Seattle has been invaded by a Skittles cornucopia of free-floating bikes. If you aren't familiar with the concept, it's a new way to do bike sharing in a city.
The traditional method has been to have docks around the city where you have to start and stop your ride. If you want to go where the docks are - great. If you want to go somewhere else, you are out of luck.
The new free-floating bikes can be dropped off anywhere in the city limits, greatly expanding the ridable area. It's been a big success. There have been hiccups with people parking bikes in odd places.
The dock based system failed. It wasn't that people didn't want to ride shared bikes in Seattle. It is that they didn't want to ride to a specific dock. They wanted to set the destination.
your website is a bike Dock
Your website is a specific destination on the Internet. We can drive traffic to your website, it's what we do. And we do it well. We've grown businesses using tried and true web development and inbound techniques.
But if your customers have to visit your website for you to deliver value, you are limiting your potential growth.
Home on the (Internet) range
Your users are spread over the vast range of the Internet. They are on Facebook, or Google Maps, or Amazon. Are you there?
And not just with ads, but with a your core offering allowing them to transact wherever they are?
It's daunting to think about keeping all your information up to date in all these places. Believe it or not, that's where a well built website comes to the rescue.
These third party services want your data. They need it to make their service valuable. But your data has to get there. You could create everything multiple times and update data in a dozen places.
Or you could strategically use your website as the source for all these third party sites. The specifics on how to do this are unique to your business, but we have a few good questions to get you started.
1. Identify your endpoints
Do you need to sell your product on Amazon? Do your hours need to show up in Yelp? Do your blog posts need to be published to LinkedIn? Make a list of all the places your customers currently are and what information needs to go there. If your not sure where to start, look at your fiercest competitor. Where are they? You should be there too.
2. Describe the data
What data does each service need? Chances are once you list this for each service you will see overlap where one piece of data is needed by multiple services. If you map this back to your content strategy (you have a content strategy, right?) you will find which data exists and where you have gaps in your data.
3. Research how endpoints access data
Some sites require submission of data, others can read it from your website if you structure the data properly. There is likely overlap here as well. For example, Facebook and Twitter use open graph tags. If you implement those tags for one service, you get the other one for free.
4. Connect the Dots
You know where you want your data to go and what data needs to go there. Now you have to connect the dots. If you are using an open source CMS, like say WordPress, you are in luck. There are plugins to connect WordPress to just about anything.
if you build it they will not come
Marketing is what we do, so it's no surprise when we say you have to do more than just build a website. You need to be advertising and doing SEO and PR and inbound marketing and getting your data to where your users are.
Your users are ranging all over the internet. If your content isn't, then you are missing out.