Chapter 1 Preparing the Groundwork
The goal of anyone who owns a website is for their website to show up in the top ten placements of every search engine, every time someone searches on key words that are relevant to their business. When you consider that there are millions of websites that exist, not to mention the numbers of internal pages that each contains, we are talking about millions and millions of possible web pages. With all these existing web pages it is a marvel how the search engines succeed in satisfying our queries. An alternative way to locate websites other than search engines is directories. Online directories are like the telephone book's "yellow pages" of the Internet. A directory is a collection of website links organized into categories and subcategories. The user must browse through the categories to find what they are looking for. Online directories work well but require millions of "man hours" to create and maintain. For various reasons, small- and medium-sized businesses were late in embracing the Internet and in developing their own websites. As a result, much of the top search engine placement was left to the "big boys" and other first comers who build websites. Those forward-thinking website pioneers understood that search engine and directory placement were crucial in order to get visitors to their websites. For many of us using the Internet in the early years, search engines or directory lookups were often the only places where they could find websites to visit. Websites that were developed early, and registered with the search engines and directories, had a huge advantage. As time progressed, these websites often were displayed in the top listings of the search engines. Even if these websites didn't come up high in the placements of the search engines when they were created, most of them managed to edge up closer to the top over the years as other websites and businesses ceased to exist. This has made it even more difficult for new websites to get into the top placement of search engines without spending a lot of money to do so. The purpose of this manual is to help anyone who owns or manages a website to discover other ways of promoting their website. You should also remember that, for most businesses, the website is only a part of their overall marketing plan. The information in this manual is presented in such a way that the reader builds a working foundation on which to construct their own website promotion plan and follow-up activities. Most Internet users spend 98% of their time off-line living in the real world; for this reason, this publication deals primarily with how to promote your website offline. When you are building your marketing plan, focus on a few specific promotional activities rather than spreading your marketing budget and activities on thin. As anyone in the advertising business will tell you, repetition is more important than anything else. It is far better to run one small classified ad every week, than a T.V. commercial only once.
Chapter 2 Evaluation of Your Business and Website
In order to build a solid foundation for your website marketing plan, you need to be clear on the fundamentals of your business. This information will help you decide where to best spend your money and energy. No one wants to waste time and money attempting to market in areas that do not target potential clients The very first thing you need to be clear on is: knowing exactly what business are you in. Ask yourself this question: What business am I in? The answer you give will most often be the same kind of answer you have given over and over in the past. It is the answer that defines the process you use to make money. For example, perhaps you sell groceries, bicycles, shoes or accounting services. Now think for a moment what you do, from the customer's point of view. This may be difficult so here are some examples: If you sell groceries, you are in the nutrition business because that is what customers are buying. If you sell bicycles, you are either in the transportation or the recreation business because these are the reasons people buy bicycles. If you sell shoes, you could be in the fashion, sports or transportation business, depending on the type of shoes you sell. If you provide accounting services, you are probably easing your client's stress and/or saving them time.
Now ask yourself this question again: What business am I in from my customer's point of view? Later on in this manual, you will find other questions that will need to be answered. Record these answers to help give yourself a clear understanding of all aspects of your business.
Chapter 3 Establishing Your Business Goals
Another important aspect of promoting your website, and ultimately your business, is to determine how and when you are going to measure progress and success. "Oh, that's easy you say, when the money starts rolling in, I'll know it works." Well, not so fast. What happens if the money starts rolling in, then all of a sudden it stops? False starts are common in business, so the way to identify them and move on is to ensure you have a long-term plan. Every business is looking for long-term, reliable, dependable income. It may be seasonal, or periodic, but it must be sustainable. We recommend evaluating your business goals weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. This will give you consistent information you can follow, and allow you to make any adjustments along the way that you may need to ensure success. There are a various methods used for setting and measuring goals. I recommend setting financial goal. Setting and measuring financial goals are important because it can reveal many aspects of your business, such as your productivity and profitability. Begin your goal setting by establishing objectives that are achievable, within a specific period of time. What is the gross yearly revenue of your business? What percent increase in revenue or profit would you like to achieve? Over what period of time will you allow for this?
