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We all know how important a website is to a business's online strategy. Almost every business, whether B2B, B2C, non-profit, local or global needs an online presence to reach buyers in the Internet age. A company's website is its virtual storefront.
Having a website alone isn't the key to great results. Instead, it's the ability to turn your website into an inbound marketing machine. Your website has a hefty goal and it needs to wear many hats. A website needs to not just exist, it needs to perform. It needs to attract visitors, educate them and convince them to buy.
Today, the web is social and interactive. It's not static like most websites tend to be. As such, a website can no longer sustain as its own island. We now need to consider integrating search, social media, content, blogging and more with our websites. Gone are the days where all it took was a URL, fancy Flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to temporarily boost traffic.
The reason for this shift is largely due to changing buyer behavior. Today's buyer wishes to consume information when they want and how they want and often-times without the involvement of a sales person. And more importantly, they want to be educated and not sold to. As you can see from the following chart, websites and new forms of inbound marketing content (such as podcasts, blogging and social media) have become a considerable factor in the buying cycle.
Inbound marketing has become more effective in reaching today's buyer. According to Hubspot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, inbound marketing has a 61% less cost per lead compared to outbound, or traditional marketing.
What might not be apparently visible here is the role your website plays. It's actually a big one. In most cases, traffic from blogs, social media, organic and paid search end up converting into leads or sales on your main website. Without a website acting as an online basecamp, it would be difficult to attract new business to one source.
This is why having an effective website is so crucial and that it contains key elements to driving more traffic, leads, and sales.