The SmartCopy Project

Ideas & Insights to Grow Your Business

3 Reasons A Website Audit is Smart for Your Business

Is your website killing sales? Find out how a website audit benefits your business.

Getting a website up and running is relatively easy nowadays. With over 1 billion sites on the web today (Internet Live Stats), it’s safe to say that virtually every active business has one.

Yet, when I talk to owners, salespeople and marketing directors at B2B companies about conducting a website audit — especially businesses with complex products or services and long sales pipelines — I hear comments like, I don’t need that…nobody uses our site, or we don’t use our website…that’s not how we sell.

So, I ask them, why do you have a website? Your website should be a powerful tool for new business generation, lead nurturing and revenue. When you say the website isn’t working or nobody uses it, what you’re really saying is that you invested time and money into a tool with very little ROI, and that you’re not sure why it’s not working harder to bring in business.

How a Website Audit Benefits Your B2B Business

 

Your website could be underperforming for a variety of reasons. And you may not even know exactly what’s wrong.

And while it may seem simple to run a quick website audit, do you know where to begin once you’ve diagnosed the problem? 

There are many factors that go into fixing (and building) a great website, so it’s not enough to rely on the expertise of your techy nephew who built the site 5 years ago and hasn’t touched it since. And be careful if you’re talking to a web developer/IT guru, if they’re focused solely on SEO or technical aspects.

Rather than dismiss the problem, it’s more effective to conduct a comprehensive website audit to measure your website’s performance against additional criteria.

What is a website audit?

A website is a lot like your car’s engine. It drives your business forward. But without proper service or inspection, it can deteriorate or break down. And like your vehicle, catching and fixing problems early saves on expensive repairs and ensures optimal performance.

Think of a website audit as a thorough inspection of your website and how well it’s functioning.

Many website audits focus solely on SEO (search engine optimization) and off-page technical factors. It makes sense. If your business can’t be found by search engines, you’ll never build the traffic you need to attract prospects and customers.

While it’s true that SEO is a critical component of a website, we can’t forget that websites are built for users — your living and breathing prospective customers.

That means the best website audits should cover 5 key areas: technical code, visual design, usability, copy/messaging, and SEO.

To get the best performance, or in this case, ROI, your website should be the hub of a marketing and sales system that works in sync with brand elements, email, social media, copy/content and sales processes. 

Can a website audit benefit my business?

If you hear the word ‘audit’, don’t panic. A website audit is good thing. A thorough review of your website provides clarity and focus on what’s working on your site today, where it falls short, and what steps you can take to improve your site, rank higher, and generate more leads. 

If done correctly, a website audit should help you identify:

• Why you’re not getting traffic to the site

• Why prospects aren’t taking action once they’re on the site

• The interaction between your prospect and content, visual design and navigation

• Site performance issues

• Ways to align your sales, marketing and customer service processes

Once problem areas have been identified, you’ll also be able to better isolate solutions and understand which changes can have the most effect on improving your bottom-line.

Still not sure you need to fix your website? Here are 3 reasons why a website audit benefits your business…

#1: Attract Prospective Customers

If you’re a B2B business, you expect your website to bring in customers and make money. Simple, right?

After all, you didn’t put up a site just to have it serve as a fancy electronic brochure.

But once you launched the site, does anyone in the company visit it regularly? Does anyone refresh it with new content, fresh images or updated contact information?

Or, are you so used to the website the way it is, that it’s easy to overlook or diminish any problems a user might have?

If your website isn’t prospect friendly, you could be losing out on potential business.

This includes some very common (and costly) website problems and issues that can be identified quickly through a website audit:

Poor or outdated design. Let me guess. Your site is circa 2009-2013. Maybe a header on the home page, an about page with a stiff corporate value and mission statement. Logo, color, and images that haven’t been updated— with uninspired copy full of jargon and business speak. Remember, you have less than 3 seconds to capture attention. First impressions matter.

No analytics. If you don’t have a way of measuring who is coming to your site, where they’re going and what kinds of information they’re looking for, then you can’t tell me that “nobody is using the website.” At a minimum, install Google Analytics. It’s free and will give you baseline site traffic information.