Chapter 4 Defining Your Website Purpose
Once you have people visiting your website, the trick for many businesses will keep them interested and hopefully coming back to your website. Much has written on how to construct a good website; sadly much of it seems to have ignored. This section will not go into great length about how to construct a website except to provide some general tips and suggestions. be to been been good
Now that you have firmly established what business you are in based on your client's perception of you, it is important to make a lasting impression with your customers. The questions you will address throughout this manual, including why clients buy from you, will need to be channeled into making sure your website reflects those customer-driven themes. There are lots of so-called "rules" on website construction, and now that you are viewing things from your customer's point of view some elements of your website that in the past seemed acceptable, may now be viewed with a more critical eye. If this is the case, you are making great progress. During this process it will be beneficial to ask the opinion of friends and relatives who may be able to give you a fresh perspective. The first thing to keep in mind with any website is DON'T CONFUSE YOUR VISITORS. By this I mean, make sure that anyone who is visiting your website understands quickly and concisely why they are there. Your site must clearly convey a simple message; are you SELLING, BUYING or INFORMING your visitors. Put simply, your site should have a main purpose for its existence. If the site was developed to sell product, it is fine to describe what the product or service is, but the emphasis should be that it is a "sales site." If your site is an online brochure for your company and you are providing a variety of offerings, make sure you are crystal clear so your visitors know exactly where things on your site are located. Grab your visitor's attention right away. Your site needs to open with a simple, clearly defined message that will make the visitor want to look further at the site. Don't have your opening page begin with paragraph after paragraph of typed text. Nothing turns a visitor off more quickly than the idea that they are going to have to read volumes of material in order to figure out what you do. Make navigation easy and intuitive. As a general rule, when someone is visiting a website they want to have the flexibility of moving from page to page throughout the website. It can be very annoying to navigate a website by always returning to the home or main page. Even worse is navigating through a website and finding that the only option you have is the “Back button”. When this happens many people simply “click” away to another website. Poor navigational links on a website are signs of poor development quality and or poor planning. In the mind of the visitor, a fault on a website, like poor navigation, reflects on the quality of your business. Make sure all your website pages contain all the same internal links. See Figures 1 and 2 for examples.
Another method of tracking your business is to measure activities. Activities can be measured in many ways, such as the amount of incoming or outgoing phone messages, e-mails, inventory items, customer enquires, or whatever activities in your business that lead to sales. Over a period of time, the activity model should be seen as a precursor to the financial formula. What I mean by this is that the amount of activities should also relate to the amount of sales. More activities will normally relate to more sales. If you are generating a huge amount of client activity but selling very little, you need to be more effective in choosing activities that will generate sales. In selecting a business activity, many companies choose to follow salespeople's "call lists." Many salespeople track their activities by noting who they have talked to during a sales cycle, then noting which potential customers are suspects or prospects and when they might be in a position to purchase. If this is more elaborate than a scheme you have, you may choose to monitor website activity, incoming e-mails and phone calls, or volumes of inventory you may be moving. Any one, or a combination of these, is good ways to measure how your clients are reacting to marketing and the promotion of your website.
