Who Cares About Your Website Redesign?
Imagine if Apple created a new gadget, put it in their stores, and waited to see if people would show up to buy it. Why don’t they do that? They’re Apple, after all. Brand recognition alone should be enough, right…? And their stores get a lot of traffic…
Instead, Apple generates media buzz, mystery, and anticipation long before the product launches. Despite the clear psychological manipulation, people are in a frenzy to research, speculate, talk up / down, and then buy that new iProduct.
Yeah, But We’re Not Apple
So what if you’re not selling the latest gadgetry? So what if your website simply features your business and services? A well-constructed website will use content to highlight those features and show how you distinguish yourself from your competitors. It will be geared toward meeting the needs of your specific user groups and, therefore, easy to navigate with clear calls to action.
The conundrum is this: Many website owners think redesigning a website is enough to boost their numbers when, in fact, despite having best practices for SEO in place and alerting search engines, organic traffic stalls at the same number of unique visitors per day.
Aesthetics are very important and a new website inherently indicates about your business that it is current and modern—but a key phase of any website project is launch. And with launch comes promotion.
One can only assume that Every Sally and Jim in Your Target Market hasn’t heard of you yet, right? Before, during and after launch… never stop self-promoting your website and its features.
OK, But My Site Has Already Launched…
It’s never too late to promote your (even relatively) new website’s features! Vary your content-strategy posts (blogs, sharing others’ content, etc.) with self-promotional posts.
Don’t be shy about it either. Touting your strengths and trying to gain some viral reach on behalf of your business is to be expected. Think about the amount of self-promotion you see on a daily basis: selfies, Vines, self-congratulatory tweets… These are the times we live in—don’t be afraid to talk yourself up!
Link-Based Social Media
Your first efforts should always be directed towards those social media platforms that allow you to share links: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn…
Begin your campaign by scheduling a number of posts in the days leading up to your website’s launch. Talk up the new design and enhanced features of your site. The more your network hears about the site, the more likely they are to click through when the Big Day comes.
On launch day, pull out all the stops. For those social media platforms that allow advertising, create a detailed, well-constructed post and promote it with affordable sponsored (paid) advertising. Include an interesting / intriguing image for added aesthetic appeal. On most social platforms, a single-day or week-long sponsored-content campaign can result in post-reach gains of 500%.
With any luck, that kind of reach will generate shares, likes, retweets, what have you, improving your viral reach for minimal investment.
Image-Based Social Media
If you have an Instagram or Pinterest account, the lead-up to your site’s launch is all about making sure you have a decent-sized following. If you post interesting, witty, and evocative pictures of your business’s day-to-day and follow anyone who follows your content, you will find yourself slowly amassing a great network. In fact, seek out those who might be interested or could benefit from your business’s products or services and proactively follow them.
(Many savvy local businesses use this tactic. They get the word out about their brick-n-mortar shops by following locals’ Instagram accounts. When you click in the app to see who this mysterious new follower is, you are then being made aware of the shop or restaurant. Personally, I’ve found out about places to shop or eat, as well as NYC-related blogs that talk about fun things going on around the city.)
On the day of launch, switch your content from your office goings-on to the best content from your website: all those neat UI features and professional photographs can be repackaged as image-posts and blasted out to your network of followers. Do not forget to include a link to your new website in the description of your posts wherever possible!
Email Promo (Duh)
If you regularly send out email newsletters and other promotions, follow Apple’s cue and start teasing a few weeks before launch. These emails should be website-specific; don’t bury the news in a long-form newsletter. For e-commerce sites, mention a pending coupon offer, telling readers to “Stay Tuned for Special Savings!”
Just a tip: Use elusive subject lines like “Have You Heard?” and “[Business Name] Is About to Get Better,” since the idea of a website relaunch / promo email probably won’t entice most to open.
Launch day is the time to send your list an email begging them (in a non-begging way) to come see what you’ve done. Particularly emphasize the ease-of-use features, how it will help them and make their lives easier. If you offer a referral program, are running a limited-time / list-only promotion in honor of the launch, or have a special coupon offer, this is where you stick it.
In your next few newsletters, include a prominent section that features your new website. In fact, every email you send from that point forward should be about getting people to come back and engage with your site.
If you have a physical location, include not only clearly-posted signage that advertises and explains your new website, but also be sure to incentivize your customers to check it out.
For instance, offer a small discount if they tell you the “codeword” on the site or subscribe to your email list, or ask them to share it on social media. Anything that gets someone who would otherwise never think to visit your site (after all, they are already at your establishment) can only generate more organic reach.
Think creatively about the different ways you can engage your viewership and, especially, get them to tell others to use your new site. A creative, proactive campaign always trumps sitting back and waiting for something to happen.