In 2011 we wrote a blog post for TELUS Talks Business and referenced Paul Timoteo of Car Cost Canada. He started his business in 1999 but didn’t gain significant market share until he decided to harness the power of digital marketing. By the end of 2011 he had 28 full time employees and 130,000 paid subscribers. It was quite an accomplishment in a cluttered and competitive market segment. Today he is listed on the TSX and is a publicly traded company.

“We were enjoying steady growth but I figured we could do better if I could just figure out this whole Internet thing”, said Timoteo.

Fast forward five years later and nine out of 10 business owners I speak with say the exact same thing. If I could just get this digital marketing thing under control…

Would you give your website a pass or fail?

We developed a scorecard to help you assess your web presence…..

Score the following statements on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “poor/never” and 10 being “always/outstanding”…

  1. I have Google Analytics (or another analytics package) running on my site and check it weekly to understand who is coming to my website, what they view and how long they stay.
  2. I update my website weekly with new content that is optimized for the keywords I know my customers are searching.
  3. I spend the same time on my web presence that I do on other sales and marketing activities in my business like trade shows, networking, telemarketing or sales rep prospecting.
  4. I have signed up for at least one social media tool like Linked In and use it weekly with respect to who is connecting with me and looking at my profile.
  5. I have made a 12 month commitment to building my web presence and realize that a digital strategy is part of our business plan.

How did you score?

20 or less – Total up the numbers from each answer and if you scored less than 20, you fail in your ability to integrate your website and digital marketing strategy into your business.

20-30 – You are getting it but you should dig deeper into what people are doing on your website to understand how to align the buying process of your potential customers with how they interact with you online.

30-40 – You are venturing into rock star territory and have likely realized that a strong digital marketing strategy for your business does much more than just generate leads. It helps you to nurture relationships in a much better way than traditional marketing tactics and you have likely found new business opportunities via the web.

40 or higher – Your business has taken off. You can’t keep up with the demand.

Revisit the questions on the scorecard…

  1. There is data available to you via tools like Google Analytics that can help you make informed business decisions. Let’s say you are wondering about where your web traffic comes from and whether you are getting found for phrases on the web that prospects who don’t know you would use to find you. This is a whole pool of potential customers that you would never have access to otherwise.
  2. Search engines and human beings both love new content. Search engines like it because it gives them something to crawl and something to rank. Humans like it because they want fresh ideas and to work with companies that are current and timely. If the last press release on your site was posted in June 2009, take it down and drive on. No one wants to read anything on the web that is three years old (my 2011 TELUS post excluded).
  3. 98% of people searching for a solution to a business problem start their search in some sort of search engine (Google, LinkedIn YouTube, Twitter, etc). Forget all of the other marketing tactics and build a better website. This is a no-brainer.
  4. People like to people watch. This is what social media is about and it’s free. At the very least, a business owner should leverage Linked In. Its professional, a great source of information and its personal. Know who is out there to connect with and see who is looking for you.
  5. Time, commitment and execution are the most important ingredients to harnessing a digital marketing strategy for your business. It didn’t take a week for your telemarketing strategy to pay off back in 1999 and a sales rep in most industries takes at least 12 months to ramp up. You have to view your website and digital marketing exactly the same way.

What makes a good website?

The reason we recycled this post from 2011 is that it is just as relevant today as it was five years ago but more importantly we are about to release our research report, “What makes a good website?”

There are millions of websites, but how many of them are truly effective?

Have you ever visited a website and left after just a few seconds versus visiting a website and realized that you’ve spent over half an hour browsing it because it’s good and useful. Our research report is based on a study conducted by Marketing CoPilot in association with the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation at Georgian College to examine “what makes a good website”. The perspectives of both buyers and sellers of goods and services are used to evaluate the relevance of multiple components in integrated digital strategy that enhances the buying process and builds a business.

A total of 246 respondents initiated the survey. This report categorizes the respondents broadly into two types: i) seller of products or services and ii) buyer of products or services. There was fairly equal representation of both types of respondents. Based on the study, key areas of improvement focused on mobile device friendliness, rate of content update, website accessibility, email marketing and enhancing website features. Further discussion examines the reasons behind low online engagement of users, and how it can be improved to enhance the return on investment and expand business opportunities.

We hope you’ll sign up to get the research report.

Better yet, we hope you use the data to embark on a better digital marketing strategy for your business and achieve a passing grade not just from yourself but from your customers and prospects.

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