Poorly organized navigation. Ever go to a site and get so lost trying to find simple information about a product or service? Your prospects came to your site looking for specific information. Reward them with a clear path, an easy way in and through the site.

No contact information. Your website is the wrong place to play hard to get. If you want customers to find you, make sure that, at a minimum, your address, phone number, hours of operation and a way to contact you via email are easily accessible on your site.

Broken links. There are two big problems with broken links. First, search engines penalize you for not keeping your site current. And more importantly, users become frustrated and it undermines your credibility. A website audit will easily identify and catch broken links that can be removed or modified.

No mobile version. More users now access the Internet from mobile devices than desktop computers. In late 2016, the combined traffic for mobile and tablet devices tipped the balance at 51.2% vs 48.7% for desktop access (StatCounter, 2016). If your site doesn’t have a mobile first approach, you are losing out on potential customers. Don’t make your visitors pinch and stretch to read your information. They’ll quickly lose patience and move on.

#2: You’ll Create Stronger Content

What’s the point of creating useful or relevant copy and content if your target audience won’t (or can’t) find it?

It used to be that search engines rewarded keyword rich content with top rankings. But that’s not necessarily true anymore. Today’s search engines are more focused on serving up the best content overall, which means they’re taking much more than word count or the number of times you use the keyword into consideration.

Again, a website audit must touch on SEO improvement needed areas for better search engine indexing. But, search engines and people keep coming back to your website because of the quality of the copy and content you offer. 

Remember, your visitors are coming to your site with fresh eyes. Is the site outdated? Does it work on mobile devices? Do you quickly engage visitors and validate that they’re in the right place? Do you tell them very quickly how you’ll solve their problems (and not talk about yourself)? Do you make it easy for them to find what they came to your site for in the first place?

If it’s done right, an external website audit analyzes the website copy, images, videos, forms, tone, voice, headlines, calls-to-action and service offerings from a user-centered perspective as well as an SEO perspective.

Auditing your content (in conjunction with analytics) helps you understand what kind of information visitors are looking for, how they find it, which types of content they like and most importantly, how they act upon that information.

Once you have this information, it’s much easier to create a solid content strategy for your website and blog that focuses specifically on what your prospective clients want. And the good news? Better content leads to better organic rankings with search engines.

#3: Your Website Works as a Sales Tool

If 67% of a buyer’s journey is now done digitally (Sirius Decisions Summit, 2015), your website is a critical tool at any stage in the buyer’s journey. That doesn’t mean your website replaces the relationships your company has worked hard to build and nurture. Those interactions should never go away.

But what it does mean is that today’s buyer simply does not rely on salespeople like they once did. The way your prospects analyze problems, evaluate solutions and make purchases has changed drasitcally over the last 5 years.

Why does this matter to your business?

Assuming expert studies are correct and many B2B websites today are ineffective for today’s customer, your salesperson should not be threated by a website audit or website redesign. Yes, salespeople absolutely do matter. Your business isn’t replacing face-to-face selling and the people that are great at it. Rather, it’s a ‘both-and’ world, meaning the website is a necessary tool to augment your sales and customer service arsenal. 

The key to success, however, is to use the website as a hub from which you build and align effective marketing, lead generation, lead management and sales proccesses towards a single goal  the creation of predictable, sustainable and scalable growth. 

ROI is why you’re in business. If your website isn’t helping to turn visitors into customers, there’s no point. A website audit provides the clarity you need to build a hard-working website that not only generates leads, but provides critical (and relevant) information to prospects when and where they’re looking for it.

50 B2B Social Media Facts For Your ‘Boring’ Business

B2B Social Media Facts

Not convinced that social media is right for your B2B business? We’ve gathered 50 social media facts just for B2B marketers that might make you reconsider how you use (or plan to use) social media in your own sales and marketing.

Think social media is just for B2C brands? Think again. Just because you are in a so-called ‘boring’ business or industry doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use social media for your B2B business. 

As many B2B companies continue to integrate social media channels into their overall marketing efforts, social media has gotten a bad rap as a “throw-away” network without a chance for positive ROI.

