When you read about marketing in connection with the web, it seems that 99.9% of it is focused on tactics to drive traffic. Certainly there is a place for that. What needs to come first however, is a strategy for what should happen when that traffic reaches your website. Will you make progress toward the goals of your marketing plan, such as gaining perception as more technically up-to-date, or as a higher quality provider than your competition? If your goal is internet sales or leads, will visitors find themselves motivated to buy or make an inquiry? That’s where marketing strategy elements like branding, positioning, and targeting come in. Neglect these strategic elements and the rest of your marketing expenditures are at risk of being wasted.
At FrozenBlues Media we typically kick off a web development project with a strategic marketing discussion around the client’s marketing plan and goals, unique value proposition (what sets the company and / or product apart), general target market, and web target market. That helps set definition and scope for the art direction and development work — if the client’s product is a higher-value, higher-quality product or service, their website needs to have a different approach than a business that revolves around volume and discount prices. If the web target market is primarily young professional women the website needs to be different than one directed primarily toward forty-something men. Targeting works.
Hopefully you have already jumped ahead to why this work needs to go on before investing in traffic-generating tactics. If you succeed in drawing your target demographic to your site - but they get a bad or indifferent first-impression - you’ve lost them on the next click, done disservice to your brand, and lost money in the process!