ICBS, Inc. ICBS, Inc., Professional Web Development Company

ICBS, Inc.

Marketing Your Website
By Dr. J. Mathew, President, ICBS, Inc.

Many people have the mistaken notion that all it takes is to put up a great looking website on the world wide web and the riches follow. After six months of watching no visitors or no sales, many of them will blame the web designer (Of course some blame should go to them if they have made a lousy website.) and shut off the website pointing to the large number of dot com companies now biting the dust. So, what is the magic, if there is any?

Many successful websites spend many times their cost of developing the website on marketing the website. Marketing is an integral part of your eBusiness strategy. Remember, just because you have the best mouse trap, the world does not make a path to your house. (The path you may see is the one made by the departing mice!)

In addition to traditional marketing techniques such as public relations, advertising, etc. there are a variety of steps you can do at a shoe string budget. Let us look at the important ones:

1. Develop Relationship with your customers

Studies have shown that people rarely, ever, buy on the first visit. They have to get comfortable with you. They have to know that you are here to stay and not like one of the myriads of dot com sites that are closing doors. You want to make sure that your potential customer has your name in front of them. Keep in touch with your customers by means of

 
bulletEzine
bulletSending suggestions and tips on how to make life easy for them
bulletPersonal notes

Another way to encourage your customer to your site is by means of contests. Develop a community by means of a discussion board and, if possible, provide some free services. Newsletters can be made an integral part of a website. Provide the headlines on the newsletter. Let the reader visit your website for detailed information. All promotional efforts are to be carefully planned from the beginning so that the newsletter, website, and mailing list help each other grow.

2. Become an Expert by Submitting Articles to Other ezines and Magazines

You can build presence and reputation through publishing well researched, content-rich, helpful articles in others ezines. You can also get some of your articles published in other relevant websites.

Another way is to participate actively in relevant newsgroups and discussion pages and making postings to them.

3. Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Placement

Some people spend all their effort in getting their pages listed high on the search engines. Although getting listed high in search engines is important, you do not want to spend all your efforts in doing just that. Search engines keep changing their algorithms all the time and you will be on a never ending loop by chasing this far dream. The best way to get a high rating is to provide good content in your website. I believe that "content is king!"

There are certain things you can do to improve search engine listings. You should know about key words and meta tags. All your pages should have the key words and meta tags to attract robots. Resubmit your web site to major search engines once in about every 4-6 weeks. Too frequent submissions may get you dropped by some search engines. Some drops you after 6 weeks if you do not submit your listing again.

Develop strategies to build your "trademark" so that when people think about needing a service they will think about you rather than having to go to a search engine to find you. If you can develop your trade mark to that extent then you will be on the driver's seat.

4. Classified ads in ezines and free classified sites.

Ezines are good way to advertise because your ad is placed right in the prospects "face." S/He has requested the ezine and is likely to read it. Spend some time studying the results of specific ads and keep running the ones that work and changing the ones that don't work so well. (How you word your advertisement is very important. We will cover that separately.)

5 Banner ads through banner exchanges

Some services such as link exchange is good because they will also give you some idea of how many visitors come to your website. Do not place more than one banner on any page. Skip the banner on any page if you feel that the banner would detract from the page's effectiveness.

6. Develop your own custom mailing list

This is very important so that you can contact your customers without spamming. There are a variety of techniques you can use to develop this list, such as through subscriptions to your ezine, request for information or special reports you distribute, etc. Make sure that you have a privacy policy and assure your visitors that you will not sell their names to put them at ease.

7. Reciprocal Links

This is a very effective technique. Contact webmasters of similar sites and offer them a link in return for providing you with one. Having your web site listed by others also improve your search engine rankings - many search engines use the popularity of your site as a relevant criterion.

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