Your website can be positioning you for success even if it’s not driving sales.
At a certain size and success level, it seems like many companies just let their website go to seed—much like my unused garden plots in the backyard. It’s done its job, right? You built it in a burst of enthusiasm to showcase your company at its best. Then you grew, the sales engine turned over and started purring, and the website became a sporadic priority depending on the background of the marketing director and staff. Your attention turned to the connections being made at trade shows, conferences, or on LinkedIn. Now, every time updating the website comes up, it’s tabled as a priority because it’s not driving revenue.
And thus, the marketing team becomes the steward of an aging library of content that grows more out of date by the day as the conversations around the website fill with caveats and apologies.
But your website (and marketing team) has powers that far exceed that narrow vision—if you include them in the conversation. After all, many of the factors that first caused you to build your website are unchanged: It’s still the digital face of your business, the most public and accessible authority on your company, and the one piece of online real estate fully in your control. Here are three ways you can achieve value from your website beyond direct sales.
1. Talent acquisition and retention.
Attracting and retaining top talent was already a common concern pre-COVID. Post-COVID it is, shall we say, an epidemic. Getting work is no longer the problem, but bottlenecks caused by production delays due to staffing can grind business to a halt. The quality of talent brought in by recruiters or placement agencies just isn’t cutting it—with many placements not even showing up for their first scheduled day.
The same marketing tools we use to attract and engage leads can be just as effective at attracting talent:
- Internal interviews used as part of a competitive landscape analysis are an invaluable way to get fresh insights into company culture and job satisfaction.
- The same laser-focused paid ads you use for prospecting can be used to target ideal employment candidates.
- The high-value real estate on your homepage talking about products and services? Pitch the workplace to your potential employees with just as much enthusiasm. Change the CTAs from sales actions to “Join the team.”
- Photos of actual team members on your website or social media shows that you are making an actual effort to make your company relatable to prospective workers.
Imagine if you had a direct line to the “right fit” employees. What would that competitive advantage be worth to you?
2. Acquisition positioning.
When a buyer is looking to make an acquisition—sometimes to expand capacity, sometimes to expand capabilities—their target’s website needs to leave an impeccable first impression. They need to know that the business doesn’t need immediate triage in any major area, it runs at a profit, and is built to do so even if leadership transitions out.
“But wait—” you say, “the website is a marketing tool, and they want to know about the inner workings of the business!”
True, but think about when you’re at a trade show or a conference and you meet someone for the first time. During those first few exchanges, you’re listening for words, phrases, confidence, and other signals that they are familiar with your industry which are often clues as to how experienced they are. There’s a lot you can infer from a short conversation!
Your website works the same way:
- Real photography and video shows that you aren’t afraid to show off a little, and you aren’t afraid to invest in putting your people front and center.
- Well-written, succinct copy shows that you know how to present your expertise without getting in your own way.
- Highlighting company culture events and employee achievements signals that you are deeply invested in employee satisfaction, which says good things about your talent retention, and in turn the predictability of your production schedule.
- Regularly published articles not only demonstrate subject matter authority (the quality of your workforce), they also show a consistent effort—and the implied systems that keep it coming.
All of this works together to show that your company is invested in marketing itself, which it can’t do if it isn’t profitable in the first place!
3. Support and resources.
Developing useful and insightful support resources and housing them on your website tells visitors that you are in it for the long haul, but it’s important to approach the task thoughtfully and with an eye for quality. If the support materials are dated or poorly written, that’s worse than not having them at all: they came to you for help, and you wasted their time. Yikes!
But wait, isn’t this an engineer’s job? How can marketing possibly help?
- Interviews with stakeholders internally and externally keep concerns in alignment so the materials you develop are timely and relevant.
- Well-written, useful resources demonstrate value and expertise before and after the sale.
- A support/resources section that is organized, searchable, and intuitive to navigate builds trust and becomes a tool for your support staff rather than a liability.
- A robust support library can double as training material for new hires and work alongside SOPs and other process documentation in employee onboarding.
Your website has a fuller story to tell.
One of the early steps in our brand process has to do with audience development. For sales-focused clients, that can mean defining different customer groups: executive decision makers, shop-floor managers, etc. But this discovery work often reveals a broader range of audiences than direct sales, such as current customers, prospective employees, members of the general public, or thought leaders in your industry.
In addressing these diverse audiences, your website is the most valuable positioning tool at your disposal. So if your sales needs are being met elsewhere, it’s time to reexamine what else your website could achieve.