Avoid long and wordy paragraphs Unless you are providing some technical information. Even then it is probably a good idea to provide this information using a downloadable format such as PDF files. It is best to use graphics or pictures to help tell your story. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is especially true on websites. Speed is of the essence Especially when it comes to browsing websites. One of the best ways to drive visitors away from your site is by having a site that is painfully slow. Some of the things that can slow a website down are: Graphic images that are improperly applied Faulty scripts and programs improperly applied Web-host operating with slow equipment Animation or sound files improperly applied
Chapter 5 Content Value
There are many different kinds of websites that can span many different styles and tastes. In every case the value of the content of the website is what will make visitors return to it time after time. If you have a website that is simply a place for humor, satire and entertainment, it needs to have the same high readership value as a site that provides a high level of training. One thing that is constant is that most people appreciate and crave value. It is up to you to provide this as best you can on your website. Content value can mean many different things to different people, and will be somewhat dependent on what the purpose of your website is. It will be up to you to determine the content value. If it is low, you will get fewer repeat viewers. If it is high, you will not only get repeat viewers, you will also gain the advantage of word-of-mouth advertising. There are a few elements that go along with content value and will contribute to or take away from its value. One of these is volume of content. If someone must search through piles of documentation in order to find a snip-it of valued information, they will be less likely to return to the site. If, on the other hand, information is readily available and easy to find, they will not only want to return – they may well bookmark the site. This leaves us with another element of value and that is ease of finding information. Some sites offer information but it is so hard to find because it is hidden away on some obscure web page or buried in text somewhere that is just too lengthy to read. The value of the content of a website can be measured in one easy way. Ask yourself this question, would your website be comprehensible to a twelve-year-old adolescent? We use this question as a measuring gauge to evaluate website content. The purpose of using a twelve-year-old is that most children have acquired their adult reasoning and comprehensive level by the time they reach twelve years of age. If your website cannot be understood by most twelve-year-olds, it probably is too complicated or confusing for many adults too. If you are unclear as to the value of the content of your website, ask some of your clients, ask them tough questions, do they appreciate the site? Did they bookmark it? Would they return to it? What, in their opinion, could be done to improve the value of the content? These are all valid questions and from an important source – your existing clients. The value of the content on your website is important to the health of your website; make sure you are providing quality information that is conveniently available.
When you work hard to attract visitors, the last thing you want to be doing is spoiling their experience with a slow website. Build your site according to the latest modem speed and computer viewing statistics. Finding this information on the Internet will require some research, but it is invaluable in making a better website. Keep in mind that when building your site, what looks good on one computer will be irritatingly slow to download on another. Make your website easy and inviting to navigate Imagine you are a new customer or visitor to your website. Look at everything with a discriminating eye. Always seek to improve.
Chapter 6 Overall Website Appeal
There must be a reason for a visitor to enter your site and that reason could be a number of things including: Attractiveness – does the site have eye appeal? Easy to use and navigate – can a visitor find their way around EASILY? Functional – does it operate the way it should, do ALL the pages work? Intuitive – does the site "help" the visitor to experience the content value? Clarity – Is the site easy to understand and, above all, MEANINGFUL? Don't make useless additions to your site for no reason, including some of these: Animations, particularly when they distract the visitor from your main message. Random internal and external links. These can also distract a visitor from your main message to the point that the click away to another page or website. Sounds and music those are distracting. Some if the sound cannot easily be turned off, you risk driving the visitor from your site. Lengthy, wordy paragraphs, that say very little or worse, confuse the reader.
Chapter 7 Demography and Geography
An important component to understand how and where to promote your website is to know and recognize your clients. There are two important marketing statistics you will need to become familiar with – namely demography and geography. What is the demography of your clients'? What are the most common age groups, gender, and what other human-related features identify your specific clients? It is obvious that if you are selling skateboards, there is little point in advertising your website on grocery store bulletin boards. Your clients just don't spend any time there. It would be far more useful to sponsor a skateboard competition, for example. In helping to define your clients, the next questions you need answered are: What is the specific age group of your clients? What specific gender (if any) are my clients? Are there any other human-related specifics unique to my clients, such as work habits, job types, leisure time activities or any other specific definable traits? Where is the geographic location of your clients? This doesn't just mean where they live, it also asks where they work, and where they spend their leisure time. If you are going to be targeting promotional material directly to your client group, knowing where they spend their time when they are not browsing on their computers will be useful to know. Are your customers local, national, international, or both? Where do they spend their leisure time? Where do they work? Where do they live (house, apartment, rural, urban)? What do they read? What TV programs do they watch?
All of these contribute to degrading a site. If a website is not working properly or not built properly a visitor can assume a few things: The website owner doesn't know what they are doing (in which case, would they want to deal with you?) The website owner doesn't really care (in which case, would they want to deal with you?)
Put your best face forward and make the first impression a lasting one for your visitor. They have come to your site for a reason – make sure they are rewarded for their effort by making sure their experience is a good one.
