We know this scene all too well: You visit the doctor’s office for some pain in your knee, but after a quick assessment, you’re told that the issue is actually in your hips or your back. What seemed like an obvious pain had a deeper, underlying origin.
Your website can be the exact same way. It’s common for your website to bear the brunt of your business and marketing woes. It does, after all, touch all that you do. At Element Three, we take extra care to look to truth, searching for the deepest level of “why” something is happening and then solving the root issue. When considering a new website, you need to take the same approach. As a business owner or CMO, you’re probably focusing on bigger picture metrics across the business and feel marketing problems indirectly.
Before you assume a full website redevelopment project is the way to treat the pain, do extra due diligence to ensure your symptom is truly caused by a website challenge, not caused by a larger marketing issue. There’s a difference between a website problem and a marketing problem, but not everyone can see the signs. Here are 7 symptoms that can trick you into a website update, when you might need other marketing work too:
1. Your website is not generating leads – or at least not good ones.
If you’re getting feedback from your sales team that your website is not generating leads, your marketing team might need to reconsider strategies to boost website traffic and then evaluate the experience once someone gets there. Are users not engaging with emails or paid ad content? Are they clicking through but leaving before their information is captured? It’s hard to fix the problem when you don’t know what is causing it.
Similarly, if leads captured don’t match your desired audience, you’ve got a different problem to solve. This is likely a branding issue. You may need to clarify your content or create FAQs to help consumers disqualify themselves before becoming a lead.
2. You experience too much drop-off during your sales cycle.
Let’s say you’re having no issue getting traffic to your website, you’re gathering leads, and then all of a sudden they run cold and don’t convert. The reason may live within your website but could be any number of things.
Perhaps there’s an issue with your sales process that needs refinement. Maybe your product has a long lifecycle and prospects need continual follow-ups before they’ll convert. There could be missing information in your content that is leaving people stuck in the consideration phase. These are just a few of many possible examples.
If you’re baffled by where people are getting hung up in the user journey, a good place to start is with analytics and data visualization. Once you understand the problem from the user’s perspective, you can create a solution in the right channel.
3. Your company doesn’t show up at the top of search results.
If you search for your company’s name in Google or another search engine, and it doesn’t show up at the top of the results, you have an SEO problem.
In many cases you will do work on your website to solve it. You just may not need to completely rebuild it to fix the underlying issue. Uncovering the root helps solve the problem at its source.
For example, improving your site speed and Core Web Vitals might earn you brownie points with search algorithms. Conducting an audit of title tags, meta descriptions, and alternative text could help you rank for additional keywords and improve your domain authority.
Another marketing channel could be at play here: paid search. Are your competitors showing up when your brand name is searched? If so, they may be paying for ad space for your brand name’s keyword. You may need to run branded search campaigns or increase your budget to claim that territory.
4. Your website feels old or outdated.
The average small-to medium-sized website should be rebuilt every two to three years; this range extends to every five to seven years for larger, enterprise-level companies (as long as design tweaks are made in that span). Technology and design trends are constantly evolving, and without updates your site can quickly feel antiquated.
It’s possible that old technology, like a dated CRM (link to clean data video), is holding you captive and preventing the updates you really need.
But chances are your entire brand needs a redesign. Even a facelift like a modernized logo, updated color palette, or new fonts can refresh it. Sometimes a new name, refined mission statement, and complete brand rollout are needed. Not sure how to tell? Check this out.
5. Your website doesn’t accurately describe who you are as a company.
If your products or services have recently changed, or perhaps you’re targeting a new audience, it’s likely your website copy doesn’t match your corporate identity. This is another instance where rebranding is the best path forward – and though your website will be included in that rebrand, it’s only a portion of the assets in your larger marketing ecosystem that will need an overhaul.
6. Your website users leave quickly with low engagement.
A high bounce rate, or in layman’s terms, the percentage of users who visit your website and leave before going to another page, can be a good metric of your website’s health. People who leave your site immediately probably did not receive the content they were expecting.
Don’t assume in this case that your website is solely to blame. The source of the traffic – be that email, organic SEO, social media, or any other marketing channel – can tell you a lot about the user intent of that page on the website. If the traffic source set an expectation that is mismatched with the information they receive, you should realign all pieces of that workflow, not just the website.
7. Your website is impossibly difficult to manage.
In this day and age, with so much to do and so little time, there’s no reason to lock your marketing team into outdated or inefficient processes. Repeatable tasks can and should be automated with the abundance of tools, resources, and integrations at your disposal.
There will always be website updates that a developer alone must resolve. However, most tedious website management tasks can either be solved through a more intuitive CMS or through integrations with portions of your tech stack, like your CRM, marketing automation tool, CDP, or analytics dashboards. Not sure where to begin? E3 can help.
Before you go, picture a seesaw in your mind for a minute. On one end sits “Brand” – who you are to the world and how you’re perceived by the market. On the other sits “Demand” – why your customers should want your product or service, and how to get them to take action. The pivotal point in the middle? Your website.
This is why it is so easy to see an issue with your brand or with your demand and misdiagnose it as a website problem. Your website might need updating, but it may not be the only marketing channel that needs attention.
Still confident that your website is the culprit? Before you embark on starting over, don’t forget to ask yourself a few hard questions to make sure you’re ready.