Just like insurance, the importance of website security is something that’s often undervalued until the worst happens.
No doubt you’ve heard increasing reports recently of high-profile sites getting hacked and customer data being stolen – yet it still seems to be considered as one of those ‘it won’t happen to me’ type scenarios.
Granted, you might not feel like anyone would have a reason to hack your site. Maybe your site doesn’t store any customer data, so you don’t feel it would be a target. But the majority of sites that are attacked on a daily basis are done simply to demonstrate the hackers ability or to promote a political message. They often won’t target a specific site, preferring instead to just scan the ‘net for insecure hosting servers – and then break in once they find one.
Imagine if one of your customers arrived on your site one day to be greeted by a blank screen with a garbled message about the site having been ‘H4x0r3D by v3N0M’. It probably wouldn’t leave them with the warm fuzzy feeling that you’d like them to have whenever they interact with your brand.
Believe it or not, we’ve seen this happen on more than one occasion over the years – usually to sites hosted on low-budget shared hosting servers – so it pays dividends to use a good quality managed hosting service that takes security seriously.
Another method that hackers often use to gain access to websites is through security ‘holes’ in un-patched website code. Always make sure that your CMS and plugins are kept up-to-date with the latest versions in order to minimise this risk.
Improving site security might not seem like a marketing tip – but the consequences of not doing it could severely damage your brand, not to mention leaving your site offline unable to earn you any business.
Web analytics allow you to measure and review how your visitors arrive on your site, and what they do once there.
These metrics allow you to gain valuable insights into who your visitors are and how well your website is performing, helping you determine how best to maximise traffic and conversions.
Knowing where your visitors are coming from is essential to know which of your marketing channels are working well, as well as identify potential new opportunities. And knowing how they interact with your site helps you optimise the user experience to keep them engaged for longer and turn them into customers.
Analytics can help you track the performance of your social media and PPC advertising campaigns, or see what percentage of your users are browsing on mobile devices or using a specific browser.
It might sound complex, but web analytics are easy to implement and use. We’re fans of both Google Analytics and Hotjar, as they are simple to understand, and together provide a goldmine of information on visitor behaviour.
Without analytics, you won’t have any idea why your website isn’t performing, nor will you have anything to benchmark any improvements against. If your site doesn’t have any analytics set up, make this your first priority and start collecting that valuable data.
Did you know that around 75% of your website visitors will visit once and never come back?
That’s a lot of missed conversion opportunities! The first step in keeping them coming back is to identify why they left in the first place. Is your website taking too long to load? Does it have too many adverts or pop-ups? Is your navigation clunky and difficult to use? Any sort of bad experience is enough to leave people running for the door.
When someone reaches your site, is it clear what they should be doing? It’s important your website has a strong call-to-action. This is often a stand-out message accompanied by a button that prompts the visitor to do something. Without a strong CTA, visitors might get confused with your website, leading them to click off. And if they were confused on their first visit, why would they return?
If you haven’t already, implement customer feedback into your website and marketing channels. Reviews and testimonials play a critical role in a customer’s decision-making process and willingness to instruct. Building trust is vital in a digital landscape, and good customer reviews help boost confidence in your brand.
Finally, make sure you regularly update your website and social media pages. Visitors are unlikely to be inclined to return if there’s nothing new to see or do. Make regular contact too – personalised email marketing and targeted ads are likely to put you in the forefront of people’s mind when looking for an agency.
If you have a bricks-and-mortar agency that you are trying to promote via your website, first-and-foremost make sure that all your contact details are up-to-date and easy to find, as any ambiguous information will leave customers anxious about visiting you.
Provide as much detail as possible to help direct customers, such as your opening hours, location maps, and even a link to Google directions preset with their current location. Provide plenty of photos of your premises, and consider a 360-degree virtual tour to help people feel familiar with where they’ll be visiting.
Include a ‘Meet the Team’ page on your website – seeing happy images of team members will give customers a familiar face to greet and make contact with. Videos that show happy employees in a positive work environment will also encourage people to pop-in.
Create a Google ‘My Business’ page to help people find you in search results and maps. This will also help them physically locate you more easily. People may also notice your agency when looking around at other local businesses, getting your site unintentionally seen by potential visitors.
There are plenty of ways to find new agents without hiring a recruiter.
Incentivise your current agents to find your next hire, include referral programmes, and consider low-cost Google ads. Take to social media to create a buzz around your new role, and post listings for free on the most-recognised job sites, like Indeed.
No matter how well your marketing channels work to draw in potential candidates, they all lead straight back to your agency’s website, so having a stand-out careers section is imperative. Create a “We’re hiring” button or alert bar at the top of your website that will be seen when anyone lands on your site. Your ‘Careers’ page should have clear information on the roles available, and make it obvious how to apply. Including social media buttons will also encourage sharing.
But it’s not just the careers page that needs attention. A ‘Meet the Team’ page can help candidates see where they would fit within your agency, and your ‘About’ page is a great opportunity to sell agency perks and culture. Always remember that if you’re shouting about a job opening, you’ll likely receive more traffic – so make sure your site is looking tip-top to avoid putting off that stand out candidate.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of digital marketing available, and can allow you to reach more of your target audience than any other marketing platform. Roughly 22% of emails get blocked or lost in spam filters, but that still leaves an average of 78% messages delivered.
Not only does it have a high conversion rate, but it’s great for increasing repeat traffic to your site. Emailing new homes, referral schemes and other interesting news, gives people a reason to come back to your website.
When you use other online marketing channels, you rely on their service rules. Facebook can decide to decrease your reach to encourage businesses to pay for ads. And Google’s algorithm changes so fast you might be reducing your page rankings without even knowing. But with a large network of emails, you can still reach out to people and promote your business.
But it’s also important to play by the rules. Most bulk mail sending platforms frown on the use of purchased email marketing lists, and you are likely to get penalised if your mailshots result in large amounts of bounces, unsubscribes or spam complaints. So it’s important to build your own targeted lists of people that have interacted with your agency in some way, as they will be familiar with your brand and less likely to view your emails as unsolicited.
There are lots of ways to build a list, from harvesting the email addresses of existing contacts in your inbox, to collecting leads through the use of ‘content upgrades’ on your website. You can then set up ‘drip’ campaigns to feed new subscribers with an automated series of useful emails that will help establish you as the expert agent – and then once they’re ready to instruct, you’ll hopefully be at the front of their minds.
Live chat is a website feature that enables people to have a real-time online conversation with your agency via your website.
Having a live chat feature gives people the support they need there-and-then. Their enquiry is likely to be resolved in a much quicker timeframe than is usually expected through traditional email and contact forms, and doesn’t require making a phone call, which is often difficult for people when browsing at work or on the train.
This is particularly helpful to those who may experience issues on your website. Any confusion or questions from potential instructions will result in website abandonment unless they receive a quick answer. Live chats are also the perfect customer feedback opportunity. Finding out their issues identifies existing problems on your website. Fixing these will reduce issues for future customers, keep them on your site for longer and creates a positive online experience that will keep them coming back.
Easy to set up and manage
Multiple chats can be managed simultaneously, which is much quicker and cheaper than a customer service phone line. You can also set up alerts so that if anyone starts a conversation when you’re not at your desk, you can be alerted on your phone. And if it’s not possible for you to reply right way, an automated response can be provided to let the visitor know that you will get back to them as soon as you can.