Web designers looking to grow their business or increase their value when working in a larger organization know the value of understanding strategy. Hard skills are important, but understanding why things are done a certain way, what’s worked in the past and why, and where things are headed in the future, can help you provide more value to clients and build your business or climb the ranks within a larger organization.
Digital marketing strategy is an important area to focus on when it comes to providing value to clients. Their interest in hiring web designers is to grow their businesses and understanding digital marketing strategies and to communicate them to your clients will help you explain why your work and ideas are important, how they benefit the client, and why they’re worth more. Here are five areas of digital marketing to introduce clients to that will prove your worth.
Your clients may already be aware of the value of search engine optimization (SEO). If they are, you should focus on how your web design supports this. If they’re not, you can explain that search engines need to be able to understand what’s on their website to help searchers (their customers) find it. A good SEO web design encourages best practices and introduces appropriate tags where content isn’t search engine friendly, translating graphic content like videos or photos into something that supports search discovery.
Incorporating user-generated content into websites is a growing trend in online marketing. It provides social proof that the brand delivers a product that is desirable, while also creating a sense of authenticity, transparency, and trustworthiness. Web designers can support this strategy by introducing it to clients and offering designs and API integrations to place pre-selected or auto-refreshing user-generated content.
Social media integration
On a related note, social media integrations, in general, are an increasingly valuable digital marketing strategy. There are a variety of approaches, including installing smart sharing tools that craft suggested content including images and text for visitors to share, linking to accounts to encourage new followers, and incorporating APIs that display a social media feed onsite in a way that supports the overall brand look and feel. Most clients will have at least one channel that they’ve invested in or are working on growing. Help them close the circle by connecting their website with their social media efforts to ensure maximum value and return on effort.
A significant part of any digital marketing strategy should be to make the online experience as seamless for the visitor/customer as possible. Prove your value to your clients by explaining how your work makes their customers able to load the site more quickly, navigate it more easily, and fully appreciate the experience on every device and browser. Sites need to be mobile optimized, responsive, and up-to-date in design and coding choices. Visitors can spot a tired looking design, and have little patience for pages that load slowly or not at all. Offering a better admin/backend experience for clients is another area that can make a big difference, especially if uploading content is a task shared by many in the organization.
Then take it to the next level by collaborating with your client to support their content strategy and conversion goals. Discuss how the digital property will support their goals, whether that’s through e-commerce, educational material, content marketing, or another strategy. Then craft a site that supports the marketing or sales funnel and carries visitors toward a target goal like a first contact, download, share, or purchase. Sometimes this means more straightforward coding and fewer bells and whistles, rather than more, to avoid taking attention away from the most important things.
You’ll be able to offer more value to your clients by understanding what will most help their business. Digital marketing is a great continuing education choice for web designers, and you can open up various career options with an associate degree or other specialist program.
Grow your career and make the jump from a service provider constantly trying to interpret and actuate client instructions, to a valued partner and specialist professional. Understanding what best supports your clients’ interests from a strategic marketing perspective, in addition to having a solid foundation in design or coding solutions, can help you stand out from the crowd, provide true value, and grow your business with past customers who can’t stop raving about how much of a difference you made for them. Plus, when you’re providing all that expertise and value, you’ll be more than justified in raising your rates.