by creating a measurable strategy for their digital marketing and executing it as their marketing team. We acquire leads for your company, engage them with personalized communication, turn them into customers and retain their loyalty.