When I started my career as a web designer and developer three years ago, I didn’t expect to get into marketing leadership, but I did take initiative on every project I worked on when it came to “getting the word out.”
To encourage people to attend my college portfolio show, I handed out muffins to local agencies, created press releases and was aggressive with my social media presence. In essence, I spent a lot of time trying to make personal connections to get people to come along.
Perhaps it was a matter of seeing how important this process was for companies that lead me to the art of creating that kind of effect professionally. At the end of the day, just designing and developing a website doesn’t bring new clients in the door, the site had to be optimized for search engines and there generally needs to be some promotion around it.
From Designer to Marketer Extraordinaire
If you’re interested in making this jump – the biggest takeaway from my story would probably be ‘initiative.’ I have this tattooed with an arrow under my arm because I think it’s so important.
I’ve hungrily learned from the people that I work with and that are more advanced than me at their disciplines, I made my own podcast and recently finished a book that will double as an employee training manual of sorts.
No one asked me to do these things, I simply realized I had more to learn and then got busy doing everything in my power to increase my knowledge. As a result I learned new types of strategy, implementation, marketing and sales techniques that I saw truly make a difference and earn companies more customers.
Recently the Snap Agency website needed a visual upgrade, so I worked overtime to make that happen and did everything in my power to ensure that its Search Engine Optimization evolved in the process to prove value.
What Had the Biggest Impact?
When I joined the Minneapolis web design company I had to push for some modifications to our process. Not because Snap Agency is out of date, just because things are always evolving and I was looking at the process with fresh eyes.
Here are some takeaways that have made a gigantic shift in our ability to “get the word out” about our services and our clients businesses:
Our user testing results have helped set us apart from the competition and given an outside perspective on our website.
It’s not always easy to see your own marketing efforts on your website and remain impartial. So not long after I joined the agency we had some people outside the organization try navigating around our website, and give us feedback.
This method has done wonders for both us and our clients. By digging up overlooked issues and identifying where there is room for improvement we can look past the issues that go unnoticed as a result of too much familiarity with the site.
Conversion Rate Optimization
I lead the charge with CRO which is a steady discipline of focusing on and seeking to enhance your website’s conversion rate.
Conversion rate is the rate at which visitors to your website become clients or paying customers. It’s really the “What’s going to really make you more money?” question that gives more clarity and direction to the web design and digital marketing process.
Questions like “How can we get more traffic?” or “How can we make your website better looking?” are both great but the question of actually making your client more money should always be at the top of the list.
Search Engine Optimization
The most effective thing we’ve done to increase our edge with marketing is effective SEO.
When you’re a smaller organization (we have less than 25 people,) you have to take your marketing dollars and stick them where they’ll make the biggest impact.
70% of my efforts go to getting links to our website, creating valuable content that our clients want, and creating a website structure that allows for the greatest visibility on search engines.
In the past year alone, our aggressive approach to this has led to a 150% increase in search engine traffic, and we by no means had low traffic before. Here’s a screen grab of our analytics data (the biggest jump being in the last year:)
Be Responsible for More Than Just Your Own Actions
As Marketing Director, you become responsible for more than just yourself and I would say the hardest part about working at this level is when you are trying to corral the people who work for you to encourage creating effective change.
Facilitating this, means creating reproducible processes and templates, that are easy enough for other people to do but advanced enough to be truly effective.
In practise, I’ve ‘gamified’ our content production and reward our team with pizza or Starbucks when every department creates a blog post for a two week time span. To really move the needle for our business and for our clients, I always look for more ways to get the whole team unified.
If you have a chance to move into marketing from design, I think it’s well worth the shift, but you have to be ready to get social and to apply your powers of persuasion – sometimes internally.