Following on from my previous post on self PR online, I realised I forgot to share details of my time at at my previous company, the launch of the new website, and the results.
Why read on? Well, I have been in digital marketing for over six years now in a variety of roles within blue-chip companies in varying industries. Whilst I would not declare myself a true expert by any means as things constantly change, I have an excellent grasp on all aspects of digital marketing, good experience within all fields of marketing communications in general, and I have had immense success in the field of digital marketing both in Europe and in Asia with the companies I have worked for – particularly in Asia, which is my area of expertise. I have a good job in a good company, and put simply, I’m pretty good at what I do.
As marketers, we are all constantly learning and changing the way we communicate to consumers, as technologies advance and customer habits change. But the basics remain the same. Do what’s right for the customer and everything else should flow from that. By following some of the tips below, hopefully you too can launch a successful website, whether it be in Asia or elsewhere!
My decision as soon as I arrived at the company was to re-structure and re-design the website, starting from scratch with SEO (search engine optimisation) and the customer in mind. Not an easy task, given that 90 percent of our customer base was spread across Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea, and we sold quite a number of products, but here’s a few things that I made sure were included in the new website that ensured success:
- A good, logical site structure and an appealing look-and-feel – make it look good from the front and from behind!
- An intuitive and simple customer funnel – ensure no more than 3 clicks from the home page or the menu bar to desired information to conversion by means of contact or sale!
- A good internal linking structure – make navigation simple and logical for the visitor, whether human or bot!
- Logical well-named URLs and page titles – based on keyword and competitor research, pick a keyword for the page and stick to it!
- Well-written sales-focused description metatags – be creative and beat competitors to the click in organic listings!
- Well-written, well-optimised copy – make it easy-to-read for visitors, whether human or bot!
- Focus on one keyword/keyphrase per page – use the words that customers use, not internal jargon!
- Good use of keywords in image titles and ALT tags – be friendly to those with a disability and help yourself at the same time!
- A well-structured sitemap – let the search engines do their work and flow through your website!
- A well-stocked glossary with appropriate internal links - let the search engines do their work and help customers, too!
- A well-resourced press release section – make each press release a separate page and get customers through the back-door!
- A partners section and partners pages – get those authoritative links coming in from your industry pals!
- Publication of our email newsletter online – be an authority in the field online!
- Employ a user-friendly multilingual-capable CMS – make sure your back-end systems are easy to use and work for you!
- Permanent 301 re-directs from old pages to new – don’t lose the visitors you already had!
- Speak to customers in their own language – translate everything, localise it, and help customers, whether human or bot!
The results paid off, both financially and in terms of improved metrics.
- Within two to three months, we were on page one of the organic search results in Google Japan and Yahoo Japan, Google Korea and Naver, and Google China and Baidu for the majority of our keywords and products - the majority in position 1 – well outranking all of our competitors, the majority of whom were Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Taiwanese companies. This was down to a big effort on my part spending time and energy ensuring every page in English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean was well optimised, doing tweaks as necessary – I guess it helps if you can read Japanese and Chinese and have an aptitude for how languages work (although I cannot read Hangul, I have enough knowledge of the grammatical structure of the language which enabled me to work things out for SEO-purposes after learning which characters made up the keywords).
- Just two to three weeks after launch, the website had a 90% increase in visitors, and a 45% increase in returning visitors. The figures continued to grow month on month.
- The website generated over £1 million in new sales, all the revenue coming from sales of a product which was previously hidden in the old website and nowhere in the organic listings in any country. These sales came from new customers. The website paid for itself and then some!
Of course, these tips only cover internal efforts on the website, albeit a lot of work. PPC search, affiliates, display ads, mobile marketing, email newsletters, direct mail, TV, ATL ads, radio - all the external comms efforts will increase what you can achieve, pull more customers through the door, and hopefully help to increase sales and revenue.
It’s important all the channels you use in your marketing campaigns are aligned in objective if not in message, but always remember that in today’s world your website is usually the first place people will encounter you, your company, and your brand. It’s your shop window to the world, so get it right.
The above tips are not only good for launching a website in Asia, but for any website anywhere. The list is not exhaustive, but get the basics right, be creative, and the rest will follow!