Many web marketers believe the adage "If you build it they will come". Donít count on it - they wonít. Imagine opening a retail store in an industrial park. If you donít advertise your location, no one will ever find you tucked back behind the vacuum repair shop. You must give your customers a reason to come and a way to find you. Here are seven proven ways that YOU can help get customers to beat a path to your cyber door.
1. First, give them a reason to come. A time proven
marketing plan is to give the customer something of value for
free. Many successful web sites offer entertaining information
that changes on a regular basis. Publish your newsletter, offer
a monthly article on pertinent information related to your industry.
Have a monthly contest, tips of the day, rotating cartoons,
question and answers, publish related news, feature reviews
of industry products, give the spotlight to a different customer
or vendor each week. The possibilities are endless! The purpose
is to entertain and encourage repeat visits. One of the biggest
advertising mistakes someone can make is to put up a web site
and allow it to become a "cobweb site". Keep it fresh, current
2. Customize your Email to include a signature file. At the bottom of every Email you send out be sure that your Email address, web address (URL), telephone number and a VERY short blurb about your business appears. Then every contact you make becomes a mini ad - business card.
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3. Find related noncompetitive sites and request
reciprocal links. Everyone wants more hits on their pages. Links
provide your customers ways to visit related sites that can
also support and improve your views (and sales). Surf the net
for related sites and seek to link. But be judicious in your
use of outgoing links. You just got a visitor to your site,
donít immediately send them away! Also, be sure to check out
each site before linking to them. You donít want to be connected
in any way to an unsavory or illicit site.
4. Consider banner advertising. Banners are rectangle
ads with a clickable link that is placed on your site. In return,
your banner ad is placed on other carefully selected, high volume
sites. The idea is that for every time your site shows someone
elseís ad, you accumulate credit that enables your ad to be
shown elsewhere. You hope that someone will click your (elsewhere)
ad and travel to your site. There are free banner programs as
well as paid programs.
5. Become active in some of the several thousand Internet
web groups and mailing lists. Find groups that are likely to
be frequented by your potential customers and join in on discussions.
"Lurk" for a few days so that you understand the culture of
that particular group, then find ways to add constructive comments
to the discussions. At the bottom of every message will be the
signature message/mini advertisement that we discussed before.
Be careful not to spam or use the group to broadcast an ad.
While this is often done, it is very frowned upon and will do
more to hurt your reputation in the long run.
6. Include your Email and web address in all of your
companyís print literature, stationary, display products, print,
radio or television advertisements. Hereís where you DO want
to broadcast the address. Today, people will look for your web
address knowing that they will be able to find out more about
your products and services by going on-line. Tell your customers,
announce it at trade shows, answer your telephone by asking
if theyíve seen the new web site. Advertise your new site in
trade publications, put out a press release. Donít hide your
light under a bushel - announce it to the world!
7. Always respond quickly to any Email messages that
may arrive. Nothing turns off a potential customer more than
to be ignored. Check your Email every day and respond within
24 hours - even if its just a message telling the customer that
their missive has been received and someone will respond within
(X) amount of time. Customer service is still all important,
even if it isnít face-to-face. Remember, the chat rooms and
mail groups that help make you can also break you. Gossip runs
rampant on the net. Donít set your web site up to get negative
You now have seven important ways to help increase awareness and traffic to your web site. By using most or all of these suggestions, the chances are that one day youíll be bragging about your success and foresight in jumping into the cyber future instead of bemoaning the web as just another bad marketing fad.