anchor-smallYour website is more than just another element in your online marketing mix. It should be considered the digital anchor that holds all the other pieces together. Even with the phenomenal rise of social media, your website is still the one online property that you fully control, and the only place you can present your message without competition.

As an anchor, your website serves two important functions: it provides a solid point for your social media and online ads to link to, and it provides dedicated outbound links to your other online marketing resources from the website. Both of these functions help strengthen your brand and improve your marketing.

Here are three simple rules for using your website as a digital anchor:

Rule 1: All online content links back to the website.
Your website is the one online property you fully control. When visitors find your content on social media you want to use that opportunity to pull them back to the website. The longer they stay on Facebook, or Instagram, or Google, the more chances they have to find a competitor’s product or another distraction. While you will have content specifically developed for social media, you want to always direct visitors to the website for more information. Once on your website, they won’t have distractions. All ads and social media properties include links back to the corporate website.

Rule 2: The website links to all other relevant online content.
While your website is the best venue for telling your story in a distraction-free environment, it’s not reasonable to expect people to come to your site every day looking for new content. Once they have visited your site, make sure they can easily follow you on their favorite social media. It is much easier to build a relationship with people on social media than with a string of advertising or direct mail campaigns. Let people find you where they usually hang out. Include links to your social media prominently on your website.

Rule 3: Details are on the website.
Many social media posts have opportunities to link back to your website. Don’t post details on social media. Instead link back to an article on your website containing the details. For example, if you are posting an article (like this one) to market your business, post the full article on your website. Then post teaser links on your social media that link back to the article on your site. The teasers will drive traffic to your site where they will hopefully find other valuable content. The magic words you want to use as often as possible are “details on the website”.

Social media and online advertising have created tremendous new opportunities for online marketing. But they are noisy channels, full of distractions. By using your website as a digital anchor you can benefit from the additional traffic social media generates, but still bring your visitors into an environment you control – your website.

Terrell Sanders is the founder of Main Street Enterprises, a web development and consulting organization specializing in churches and non-profits. Terrell can be reached