Last spring, we set out to do a makeover of the Jacobs Media website. It was part of an effort to implement the very same Content Marketing strategy that we recommend to our clients. After all, we figured that if we're recommending it to you, we should eat our own dog food. So over the next several weeks, I will use this space to show you how we did it, and how your radio station can put the same approach into practice.
When overhauling your radio station's website, the first and most important thing to do is to define the goals of your digital strategy. Ask your team, “What do we want listeners to do when they come to the radio station's website?” I've outlined some of the possibilities radio stations should consider here.
For Jacobs Media, we defined these goals:
1. Explain to People What We Do
As an organization, Jacobs Media has evolved over the years. In the early 1980s, when Fred was just starting out, the focus was on helping broadcast companies launch and program Rock and Classic Rock radio stations. In the 1990s, Alternative was added to the mix as we helped radio stations implement The Edge format across the country.
Twelve years ago, we launched Techsurvey, the radio broadcasting industry's largest online survey. This gave us insight into a number of issues — from mobile phone and social media usage to podcast listening and the connected car — which affected all radio stations, regardless of format. Increasingly, we found ourselves serving stations outside of the Rock Radio family, including public radio broadcasters.
As we grew, our old website no longer adequately explained all of these services and areas of expertise that we offered to clients. So one of the goals of our new website was to build something that explained what Jacobs Media actually does.
While we did not have a quantitative standard to measure our progress here, we could (and did) use website usability tests to gauge the new site's performance. I'll discuss how that works in more detail in a future post.
2. Grow Our Email List
Given the nature of the consulting business, it's tough to connect our sales directly back to our web metrics. This is much easier to do when you sell widgets online than when you put together relationship-oriented deals with many service and pricing options and tiers.
Given that limitation, the metric that made the most sense for us to measure the success of the website was the growth of our email database. Prior to the launch of the new website, we were actually using two email services: Constant Contact to manage our mass emails to clients, and Feedblitz to automatically send our blog out on a daily basis. We decided to consolidate everything into one MailChimp email database.
Here's the growth curve of our email list since we launched the new website last spring:
In the coming weeks, I will explain how we achieved these results.
3. Increase Web Traffic
While encouraging people to sign up for our email database is our most important quantifiable goal, the number of people who visit the website is another metric that we monitor carefully. Before the launch of the new site, we actually had two separate website: JacobsMedia.com, a “brochure” site which explained what our company does, and JacobsMediaBlog.com, which housed our daily blog written be Fred. Only the blog was built in WordPress.
We decided to combine these two sites into one WordPress website living at the JacobsMedia.com url. Here's what our website traffic looks like since the launch of the new site:
4. Other Goals
There are a number of other stats that we review, including the number of stations that register for Techsurvey (this year's number will blow away last year's), and the number of people who register for and attend our webinars (these numbers vary depending on the topic and date, but are also generally on the upswing).
Once we decided upon the goals of the website, we set out to build it. I'll discuss that process in future posts. As you can see, deciding upon the goals of your radio station's website is a crucial first step. Everybody involved with the site should agree upon the answer to the question, “When listeners come to our website, what do we want them to do?' If you haven't explicitly agreed upon these goals, gather your team together a do so now.
If I can answer any questions about this post and the process, don't hesitate to contact me.
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