As a business owner, your website was not created ‘just for the fun of it’. A lot of thought and effort went into your website so it can communicate, as effectively as possible, a broad spectrum of information about your business: who you are, your mission and values, your products and services, your team, and how to get in touch with you. Under the covers of your website, your website designers and developers have also added some information onto every page of your site so that your website can be found quickly and correctly by visitors if they are using search tools such as BING or GOOGLE. This technique is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Making sure your website (i.e. your business) can be found via Internet search engines is the first critical aspect of website marketing. So what else can be done to market and promote your website so that you can get visitors “through the door”? Prior to the onset of the Internet, traditional tools to market your product might have been such things as advertising in online Business Directories, Newspapers and Magazines, distributing flyers, door-to-door sales, sales conventions, telemarketing, etc. All of these avenues are of course available now through the Internet, but they take on a different form, but the result is the same which is to raise awareness, attract visitors and of course, make money. The thought process for choosing the right tools for your website marketing follows along the same lines as you would take for traditional marketing:
- Do website marketing methods reach my target audience?
- Is it cost effective and will I get a good return on investment?
- How can I measure the effectiveness of my marketing money spent?
- Is the website marketing approach helping build brand awareness and customer loyalty?
- Will my existing customers be able to find me & can my website marketing help further sales to existing customers (increase their awareness of other products and services)?
Here are some ideas on where and how you can do your website marketing.
- Business Directories
- Your local business directories will always have an online version of their printed. It may be more cost effective to have a simple ad in the printed book but a more elaborate ad in the online ad – especially if your target audience are those who have access to smartphones or your product/service is needs driven (such as a restaurant, vet, clinic, etc.) where visitors would be using an internet search tool to get the information quickly.
- There may be a wide variety of paid and free online business directories that you could use to place an ad or listing of your products and services.
- Vendor / Supplier Websites
- If you are a reseller, make sure that your business is listed on your supplier’s website so potential customers can find you (this is also known as a backlink which we will discuss later).
- If you are a distributor or supplier, then make sure you list the businesses details, and especially the website / email information, for those who are reselling your products or services.
- Social Media and Word-of-Mouth
- Find out who’s talking about your business (good or bad) or get people talking about your business.
- Blogs – get independent persons to write about your products and services and make sure they put links in their blogs that take readers to your website and, ideally, to a specific page on your website that details more precisely what is being discussed.
- Social Media – tools such as Facebook, Disqus, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are great tools to start a dialogue with existing and potential customers and to showcase products, services, project success stories, FAQ, etc. More information on this is covered in the topic ‘Why should I use social media?’
- Newsletters and Electronic Flyers
- Keep your existing customers informed by sending them newsletters via email (make sure you have their permission to do this or it can be construed as SPAM)
- Create some ads for Google, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn and on other search engines or social media sites. Costing and approach is very similar to door-to-door distribution of fliers – you pay more depending on the size of the ad, how many ‘doors’ you are delivering too (known as impressions in Internet marketing parlance) and if you want to ‘target’ the delivery to specific households or businesses. More about this is will be covered in the topic ‘What is email marketing?’.
Written by RapidPage