I’m back from vacation with another entry and since I’m sure you’ve all been just waiting with bated breath, I’ve got a good one for you this week.
This is a list of the top five things that are completely, totally and utterly pointless marketing exercises if your site is hot garbage.
Some of these things are normally really good things to do that will help your brand presence, aid in conversions and all that but won’t do you even a little bit of good if your site is a mess. Before we dive in, I think I should explain a bit more…
How Do You Define ‘An Awful Website’?
Oh, come on. You know if your site is awful or not. Don’t even sit there and pretend like you don’t.
You already know if your page takes way too long to load, if you’re using boring manufacturer’s content that everyone (including Google) hates, or if people basically run screaming from your horrible design that is impossible to use.
This is mid-2017, people. Nothing I say when defining a terrible site should come as news.
You should know that if your site isn’t responsive (and I mean ‘modern’ responsive, not just ‘this sort of snaps to fit a mobile screen but you can’t read anything anyway’ old school responsive) that you’re in big trouble.
You should know that if you’re not using structured data like schema.org microdata or JSON-LD markup on EVERYTHING THAT YOU SHOULD BE USING IT ON, not just where you feel like it, you’ve already lost.
There’s so much more that goes into the definition of a bad site in terms of this article but those are the major ones. If your site has any, or (God help you) all of the above traits, nothing will save your business’ online presence from tanking until you fix that.
I don’t care about the ‘limitations of the system’.
I don’t care about ‘doing what you can with what you have’.
I don’t care about ‘well, we have to try something‘.
NOTHING. WILL. SAVE. YOU. UNTIL. YOU. FIX. THOSE. ISSUES.
IT. WILL. BE. AN. EXERCISE. IN. FUTILITY.
That being said, let’s dive into the top five things people just go ‘oh, let’s just try this anyway and hope for the best!’ that end up being a massive waste of time. Again, these are usually great ideas to do with good sites but will be complete wastes of time, money and energy with an awful one because you still will not convert.
5. Marketing/Conversion Funnel Planning
Sorry, that’s my natural reaction when someone says ‘marketing funnel’ to me as a digital marketer. I’ll explain:
This one, I personally think, is a time waster in general even with a good site. In theory, I understand the need for a marketing funnel but, in reality, the customer journey is never the way you map it out, so what’s the point?
Way back in 2014, which is basically eons ago in terms of digital marketing, people realized that the customer journey is not linear anymore, so really, what’s the point?
Awareness, Consideration, Intent, Purchase?
Yeah…I can do all that with a $50 buck budget and Social Media Marketing. Or Content Marketing. Or SEO. or PPC.
There’s your funnel. How about I just pick a name of any one of those channels, write that down on a one line flowchart and call it your ‘funnel’. I just saved you thirty minutes of drawing weird shapes on paper, making bullet points in Word and labeling stuff.
But let’s say you’re one of those people who still believe in this steam-powered antique of a marketing tactic and insist on mapping everything out next to your framed picture of Herbert Hoover and Victrola. You can draw up everything in the world and if your site is awful, guess what….go on, guess what will happen after the customer goes through your drawing board, Rube Goldberg Machine treasure map and hits your checkout page to buy a thing?
That’s right. They wont convert because your page takes twenty seconds to load and while you were taking all that time to draw up some elaborate scheme about how to get them to the site, you gave them zero things to do once they got there.
4. Email Marketing
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in the power of email marketing. I may have mentioned in a previous article that I started my digital marketing career in an email marketing company.
I love email marketing. It has the highest ROI of any channel out there and it can be a powerful way to stay connected with your customers if done correctly.
‘If done correctly’ is the operative phrase here but that’s an article for another day – probably next week.
That being said, you can send all the eblasts you want, put people in all sorts of drip campaigns, set up lead magnets to get people on your lists and blah blah blah but if you’re driving people to buy a product or sign up for a service and that product or service is hosted on a site that looks like trash, you’re still going to get zero traction.
Most people that I know of open their email on their phones. I can’t even remember the last time I checked my non-work email on a desktop. Are you really thinking that driving people to your non-responsive landing pages or site is a good look?
Do you have a ton of opens and clicks but almost no conversions from your email blasts? Are your prices and products competitive but still no one is buying? Well, wonder no more: your site is filth.
3. Paid Social Media (Especially Twitter)
Paid social is one of the most powerful tools out there for gaining awareness. You wouldn’t believe the wonders I (and you!) can work in terms of gaining awareness and clicks to your site with a $150 budget on Facebook or Twitter.
A small-ish budget and proper ad targetting on social can get you more clicks than any of your time-sink ‘funnel planning’ can any day of the week but, just like with email marketing, guess where people are checking social media?
You guessed it.
So why would we even bother running campaigns and throwing good money after bad if the page we’re sending them to to take action isn’t responsive and looks like garbage on mobile and takes way too long to load?
Yeah, maybe you’ll get lucky on Facebook and catch someone on their desktop (who probably still wont convert because your load times are too long) but if they’re on Twitter, which almost everyone exclusively uses on mobile, you can forget it.
2. Optimizing Your Meta Data/Keywords for SEO
I wish people would just let this one die. This is the very definition of ‘a little bit of knowledge’ being a dangerous thing.
Short, sweet and to the point: no amount of meta title tag, meta description tag or meta keyword tag (grandpa) will save any Website, Page, eCommerce Store, Blog, Church Bulletin Page, vlog, YouTube Channel, Twilight Fanfic page or Misheard Lyrics debate club if your site is a mess.
It wont happen. Meta data is not magic data. Keyword/phrase optimization is a joke in 2017.
IF. PEOPLE. TELL. YOU. META. DATA. AND. KEYWORD. OPTIMIZATION. WILL. SAVE. YOU. THEY. DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. WHAT. RANKBRAIN. IS.
There is no magic. There is no secret sauce.
Write good, useful content and fix your site. You can’t optimize useless.
1. Literally Anything Else You Do Besides Fixing Your Site
Look. Let’s get real here.
No one likes a slow site. No one likes a useless site. No one is going to put their credit card in a site that looks like it’s fresh off of a Geocities webring from 1995.
If people can’t even read that smashed up print on the ‘mobile’ version of your site, they certainly aren’t going to buy anything from you.
Nothing you do can change this.
Google hates bad sites. Users hate bad websites. There are no workarounds for this.
It’s not that hard:
- If you have a bad UX, redesign your site
- If your page takes more than three seconds to load, fix it
- If you’re using horrible manufacturer’s content, start changing it
- If you are limited as to what kind of code you can implement, migrate your site
- If you can’t fix any of these issues, MIGRATE YOUR SITE
Yes, a migration is expensive and time consuming but if you ever expect to make any sales, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Don’t throw good money after bad trying workarounds that won’t work, spending tons on social media only to get a ton of traffic to the page and getting no sales and other techniques that are basically putting band-aids on bullet wounds.
Just give it up and change platforms. You can’t possibly do any worse than you already are and who knows, you just might actually make decent money when it’s all over.