Both demography and geography will play an important role in helping you decide where your marketing efforts and finances are best spent. Knowing these elements will assist you in targeting your efforts to specific sectors of the market. You will want to know what attracts them to your website – is it price, quality, service, uniqueness or some other element that attracts them? Be sure to incorporate those elements in your website. You need to entrench? Next you need to ask yourself: How do your clients locate your website and business right now? Or, if your business is new; how do you expect your clients to find you? You need to think through this question because if you expect your clients to find you; what will be the means that they use? The last question you need to ask yourself is why do your clients purchase from you (and not one of your competitors)? There must be something about what you do that makes people want to buy from you. It could be price, quality, uniqueness of product or service, it could be customer service, timeliness, or it may be the staff you employ. Whatever the reason, you need to know what this is in order to ensure you can keep replicating this and making it even better. Why do clients purchase from me?
Chapter 8 Search Engine Challenges
There are a number of areas on the Internet that are used to help us find websites. These areas are generally referred to as search engines. Search engines can be broken down into three groups: Automated search engines (That use software to collect and index the content of pages, e.g. www.Altavista.com, www.northernlight.com) Directories (That use human editors to categorize web pages by subject, e.g. www.Dmoz.org, www.yahoo.com) Hybrid search engines (That uses both of the above, e.g. www.Google.com, www.metacrawler.com)
to search engines can be a bit more difficult. The three most important tags to have in the HTML programming of your website are: Web page Title the better) (used to title individual web page, the more descriptive
Meta Description (a concise description of your website functions and/or purpose) Meta Key Words (unique words that describe your products, services or area)
Following are examples of properly created tags inserted into an HTML web page: It is crucial that the above three key areas are knowledgeably created because the search engines use the information in these three areas to rank your website against all the other websites. <title>Website, CD ROM design BC British Columbia </title> and development, Victoria,
What's wrong with Search Engines? Well, not very much. Most search engines work very well – the only real problem is that they are overworked. Imagine for a moment if you were to try and catalogue every word of every page of every website that exists, including those that are being built right now, and in the future. Now throw in the element of all the web pages that are changed or deleted, and you would have a pretty big chore on your hands. This is precisely what we are expecting the search engines to do for us. It's simply a lot of work to catalogue. The number one goal of anyone who owns any website is "to be in the top ten listings of every search engine." Depending on the search category you are listed in, with the millions of websites in existence, you can see how difficult it can be for a website to be in a top ten category. For example, if you are trying to get top placement selling space shuttles, you will have a much easier time than trying to get a top placement as a car dealer. Consider too, that if you are in the top ten, there can be hundreds of people with similar websites gunning for your spot on the search engine placement list. I believe that every website should be registered with the search engines. I don't agree that every website should try to be in the top ten listings of every search engine. If your clients are worldwide, search engine placement MAY be more critical. If your clients are local, the search engine placement is probably less of a concern but, in either case, you must be the judge of that. This manual will only provide you with basic techniques to help you get your website listed on the search engines. If you are convinced that your website needs a highsearch engine placement, I recommend that you hire one of the many companies who specialize in search engine placement. In order to have your website listed with a search engine or directory, your website needs to be submitted. Each search engine or directory uses a different method for submission. Some search engines require payment in order for them to list your website. Some search engines do not make it obvious where to go on their web pages in order to make your website submission. If you have problems finding their submission page, send them an e-mail requesting the link. Submitting to the directories is relatively easy; it is a matter of finding the category you want to be listed in and submitting your website under that category. Please keep in mind that each submission has to be reviewed by a human being, so it may take some time (weeks) before you are added to the directory. Submitting your site
<meta name="keywords" content="Victoria, BC, web design, CD ROM, multimedia, web site design, flash, Vancouver Island, e-learning, logo, graphic design, British Columbia, Canada, e-commerce, new media, internet, animation, database, interactive, e -learning"> <meta name="description" content="E -State Media Group is a Victoria BC based multimedia co mpany. We offer a Varity of services including website design and development, flash and shockwave animation, as well as traditional print work."> Some of the organizations that track Internet usage, have recently discovered that less than 50% of websites that were visited did NOT come from search engine or directory listings. This indicates that people are finding websites by other methods than simply doing search engine or directory queries. This fact alone tells us that other forms of website promotion are working. You must evaluate your needs based on your business and your clients. This will guide you to in making informed decisions.