B2B social media doesn’t need to be boring, inconsistent, distant or isolated from the rest of your sales and marketing efforts. It can be profitable, measurable and scalable.

As more B2B businesses become active and focused on growth through social media, your business can’t afford to lag in both its adoption and effective use.

50 B2B Social Media Facts

Social Media Presence

  • 93% of B2B marketers use social media (other than blogs), making it the most common B2B marketing tactic. (Content Marketing Institute, 2016)
  • More than 76% of all B2B marketers use at least one of the top three social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to distribute content. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
  • The average B2B company uses 6 social media networks (Content Marketing Institute, 2016)
  • The average social media user has 5+ accounts. (Link Humans, 2015)
  • B2B marketers are much more likely to use blogging (78%) as the preferred type of content in social media marketing compared to B2C marketers (6%). (Social Media Examiner, 2016)
  • There are more mobile phones in the world than toothbrushes, with 2.08 billion active social media accounts worldwide. (Link Humans, 2015)
  • 56% of social marketers are focused on engagement metrics, primarily because 61.1% feel that measuring ROI is a top challenge. (Simply Measured, 2016)
  • While both B2B and B2C marketers are interested in learning about live video and podcasting options, B2B marketers are much more likely to increase their podcasting activity (30%) than B2C marketers (23%). (Social Media Examiner, 2016)

LinkedIn

When was the last time your company ranked at the bottom of anything? If you’re not using LinkedIn to distribute engaging, educational content, you’re among only 11% of B2B businesses in the United States that don’t have a LinkedIn presence. As a network of more than 350 million business professionals, LinkedIn is an indispensable platform to promote products and services, build credibility and interact with other B2B decision makers.

  • 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, which makes it the most used B2B social media platform. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
  • 41% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most important social network they use — and 81% say they use it to help launch new products. (Webbiquity, 2016)
  • Need to reach decision makers? Need to reach people who have money? A full 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn to make purchasing decisions — and 44% of users make more than $75,000. More importantly, 76% prefer to use recommendations from their professional network, making it the perfect network for social selling. (Hootsuite, 2016)
  • LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • Even though most B2B marketers use LinkedIn, only 28% of B2B companies use LinkedIn ads, which is still more than double that of their B2C counterparts (11%). (Social Media Examiner, 2016)
  • 40% of B2B marketers who republish content from their blog are more likely to republish that content on LinkedIn. (Social Media Examiner, 2016)

Twitter

Many B2B businesses are skeptical when it comes to using Twitter as a worthwhile marketing tool. But Twitter isn’t just for teens or consumer brands. It’s an excellent addition to your marketing mix if you’re trying to position your company as a thought leader, engage your audience, drive traffic or give your brand some personality.

  • As of February 2017, Twitter has more than 319 million average monthly active users and 1.3 billion registered users. Of those, 100 million log in and use Twitter daily, with 500 million Tweets sent each day (that’s 6,000 every second). (DMR, 2017)
  • Have an international audience? Twitter has nearly 4X as many international users as in the United States. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • Over the last three years, there has been a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter. Companies that use Twitter for customer service see a 19% lift in customer satisfaction. (Brandwatch Blog, 2016)
  • More importantly, 76% of followers are more likely to recommend a brand after receiving friendly customer service. (Brandwatch Blog, 2016)
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more click-throughs, 89% more likes and 150% more retweets. (Brandwatch Blog, 2016)
  • Does your company have multiple audiences or niches for your product or service? About 63% of brands worldwide have multiple Twitter accounts — mainly to cover different departments, tailored services and to provide specialized customer service. (GrowthHackers, 2015)
  • Large Summary Cards (140 characters plus a large picture with short description) that give your reader a preview of the content before clicking through to an article or website, generate 3X more interactions than a summary or image only. (BuzzSumo, 2015)

Facebook

Even though LinkedIn and Twitter rank ahead of Facebook as the B2B social media platforms of choice today, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with potential customers through Facebook. For example, it is a great tool to showcase your company culture for potential customers or future employees.

As Facebook continues to evolve with enhancements such as Messenger, Facebook Live, Pages, Groups and Events, it will become an increasingly important tool for B2B marketers to understand and build into their social strategy. 

