Your Website as a Part of a Coordinated Marketing Effort

Keys to an effective website strategy…

Does your website connect with your existing marketing and sales lines? Does it have the same look and feel as your “brick and mortar” business? Does it translate into sales and income? How does it route customers? Is it part of a coordinated marketing and sales effort or does it stray off on a tangent?

These are but a few of the vital questions you need to ask when considering publishing a commercial website. In many instances, a website is considered to be a drain on company resources instead of being a vital link in an overall marketing strategy. If you are considering publishing a commercial website for the first time, or even if you already have a website but it isn’t performing to your expectations, then you need to take a thorough look at how it fits into your sales and income lines and get it on track.

You must ask “What is the function of our website?” Will it sell products online with a shopping cart or will it simply generate phone calls? In either case consider getting a toll free number. Make it easy for customers to contact you.

Don’t make the serious mistake of hiding your contact info. I can’t tell you how many websites I have seen that either hide the contact info in some obscure and hard to find page or never provide it at all. I believe this stems from an outdated (and unworkable) idea that the website will automatically do the work with no human contact. This is a fallacy. People want to talk to other people. If you have them fill out a form or send an email, make sure there is someone on top of that and respond without delay. In sales if you snooze you lose. Usually the first person or sales rep to respond to a customer inquiry lands the deal.

Consider hiring a PR firm to get valuable press and media coverage. A PR firm can launch your product or service into the stratosphere. But be prepared to deliver! News and media coverage can reach millions of potential customers who can be routed to your website or to a call center by telephone.

Every aspect of your website must reflect professionalism. Don’t skimp on the graphic design (logo design, site design or downloadable documents). Your customers will judge you by the appearance of your website. Just like brochures, catalogs and other printed media, your website design must communicate professionalism.

Content is king. Keep it fresh and make sure there is lots of it. This is probably the number one factor in attracting lots of traffic. It’s more important than trying to optimize keywords, yet writing content with effective use of keywords is important. You can write your own content and you can use content from other sites — providing you have permission. Sharing content on the Internet is a common practice. Most authors only require a link back to their site where the content originated.

Include an Effective Search Engine Strategy — submission, linking, targeting keywords, net copywriting. This must be part of any website strategy with the exception of small, closed niche markets that don’t rely on new customers who search the Internet. Search Engines are constantly updating their rules and it would be wise to hire a professional SEO (search engine optimization) firm to do this. Carefully work out your projected ROI (return on investment) when working with an SEO professional. Like any advertising campaign you must consider the costs versus the projected income. SEO services are promotional expenses and should always result in net gains, not losses. You have to spend money to make money. Without an effective search engine strategy your website may be invisible on the Internet.

Make sure your hosting account offers a good stats program. The two most important stats are the number of unique visitors and number of page views. Do not confuse page views with “hits”. A “hit” is not a page view. A hit is any item on a page — the text of the page is one hit, each image on a page is a hit, etc. One page can have many “hits” so don’t go by hits. Watch your stats. Any SEO campaign or press release or other major change should produce a rise in visitors and page views. Reinforce and repeat actions that make the stats go up.

Be willing to commit the necessary resources and go the distance. Don’t go “half way” with your website. It can be a vital and productive component of your marketing and sales strategy so it is worth the investment. Stick with it and get the necessary professional assistance. It is possible to have a successful and thriving Internet business today.


Sue Doughty is the Marketing Director of Studio 1 Design and Hosting and has over 15 years experience in her field. Her advice in the area of search engine optimization has helped businesses achieve high search engine placement and success on the Internet. Visit Studio1 Design and Hosting on the Web at http://www.studio1webdesign.com, email email hidden; JavaScript is required.