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Better Websiting: Super Site Promotion

Thursday, March 31, 2005

General Strategies

Some Web marketing and promotion techniques may seem intuitive once they are discovered, but it's amazing how many people still overlook them. Here are a few simple ways to improve your site and your understanding of it.

  • Cross-pollinate: Put your website address on your brochures, paper ads, commercials, and other media. This is an easy, cheap ad for your site. In addition, including your traditional contact information such as your phone number, postal mail address, and so forth on your website allows the customer to contact you in the way they feel most comfortable.

  • Use your current content: If you're stumped on what to put on your website, chances are you already have content you can use. Do you have company brochures? Flyers? Informational papers you hand out to potential customers? All of these can be transferred to your website, autoresponder, frequently-asked questions, and so forth with ease.

  • Content Organization: Certain techniques may boost your signup ratio simply by the way your content is organized. You can give the basic info found on all your brochures to all website customers, then include a members-only section for people who register on your site for free. In it, include more detailed information, free samples, helpful advice, and other exclusive, special information for your valued members.

  • Plan frequent revisions: A website is worth little more than a pile of company literature if it doesn't change often. You should keep your site current with all the latest information and news on your company, including anything you hand out to potential clients at your brick-and-mortar building and possibly more. Don't abandon your site or let it grow obsolete. If you do, you'll lose any gain you might have had in putting the website. If you neglect your website, they'll expect you to neglect their business in the same way.

  • Set reasonable goals: The end result may be that your website produces few direct sales. That doesn't mean it's worthless, though. It could be a valuable resource for your customers and a way for them to gain knowledge about your products and services before they call you or walk in to actually order. This also reduces your printing and question-answering costs. It allows customers to consider your offerings even before or after business hours.

For more info: The Internet Marketing Plan: The Complete Guide to Instant Web Presence - Kim M. Bayne

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Begin With a Plan

Now you know that companies must be innovative and savvy of the current trends on the internet. Where do you start, though? What's the first step toward breakthrough success?

While the Web is constantly evolving, the underlying foundation of online commerce is still the website. Before you go hire a designer and put your site address on all your business cards, though, you have to do some brainstorming. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I need a website?
    What good will a site be to your potential customers? Will they use it to get information, communicate with you or other interested people, buy products and services online? Any of these goals are viable, but you need to decide what will help your customers and solve their problems. Think from the customer's standpoint, not that of the business.

  • What will be my unique selling point?
    Chances are that what you're doing has already been done on the Web. When your viewers can go to your competitor with a click of the mouse, you need a way to draw them to you and make them stay. What can you do better than anyone else? Give exceptional one-on-one service? Offer the greatest ease of use? Provide a previously-undiscovered solution to a pressing problem? Find your best advantage and emphasize it in your marketing efforts.

  • What is my niche?
    Since the Web is almost universal, it's going to be extremely difficult to build your company for large general categories like selling books or real estate. Instead, you have to find a subcategory -- rare books or oceanfront property in Rhode Island, for example -- and carve your niche. Even if you have fewer visitors overall, those who do come will be interested in exactly what you're offering. Done right, that translates into a big payoff.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Super Site Promotion

The introduction to Evan Schwartz' Digital Darwinism includes an apt metaphor for the state of business on the internet. In it, he describes how we are beyond the times of businesses founded on a simple, untested idea like selling a product. Winners must "invent breakthrough business tactics especially suited to their swiftly shifting surroundings."

Companies that want to prosper on the Web "must constantly adapt to their changing environment or face extinction.... [They have to] grow in a profitable direction and develop new skills and traits or perish." You have to be aware of the latest developments and discover your own innovations in order to exploit them for your company's success.

On the other hand, you must also know the general trends of websites so that you don't confuse your visitors by using tactics totally foreign to them. Menu interfaces must be intuitive, links look and act as expected (clicked to open instead of opening by hovering over a word, for instance), and so forth.

Hardly any of this even takes into account what you need to do to make a person sign up to your newsletter or buy a product. You can work countless hours on your site, but if it doesn't make an impact on people, you won't succeed on the Web. That's why you need this reference. In it, you'll find proven strategies for increasing your site's effectiveness and popularity without breaking the bank. Bookmark it and return often for frequent tips on these and related issues.