  • 73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • The “like” button is clicked 3 million times every minute on Facebook. (Link Humans, 2015)
  • Facebook continues to have the most engaged users. 70% of all Facebook users log on daily, including 43% who check in several times a day. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 87% of all Facebook users access the network via mobile devices. (The Next Web, 2017)
  • Content is still king. Facebook sends 82% of social media traffic to longer stories and 84% of social traffic to shorter news articles. (HubSpot, 2016)

YouTube

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the value of video? B2B marketers leverage YouTube not only for education and engagement, but to create brand experiences that tap into human emotion and influence.

  • YouTube is big. With more than 1 billion active users, it is the biggest online video destination on the Internet, where users can watch 46,000 years’ worth of content annually. (Venture Beat, 2016)
  • 70% of B2B marketers are using video content. (LinkedIn, 2015)
  • As many as 74% of B2B marketers use YouTube to host video content. (Content Marketing Institute, 2016)
  • YouTube is commonly used by larger, technical businesses. The top 10 B2B brands using YouTube are (in order ranking): Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, HP, HubSpot and Maersk. (Pepper Virtual Assistants, 2016)
  • YouTube is the top content distribution channel that marketers say they will be adding to their marketing mix in the next year. (HubSpot, 2016)

Instagram

It’s hard to believe that this social media newcomer is already seven years old. Even though Instagram started as a simple photo-sharing app, today it is one of the most successful apps in the world. While B2C marketers are more likely to use Instagram than B2B marketers, the recent acquisition of Instagram by Facebook signals a huge shift in how it will eventually come to be used by all brands, which means that B2B marketers shouldn’t neglect some key Instagram social media facts and statistics.

  • Instagram is the fastest-growing major social network, yet it’s being used by only 26% of B2B marketers. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
  • Instagram now has more than 500 million active monthly users — with over 40 billion shared photos (that’s an average of 95 million photos and videos per day!). (Hootsuite Blog, 2016)
  • After looking at an Instagram advertising post, 75% of users take an action (such as visiting a website). (Hootsuite Blog, 2016)
  • Instagram is used by 48.8% of all brands — a number that is expected to rise to 70.7% by 2017. Those numbers are projected to edge out Twitter brand usage. (Hootsuite Blog, 2016)
  • As of June 2016, 80% of all Instagram users come from countries outside of the United States, representing $1.53 billion in global mobile ad revenue for Instagram. By 2017, Instagram’s global ad revenues are expected to reach $2.81 billion. (Instagram, 2016)
  • Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. And just as importantly, 70% of the most-used hashtags are branded (#BMW and #MercedesBenz were tops). (Simply Measured, 2015)
  • Is your business focused on products/services for women? A 2015 Pew Research study of U.S. residents found that more women use Instagram than men. The study showed that 31% of women and 24% of men regularly use Instagram to like, share and post. (Pew Research, 2015)
  • 55% of all online 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. are using Instagram. The next largest user age demographic is 30- to 49-year-olds at 28%, followed by 50- to 64-year-olds at 11%. (Pew Research, 2015)
  • Interestingly, the same study found that 32% of online adults who live in urban areas use Instagram. In the suburbs, that number drops down to 28%, while rural/country areas have only 18% Instagram users. (Pew Research, 2015)

Slideshare

With a global hub containing more than 18 million presentations, infographics, videos and documents, SlideShare could be considered the “sleeper” of B2B social media marketing. SlideShare is an ideal platform for B2B companies that create valuable, shareable, high-quality content. Yet, despite its many opportunities, many marketers have not yet tapped its full potential. 

  • According to LinkedIn (which acquired SlideShare in 2012), SlideShare is used by more than 70 million professionals as a tool to learn about any topic quickly, directly from subject matter experts. (SlideShare, 2017)
  • SlideShare contains more than 18 million uploads in 40 content categories and is one of the top 100 most visited websites in the world. (SlideShare, 2017)
  • While only 26% of B2B marketers use SlideShare, 40% find it to be an effective tool for B2B marketing content distribution. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
  • Your presentations could give your brand an SEO advantage. Google indexes every presentation on the platform, which means that SlideShare gets more than 80% of its traffic through organic search. (LinkedIn, 2016)
  • You can capture leads through a SlideShare presentation by embedding a lead form into an existing presentation or including one when you upload something new. (LinkedIn, 2016) 

From time to time, I ghostwrite articles or write guest posts on other sites. This article was recently published for Jacobs & Clevenger, an independent creative communications firm that uses data-centered strategies to create user-generated experiences for business-centered results.