Chapter 9 Preparing for Additional Website Traffic
Before you do all the work of attracting people to your website, determine whether your business can handle the traffic. You need to prepare ahead of time for increased volumes, and for all the possible problems and challenges that can occur over time. Ask yourself and/or or potential web-hosting service the following questions: Can your web hosting company handle large volumes of traffic coming to your website? In most cases the answer to this will be yes, but you need to know this ahead of time so talk to your Internet Hosting Provider so they can be aware of your potential higher traffic activities. You should also be reminded that additional traffic to your website may mean higher monthly costs from your website hosting company for the increased traffic levels. Are you set up for mail-order shipments? If you are planning on selling products over the Internet, can you and your staff handle volumes of product sales, shipping AND all the things that go along with these. I recommend that you create a mail-order department, and procedures for handling mail-order requests. In most cases this will also mean you should set up a secure, e-commerce website to handle and track the transactions. Do you have a secure website for accepting customer payments? If you don't, you will be losing sales because many online shoppers will only trust secure sites. E-commerce sites provide a secure means for Internet shoppers to purchase products and services online. There are a multitude of companies that offer services in setting up e-commerce accounts. Check first of all with your own Internet hosting provider to see if they offer this service, or can they recommend another company. What are your procedures for … Stolen Credit Cards (when someone pays with a stolen card number) Undelivered product (your customer claims the product didn't arrive). Damaged goods (your customer claims product received damaged). Unsuitable goods (the product simply does not live up to expectations). Shipping and delivery. Informing your potential customers availability of their purchase and approximate delivery time. of the
You need to make list of all of the scenarios regarding trust and security. Beside each one, write down what procedure will be taken to correct the situation. As you go through this list, you will discover things you can do that will help eliminate or reduce problems. When you have finished the solutions list, make copies for your staff and post them somewhere so that everyone can see them. Don't be afraid to make amendments to it as the need arises. Decisions in the past can be changed, especially as situations change. Make sure that you follow through with the items in this section in recognizing problems before they happen. Remember that an increase in sales and activities often means an increase in problems that go along with them. If your business is to sell online and you are not fully prepared for volumes of traffic, this can significantly impact your business. Be like a good Boy Scout or Girl Guide and Be Prepared. The last thing you want is an unhappy customer; as that can do more damage to the short- and long-term viability of your business than any other singular event.
Chapter 10 Branding Your Business and Website
Branding is a word that has gained popularity in recent years, but its meaning is often shrouded in double talk and misunderstanding. Branding is the "feeling" that people get from certain products, services or businesses. There are many elements of a business that could be used for branding. It could be a logo, a name, a picture, a product or any other tangible thing that creates an association with a product, service or company. Branding can be difficult to accomplish because you cannot command people to associate a good feeling with your products or services. People need to experience this in order for the branding to become meaningful. You need to start of by establishing what exactly it is that you want to brand. Will it be your products, your company name or a logo? It should be something that will associate all of these business elements together. One important component of branding is the "experience" customers have, during and after an interaction with a "branded" entity. In order for the branding to reflect a positive experience, the interaction and experience must also be positive. Branding can best be described with one word: TRUST. It is the trust in branded entities that prompts people to patronize them. Trust is the same reason that branding cannot happen overnight; it takes time to build client trust. You need to be aware that trust can also be lost in an instant. Trust is a feeling; therefore, it is one of the quickest things your business can lose. For this reason, it is imperative that all your efforts go into making each client interaction a positive one. Think for a moment of the things you purchase and why you purchase them. Take a common product like cola. There are many brands of colas available. Some are well -advertised and promoted while others rely simply on their price. What do you buy? Do you buy the more expensive brand because you have seen all the ads for them over the years; you have consumed the product many times and have always found it to be refreshing and consistent? Or, do you buy the cheaper brand that you have never heard of before, never tried and don't know the company or its product? If you are like most consumers, you will likely buy the well-advertised and "trusted"
What level is your Internet and website security? Will people trust you? Does your website and your business "appear" to be legitimate? Later on in the Branding Chapter you will see why these questions are so important by instilling trust with your clients. Internet security is an important issue, particularly if you are operating an e-commerce site. There are a number of organizations that offer online certificates for secure websites that adhere to their strict code of security implementations. Other things that will help to make your website appear to be legitimate and trustworthy are to publish your street address, and even post a picture of the building in which you are located.
