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Retaining business with a solid web presence

Modera (Social Media Portal) - 18 June 2009

Retaining business with a solid web presence

Siim Vips from CMS and CRM software company Modera, discusses how brands can retain and build new customer bases by maintaining a strong web presence

With many brands (from SMEs through to well-known and established organisations) looking for inventive ways to stay ahead of recession, competition is fierce, and even more so in digital environments.

At Modera, we assist brands ensure that destinations which manage their business, web presence and web traffic are fined tuned to manage visits properly.  Content management systems (CMS) are the heart of a website and drive many aspects of the brand and the business itself.  Looking beyond the homepage, businesses need to make inside pages as relevant to visitors as the homepage; delivering on the expectation of information on products and services and other relevant interest areas.  The site in its entirety should be designed to receive and manage interest sustaining it and bringing visitors back time and again.Photograph Siim Vips, CEO of Modera LLC

Websites and microsites need to be well managed and kept up-to-date with great content; information on the latest offers available, new product lines, changes to services etc.   Even a basic CMS allows website owners to do this.  A CMS effectively drives a brands digital presence and activities, but they need to be flexible and straight-forward to use (to manage) in order to do this in the most efficient way possible.

Furthermore, email, web, social media marketing or otherwise is redundant unless the emotional touch points of activity can be managed by brands confidently and this invariably means managing a large influx of visitors to their digital shop-front.  In managing a strong web presence, brands can assist and even drive a host of above, below and through-the-line marketing.  Therefore, a prudent strategy for brands in maximising web marketing budgets is to instil the prevention before cure school of thought and prepare destinations and not be weighed down inflexible processes and technologies.

Controlling content is possibly the quickest and most straight-forward approach in making a difference on sites, especially when is it related to other activities the business is undertaking (many of which can be managed in-house).  For example, the Modera suite of SEO tools that can be controlled via the CMS were developed to ensure that site owners can manage their organic SEO effectively in-house.  A good CMS should allow content editors and marketers to manage all aspects of content and meta tags and any bespoke adds-on that boost creativity and usefulness of content itself (e.g. social media plug-ins) throughout the site.  This ensures they are able to create environments more conducive to natural search, but also ensure that the brand core values are maintained across the site.  These easy-to-use tools should be available in all CMSs now, allowing site owners to take control, so that the content that they manage is maximised by the benefit of being more visible in organic search results and now social and universal search if catered for properly.

To ensure that the brand remains strong, competitive and addresses the ongoing and ever-changing needs of the target audiences whilst making savings, marketers need to unify the brands web presence and be in control of its content and technology in real-time as developments unfold. This can be done by replacing legacy website(s) with CMSs that any staff person can manage whether business development, customer service, marketing and PR (ideally a combination of these).  When brands are in control of the content on the site, it can be optimised from a SEO perspective with the tools provided by modern CMS marketing technology rather than hiring costly external help allocating that search budget were needed most.

If a business is in the position to review the technologies that drive its content and therefore its web presence, they need to consider a number of factors largely covering the below:

1. Seek to work with vendors that possess experience, expertise and knowledge in your sector can they meet your requirements?

2. Do your research and select potential vendors based upon reputation and personal recommendations

3. Check references of current, but more importantly previous clients that have used the product and ascertain whether the product and service met requirements

4. Met the individual/s that will be building the software, ascertain what projects they and the company have delivered do they possess the right skill sets?

5. Build a contingency plan, especially when trying to implement new processes  

6. Ensure that your business is not affected if things do not go quite to plan with solid continuity and contingency measures

7. Enquire about customer service and what this entails, including set-up and maintenance

8. At what stage can you see a working version from vendors and how does this translate into a long-term relationship?

9. Clarify how product updates to be managed and how do you protect your business legally to ensue this is adhered to

10. Consult your lawyers to make sure that you are protected in using the products or service and possible damage to the business if something does go wrong

Siim Vips is the CEO of Modera and manages the growth of the global content software specialist company and its network of partners that build bespoke technology for brands

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