There’s little doubt that corporate websites can look a little dull and contain not much in the way to engage visitors. That doesn’t have to be the case though, corporate doesn’t mean that your site has to be stuffy and full of words that many of your readers don’t really get.
Bearing this in mind, here are a few tips to ensure your site not only gets traffic, but retains it and has your readers coming back for more:
- Social presence: whilst not all social networks are created equal, some are more useful than others, especially if you want to become an authoritative voice within your industry. On a corporate level, we’ve talked about having a social intranet which can engage employees to make them more productive but do you have a social presence for your corporate brand.
A strong brand is essential and it’s important that you carry this across over all social channels that you’re going to use. LinkedIn is the choice of professionals when it comes to social networking, but don’t discount other channels.
For LinkedIn to work for you, firstly you have to ensure that all employees (leaders) have fully fleshed-out profiles, including resumes and if possible, recommendations from past clients and endorsements.
Then it’s a case of setting up your company profile and ensuring that all employees who are using the site link themselves to the page. The next thing to consider is LinkedIn Groups; these are possibly one of the most important aspects to creating your company as a thought leader. Have employees’ starts polls and discussions and include a manager’s choice each week, it will soon grow and you will have interested parties checking out your profiles and then of course, your website.
Of course, LinkedIn is not the only social platform that corporates use, although it’s a much-discussed and a teeny bit of a contentious issue. However, this is how corporates are using it currently (excluding LinkedIn).
- Website: 100% of the FTSE 100 have something aimed at corporate audiences.
- Twitter: 72% have created some kind of corporate Twitter account
- YouTube: 65% have a corporate YouTube channel
- Facebook: Only 56% have a corporate Facebook page, this is most likely to be because the medium is regarded as being more consumer, rather than corporate, based.
If a corporation involves itself with social media though, it’s important that it’s managed properly. Many large organizations make the mistake of just putting an account up and then pretty much ignoring it. It’s vital that you interact with followers, even if they are putting in a complaint, social is a much more open platform and stuffiness and formality should be avoided, although it’s safe to say it’s best not to make all your followers your best buddies.
Some corporates tend to take a dim, short-sighted view of social for fear it may put off investors, but it pays to remember that your potential investors are also people and will be looking at the overall picture of your company. Additionally, many ‘city types’ analyze everything you’re doing as a company, not just the surface and financial facts and figures.
Social is the new marketing, whether we like it or not and it’s best to get in on the action if you’re not already. Not only does it engage employees, but attracts investors, increases corporate confidence and drives traffic. Overall though, it needs to be managed properly by a marketing team or outsourced.
- Blogs: If your corporate website doesn’t have a blog then it really, really should. Blogs feed your social presence and again, increase engagement, especially if you really know what you’re talking about.
Even if your work is very complex, blogs should be approached in a friendly and open manner, much like you are talking to a client, only a little less formal. Blogs should never promote your product or service, the idea is to give yourself that voice in the industry; when well written, a blog should have your readers coming back for more.
The trick with blogs is to speak to readers on their level, readability is a big factor and this will vary depending on industry. Images are also a good idea to break up the text so that readers don’t get bored – graphs and infographics are good.
- Whitepapers: provide a call-to-action, as well as improve you client list for marketing purposes. Again, whitepapers should be informative and written slightly more formally than blogs, but not as formally as an academic essay. They should include industry stats and a very subtle way of arguing the point that one way (yours) is better than another. Again, these are authoritative and should reflect what your company does, without overtly promoting your product or service.
Whitepapers should be easy on the eye too, they’re a good way of combining visuals with text that a reader can scan easily before reaching a conclusion. Good graphics or quotes should be included to break up text and in the sidebars so that the reader doesn’t get bored.
Whitepapers are also an ideal way to attract investors, if this is what your company is looking for, so it’s worth the investment as the ROI can be significant.
- The site itself: this is what it’s all about when it comes to the bottom line really isn’t it. If your site is not absolutely up-to-scratch, then there’s no point doing any of the rest of it. Just because a corporation has more resources in the way of finance and IT departments, it doesn’t always mean it gets it right.
Your website should load quickly, have good branding that, as discussed, is used across all of your advertising, have a great search function and be easy to navigate. I hear far too many people complain about sites for large organizations being impossible to use; granted, perhaps they’re also part of the company intranet and this is something that needs to be addressed by the IT department.
For corporate sites, it’s also important to release regular press releases on the site. Most good corporate websites have a press or media area and this will be used by bloggers, writing professionals and investors to see what’s going on.
Obviously, journalists will be looking for a story and link back to your site as the source, so again, this drives traffic and engagement.
Overall, a sound digital marketing plan will mean the success of a corporate website; get this right and you’re sure to be seeing a rise in engagement in no time at all. Interact and remember the world is becoming an ever more connected place, there’s no hiding behind a desk as a faceless corporate suit anymore, if you want to engage, then your company needs to engage too.