product most of the time, and very occasionally purchase an unknown brand. Branding is relying on trust and experience to influence our decisions. So how can you use branding? I highly recommend that you "brand" your website address. The reason for this is that when you brand your website address, no matter what product or service you provide, or change, people will always associate your website with a known and trusted entity. You can begin "branding" your website address by focusing all of your promotions on sending people to your website, where they can find out all the information about you, your products and or services, and your company. You need to be consistent in ALWAYS advertising and promoting your website. There are many more activities you can engage in that will help brand your website address. Some good examples are: Incorporating your website address into your logo, making sure your website address appears on all your promotional material and using a catchy name for your website address. Many large corporations have more than one "branded" entity. With some companies it is simply their name; with others it is a variety of elements that have been created and associated with the company. Just a few of the companies that have successfully "branded" their products or services are: NIKE Inc. Has bandied their world-famous Nike "swoosh" logo. It has been so well promoted that now most people on the planet recognize a Nike product simply by seeing the logo. The advantage to this is that now Nike can manufacture any product, apply their logo, and be assured that the buyer will recognize who the manufacturer is. The Coca-Cola Company has spent a lifetime promoting a logo that includes specific colors and scripted lettering. The product is sold worldwide and the logo is recognized around the globe as a popular soft-drink with a consistently high quality of manufacture, packaging and consistency. An Internet-based company that began as an bookseller, and then branched into a variety of products. www.Amazon.com is the perfect example of a company that branded its web address. Even people who have never visited the Amazon.com website are aware of the company.
Chapter 11 Making A Sticky Website
When you are ready to attract people to your website, what are you going to do with them? Are they going to come in, have a quick look around then "click" off to the next website or are they going to "stick around" for a while? Many designers of websites learned years ago that things like web counters (those little faces that count how many people have visited a website page) are a very poor measure of the website's true activity. This is because they only count visits to the page they are applied to, not the entire site. Other statistics can be far more important than how many have visited. The "stickiness" of a website refers to how long people spend on certain pages of your website. Obviously the longer the better, because the longer they are there, the better chance you have of gaining their trust. Many of the major search engines had great challenges years ago with getting people to stay at their websites. Why, you ask, would a search engine want visitors to stay longer at their site? They wanted to sell advertising space and they knew that if visitors were only spending a minute or two at their search engine sites, they would never get a chance to see the advertising that was posted on it. To solve this problem, most search engines became "content rich," which is a fancy phrase for more visitor information. In some cases they implemented "current events and news stories," others added features like "game rooms," "stock quotes," or "free email options." All of this was done so that the search engine sites could show their advertisers that people were spending time on the search engine sites, and did have time to read the advertising. The search engines companies needed to do this in order for them to maintain and recover their costs for providing the free search engine functionality. All of these efforts paid off. Now, people spend more time in longer intervals at many search engines because there is more for them to do and see while they are there. This means the advertisers are getting their ads read more thoroughly and most search engines remain free for anyone on the Internet to use. Attracting people to your website is not enough; visitors need to stick around long enough to do whatever it is that your website was designed for them to do. All of the elements that make a website sticky also include the construction and content of your website such as look, feel, navigation, etc. All of these elements are needed to entice visitors to linger at your website long enough for them to obtain something from it. Some of the things you can implement that will help visitors spend more time or increase the volume of visits to your website are: Make sure the website is attractive, works properly so it won't drive visitors away. Use your home page to announce short news features about your business. Provide "tips" associated with your products or services. Provide interesting to-the-point information on products and services. Make your text sections interesting and easy to read. Implement chat, list-serve, or other interactive sessions. There is value in having visitors spend more time at your website, just as there is value in having visitors return again and again to your site. Both of these activities build trust (branding) that equates to better customer relations, higher volumes and higher margin sales.