View the original article here.

Why a New Website?

Welcome to the new Artessa Marketing website! I’m so glad you’re here. Why a new website you ask? Even though things may look familiar, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Let me explain…

A year ago, I started a crazy, little journey…

My mate, Steve, took on a new job, which meant a cross-country move to Southern California from the Chicago area. And not to be outdone, I took a calculated risk, and re-started my business, Artessa Marketing. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I lost my mom to cancer last June.

Wow. That’s a lot. How’s it going?

Well…I’ve learned a lot and made some mistakes along the way. My confidence was tested and I’ve questioned a few decisions. There have been challenging days, frustration, instability and messy crying on the beach behind big sunglasses.

There’s also been beauty, laughter, love and renewed hope.

Why am I sharing this with you?

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. As we’ve begin to re-build our lives, I’m incredibly lucky to have the support of family and friends (old and new), several solid clients — and of course, daily, therapeutic sunsets by the beach with my dogs.

You see, I’ve chosen to view the last two years as a necessary speed bump towards success. We all face incredible challenges in our lives. Life goes by quickly and we often don’t slow down to make sure we’re headed in the right direction. Until one day, you just stop. 

That’s what I’ve been doing over the last six months. Stopping. Recalibrating. Analyzing what I could do better and becoming more deliberate in my business and career decisions.

What did I decide?

When I re-started Artessa last year, something didn’t feel right. I was fresh out of the agency world and trying to do too much.

Instead, I decided to listen to that inner voice and focus on my writing. It’s my passion, my love and the way I’ve helped many companies grow and succeed over the years.

Why a new website?

A copywriter? What about Artessa Marketing you ask?

I’m not abandoning Artessa Marketing at all. I’m excited to announce that I’ve restructured my business primarily around my B2B copywriting services.

I help B2B sales and marketing teams by delivering results-driven copy that attracts prospects, converts sales and grows business.

I’ve also launched this new website on a stronger platform that allows me to grow the business more efficiently and share my marketing and writing knowledge in the form of blog articles, emails, social media, eBooks and training.

Am I the right writer for you?

I’ve written copy and created content marketing solutions for diverse industries, taking what I’ve learned in over 20+ years in business and applying it to various companies and industries.

Look to me for help with copywriting and content marketing for: websites, email (sales and automated series), blog articles, sell sheets, print brochures, video scripts, eBooks, presentations and more.

While I do write for diverse B2B businesses, I have specialized knowledge in the copy and creation for manufacturing, industrial and logistics/supply chain companies.

Still with me? Great!

Whether you’re a former or current client, partner, mentor, colleague, social media acquaintance, friend or someone who found me on Google, you and I have made an important connnection.

Some of you know me well. And if you do not, I’m hoping we can connect and get to know one another better. Please consider joining my email list so I can share my sales and marketing ideas and strategies with you in the future.

I realize not everyone needs my copywriting services. But if you know someone who could benefit from my help, shoot me an email or call me at 1.877.597.7395.

A Gift For You…

As a token of thanks, I’d like to give you a gift in return — my new eBook, a Guide to Creating an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona. It also includes BONUS buyer persona worksheets to help you get started with better B2B lead generation.

Do you now how to find your best customers?

Enter your info to download our free "Guide to Creating an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas (For Better B2B Lead Generation)."

Includes BONUS buyer persona worksheets!

Success! You are way cool! We've got your info. Enjoy your eBook and watch your inbox for tips, articles and insights from Artessa Marketing.

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Do you know how to find your best customers?

Enter your info to download our free "Guide to Creating an Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas (For Better B2B Lead Generation)."

Includes BONUS buyer persona worksheets!

Success! You are way cool! We've got your info. Enjoy your eBook and watch your inbox for tips, articles and insights from Artessa Marketing.