Make your Website an Effective Marketing Channel

Many businesses believe that simply having a website is sufficient for online success. But the "build it and they will come" philosophy does not apply to the internet. Your website, like any other aspect of marketing, takes time, effort and patience to be a success. A brochure needs to be distributed, a store needs a sign out front, and you website needs to be seen by potential and existing clients in order to be effective. Whether you are going it alone, or working with a marketing agency, you need to drive people to your website and keep them coming back for more.


Review your reports.
Keep a constant eye on your website statistics. You will find that certain campaigns, products and website promotions will be more successful than others. Over time, understanding these trends will help you keep traffic coming to your site.

Develop pages focused on keywords.
Build several web pages on your site that focus on a specific keyword or key phrase appropriate for your business. Rather than listing all your services on a single web page, develop a specific page for each service. These pages can help move your site up in the search engine rankings.

Sponsor links.
Most pay-per-click search engines enable you to research exact "search terms" that have been used to perform searches. Use this research to your advantage and find what search terms are being used for your particular market. Create a list of as many pertinent keywords as possible and then place your bids accordingly. The more accurate the keywords you bid on, the more traffic you'll receive.

Your company's e-newsletter should be informative and full of relevant content. Make sure they are consistent and periodic (generally quarterly, monthly or weekly). Be careful to limit the sales pitch - the purpose of an e-newsletter is to provide useful information. Your audience will stop reading or subscribing if it becomes a commercial for your company.

Update your content.
Constantly update the information on your website. If your website's content is the same today as it was last year, there is no reason for visitors to return. Take advantage of any new service or product by letting people know online. Keeping your website current and informative will keep people coming back.

You are the expert.
Answering people's questions will portray you as an expert and will direct people to your website. Take inquiries from your website seriously - answer questions promptly and save the e-mail address. Ask the person if they would like to join your mailing list. If your site is viewed as informative it is more likely to bring visitors back.

Trust is important.
Include important contact information and trust-building items on your website. Testimonials, photos of yourself and your staff (people enjoy putting a face with a company) also add credibility.

Reciprocal linking.
Create partnerships with websites in related fields. You can promote one another, provide recommendations and exchange links. Be careful when selecting your online partners. Only use websites from companies you have dealt with and truly believe in. Having cross links helps improve your search engine ranking.

Message boards/forums.
An online forum is easy to create and has the potential to keep people coming back. People can put in their "two cents" and receive feedback. This opens up a debate, which can heat things up and keep people interested.

Online polls.
Everyone has an opinion, and even more than that, they want to share it! Visitors will repeatedly return to see the results of something they participated in.

Utilize your local resources.
Make sure your URL is added to the directories of the various organizations you belong to. This does not have to be limited to professional organizations. If you sponsor a local charity, group or team, make sure you are listed on their website as well.

Contests provide an additional way to drive traffic to your site. Not only will the contest bring traffic, but it will enable you to develop a targeted list of potential customers. Set up a form on your site for visitors to fill out in order to register for a prize. You can obtain information on your visitors by including questions that will identify their interests.

Coupons and freebies.
(i.e., electronic coupons) People love free stuff! Develop coupons or offers for free items that can only be obtained by visiting your website. Your website visitors will then learn more about your business and its products and services.

E-mail signature.
Use an e-mail signature that includes your website address. Your e-mail signature should contain your business name, address, phone, fax and website address with a message to "visit us online."


Direct mail campaign.
Postcards and mailings are an excellent marketing method for online companies. They are quick and easy, and will often get read. Postcards are an inexpensive way to send people to your website.

In print.
Add your website address everywhere you include your phone number (and some places you wouldn't). Add your website to your ads, print promotions, packaging, business cards, invoices, and even your voicemail greeting. Let people know you have a website and give them an idea of what they will find there. First impressions are often made online as people increasingly research companies and products on the internet.

Word of mouth.
Make sure your staff knows about your website, its content, and what it has to offer. You and your staff can refer people to your website for more information and details on your company and its products.

Success on the internet requires the same level of commitment as any other integral part of your business. Stevens Design Studio will be happy to discuss ideas and marketing plans to increase traffic to your website.

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