By Nina L. Dillmann.
A couple days ago, I met an interior decorator at a networking
event. Since I am in the web design business, I asked her if she
had a web site for her business. She replied that she had a web
site a couple years ago, but never got any business from it so
she shut it off. My next question was “Well, how did you market
it?” She stared at me blankly and asked “Market it?”
I hear that response or variation of it almost daily. Many
people believe the old adage, “If you build it, they will come.”
But web sites don’t work that way. A web site can be a great
marketing tool, if used correctly. Simply, sticking a web site
out there and waiting for the customers to start pouring in is
not the correct way to use a web site.
After explaining that a web site isn’t an automatic customer
magnet, I went on to ask her what her procedures were in her
business. For example, I said if I were a client and wanted to
see your work before contracting with you to redecorate my
house, how would you handle that? Her reply was exactly what I
expected. She and I would make an appointment to look over her
portfolio. This would involve driving to the location where we
were to meet, paying for meals if appropriate, discussing the
portfolio for a length of time and then driving back to her
office. How much simpler if she could have said “My entire
portfolio is on my web site. Can I give you the URL?” Not only
has she saved time, but she has also saved money! This is only
one way that your web site can save you money in advertising.
Some other ways that your web site can save you money are:
1. Placing shorter advertisements in printed materials for less
cost. Direct the client to your web site where they can obtain
all the necessary information about your products or services.
2. Not needing to hire additional staff to answer telephone
calls with common questions. If you have questions that more
than one client is asking, put it on your web site. Most people
will check a web site for answers to their questions before
calling. It also gives you more specialized content and
remember, for the search engines, content is king!
3. Providing common forms and/or applications on your web site
that you request your client fill out. This works especially
well for contractors and those in the health professions. Save
your client time and money by allowing them to fill out your
questionnaires before meeting with them and email it to you. Or,
even better, let them submit it online and store the information
in a database. Not only have you increased your customer
service, but once again, you have saved yourself time and
Okay, so you’ve decided to get a web site now. How do you tell
people about it? How do you get people to look at it? If you
have 1000 brochures printed, but leave them on the shelf in your
office, they are not helping you to bring in new clients. Just
so with a web site, tell people about it. Put it on your
business card, on your brochures, on your car, or wherever you
can. Get it out there where people can see it.
Here is a quick checklist of things that you can do to drive
traffic to your web site on and off line.
1. Put your URL on all printed materials.
2. Use your email address @yourdomain.com not your AOL email
3. Create a signature for your email and then make sure that
your signature is in every single email that you send (even to
your mother!) Just a quick note here, I sent an email to my
sister explaining how to fix a certain computer glitch. Well,
she printed it out (with my signature line) and gave it to a
friend of hers who had the same problem. Her friend ended up
needing a web site and guess who she called? Your signature
needs to include: Your Full Name, Your URL, Your Email Address,
Your Phone Number, Your Tag Line or Slogan and Your Company
4. Try to find publications your industry and suggest or submit
an article. Your URL should be listed with any article you write
and if it appears on a web site, then it should be a hyperlink.
5. Network. Just because you have a web site, don’t sit at home
and expect the customers to call you. Go find them. Attend
networking events in your home town and hand out your business
cards with your URL on them!
Now that you what needs to be done, get out there and do it!
If you build it they will come........NOT
A website is a living, breathing creature and in order for it to succeed it
needs a huge amount of attention (visitors), plenty of watering (content updates) and tons of sunlight (marketing).
Marketing Your Website
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 months of watching no visitors or no sales, many of them will get
discouraged and shut off the website. So, what is the magic, if there is any?
Low Cost Web Site Promotion For Small Businesses
Promoting your small business website in the search engines can be a daunting task. Use of free submissions and link popularity is a good starting point for your website promotion campaign.