Perhaps surprisingly, social media barely features in the website strategies of UK marketers for the next 12 months. Only 8% of respondents said providing a hub for social activity was a key purpose of their website, putting it at the bottom of their list. Less than half (47%) stated they run any social media activities at all.
The most common objectives for a website presence were focused around more commercial aspects, with driving sales leads cited by 39% and converting website visitors into customers by 34%. Dealing with customer service enquiries was also highlighted as a goal by 30% of respondents.
Encouragingly, 30% of marketers said their budgets for digital marketing are growing, which bodes well for those looking to increase content creation and introduce communities. However, the road may not be easy for marketers as the top three biggest challenges in managing their website content were: keeping content fresh and engaging (63%); understanding what visitors want (37%); and putting in place personalised content (20%).
“As the web continues to grow in importance, delivering engaging online experiences will become increasingly important for businesses that are looking to engender brand loyalty, improve their business online and deliver real return on investment,” said Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe at EPiServer. “However, as the survey demonstrates, there are some major challenges for businesses to overcome to ensure their online presence is up-to-date, fresh and engaging. By having the right approach and combining content, community, commerce and communication in an innovative way, companies can ensure that they are meeting the heightened expectations of online visitors and customers.”