It is fair to say that it is a must for businesses to have web presence in today’s day and age. And I’m not saying that because I’m a digital marketer myself. It is based upon my experience as a consumer and observer. Whenever I make mentions or recommendations of a business to a friend, the next moment will see him whipping out his smartphone, adding “what’s the name of the business again?”
Yet, it sometimes confuses a business. Where do I start? If want to build a website or I want to make my website mobile-friendly? Intuitively, a web designer/developer can do the job. The job title says it all. So you Google for a web designer in Singapore, like all savvy consumers do.
Fast forward weeks later, ta-da, you have a mobile-optimized fancy-looking website. But something is missing. Only your friends, relatives and family members are viewing your website. Actually, you are not sure if they are even viewing it, because it is not being tracked.
Digital marketer comes in
The obvious next step is to hire a digital marketer to bring people to your gorgeous looking website.
To your horror, your digital marketer reveals that your website is not suitable for marketing. You either revamp your website or build a new website. You found out that 1st choice is actually not viable because the digital marketer is unable read the code written by your web developer. That means you have to pay again to your web designer.
No, this is not the latest scam scheme in Singapore devised by digital marketers and web designers. Search engine optimization requires on-page tweaks to your website. Facebook & Search engine marketing mandates you to build clean-looking landing pages on your website. Email marketing needs integration of 3rd party software to your website. All of them require access to your website.
By reading this article, you are potentially saving yourself mid four figures amount.
Now, what’s the best way to go about it? Let us rewind.
Back to zero.
Before you begin, it is important to ask:
What is the purpose of your website?
If you have decided at the outset that your website will not do more than to provide information for people who already knows about you, then hire a web designer.
If you are looking at reaching out to the cold market online, a digital marketer can come in handy.
What does a digital marketer do?
So, what are the possible reasons that a website is unsuitable for marketing?
a) Website architecture – It is not enough to have the basic pages of ‘about us’, ‘contact us’ and ‘home’ if you want to do digital marketing. Each page of a website can potentially be a traffic generator. Digital marketers ensure that the website is planned for maximum search traffic and optimal user navigational experience for high conversion rates
b) Technology – Using technology to lock in a customer is an all-too-common retention tactic used by companies. This results in having to go back to the software company every time in order to make changes. The problem comes when the technology used is unable to support 3rd party marketing tools such as analytics, email marketing or lead generation software. Employing content management system such as WordPress solves that issue.
c) Tracking system is not in place – Before commencing any digital marketing effort, Google analytics has to be installed in the website. It monitors the results for different channels and allows one to optimize their effort.
d) Sales element – Digital marketing makes use of your website as a conversion tool, which works like a salesman that sells your business for you. If your website is not planned at the start from a sales and leads generation perspective, it is like a vacant shopfront.
Let’s think simple. Say you set up a store to sell beauty products in Orchard road. Naturally you hire a contractor and/or interior designer to do up the place. They are fantastic at designing and turning it into a treat for the eye.
Now, whether your shop can bring in sales is another matter altogether. It depends on two main factors: traffic to your store and conversion of traffic to sales.
Traffic + Conversion = Sales.
Coming back online, your digital marketer is responsible for the traffic and conversion of your website.
Here is what happens when you work with a digital marketer:
a) Understand your business : your unique situation, goals and plans
b) Understand your current marketing strategies
c) Decide best digital marketing channel for you to tap on
In some cases, they may even suggest that you do not need a website. A Facebook page can do the trick.
Limitations of a digital marketer
Each digital marketer has varying skillsets depending on their background, but you won’t generally be able to get these from a pure digital marketer.
Branding and design capabilities. You may be looking for a logo that can reflect your brand’s personality. Or perhaps a website that can bring out the identity of your company. In which case, hire a web designer or a brand consultant for this.
Multifunctional web property. If you are a start-up wanting to build an online booking system or a social network for your community, that is again beyond what a digital marketer does. Web designers and web developers will be able to meet your needs.
To sum it all up, a digital marketer can help you with traffic and sales while a web designer can aid in the branding of your company. Like what Abraham Lincoln said, “ Give me 6 hours to chop a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” , take some time to plan and decide the objective of your website before spending any time, effort and money to hastily kick-start your web presence. This will save you a lot of undue time and money.
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Ted is the director of Ice Cube Marketing. His insights on marketing has been featured in AsiaOne Business, Singapore Business Review , e27 and TechinAsia. He graduated with a 1st class honors degree in Business IT from NTU. While not planning campaigns for clients, he enjoys a good read on books related to psychology.