Chapter 12 Viral Marketing
One of the sales elements that work hand in hand with branding is viral marketing. These two marketing aids complement one another and help to make one another more powerful. Viral marketing is a new phrase that means "word of mouth" marketing, or more accurately for website promotion, "self-propagation." What viral marketing does is to "spread your message" within the community, without you having to intervene. It's like free advertising because visitors to your website will recommend it to others who will recommend it to others and so on. In many ways, this kind of promotion acts just like a virus in that it spreads from person to person almost without them being aware. There are two types of viral marketing: Direct Viral Marketing – occurs when a client spreads the awareness of your product or service to others simply by using the product or service. Some of the online e-mail services are examples of this. When someone sends an e-mail using these kinds of services, each email automatically includes a message at the bottom of the e-mail that states the name of the email service they are using. A subtle but effective method of promotion. Indirect Viral Marketing – happens when a client must actively find another client in order for both of them to benefit by using the product. An example of this is when someone wants to use an Internet service like a chat or messaging service, and they have to solicit the assistance of another user in order to implement the service. For example, if one person wants to send instant online messages to another person, that other person also needs to have the same software installed in order for the messaging to work. This means that one person needs to implore another to also install a messaging utility. (e.g., MSN messenger or ICQ) There may be some ways you can implement viral marketing or self propagation within your website. Offering things for free is one good way of doing this. This doesn't mean you have to give away a product; you could provide a free service or some other valuable non-tangible item. If you have the means, providing a free screen saver or background image could be one way that your customers will spread the news of your website. Another idea is to provide a free service to visitors of your site. Free advice on technical or other complicated topics could be useful – quotes or definitions are useful to some people. Contests are another way of attracting attention. If you do implement a contest, I suggest that your prize be one of significant value in the eyes of your clients. If it is deemed to be of low value, it will not attain the status of being a suitable viral marketing item. There are many ways that a website can be made to contain items that visitors to the site will want to tell others about. Those who implement this feature and make it valuable will have a much greater chance of reaping the benefits of viral marketing.
Chapter 13 Cost Effective Online and Offline Marketing
There are dozens of methods and opportunities for anyone to promote and advertise their website; the trick now is picking the most effective ones that will work for you. The following sections will be broken down into three main categories: a) b) c) Online Marketing Methods Traditional Marketing Methods Specialized Marketing Methods
Traditional and Specialized marketing methods will deal primarily with offline topics. It is my firm belief that for many businesses offline promotion ideas are the “forgotten” methods of website promotion. It is easy to think about online promotion when you are talking about a website because the website is an online vehicle. The truth is that most people live most of their lives offline which means there is a world of opportunity out there in terms of promotion that is offline. When you examine the amount of time people spend online every week, then compare that time with all the other activities that they do, you begin to realize all the areas there are to promote your website
Chapter 14 Online Marketing Methods
There are a number of very effective ways to promote your website online that often have nothing to do with search engines – here are a few of them: Purchasing banners or other ad space Banner ads or smaller square and rectangular ads are often seen on many websites, including search engines. These ads normally cost money to have them displayed. Some websites will also offer a banner or ad exchange, which means if you put their banner ad on your site, they will put your banner ad on their site. These commercial ads can be very useful when displayed on prominent web sites. You will be required to provide the banner or display ad in a specific size, which will then be installed on the ad site and will be used to "click through" to your site. Make sure that you get details of the types and volumes of visitors that are viewing these sites, and their demography, so that you stay within your targeted group. Purchase Pay-per-click advertising Some of the search engines like Google and other types of websites offer a variety of plans for promoting your website on their website. The advantage of these ads or links on other websites is that you pay when someone actually “clicks” through to your website from theirs (most also have some sort of a nominal sigh-up fee) This method of advertising is called pay-per-click and can be quite a cost-effective method of advertising your website. The other advantage of pay-per-click is that you have the ability to selectively target specific clients, based on the criteria you select (key search words). Most websites that offer pay-per-click also allow the advertiser to monitor and manage their own accounts. This means you can create an online marketing plan as simple or complicated as you need. Purchase Search Engine or Directory space Some search engines and directory services provide fees for service in getting your website listed. Some of the search engines that currently offer some fees for service include: Yahoo, AskJeeves, Inktomi, Lycos, and Excite. Paying for search engine listings seems to be the trend of the future: look around for cost-effective sources and make sure you do your research before you signing up for this type of service now that you know what you are looking for. Paying for search engine or directory services can be a cost-effective way to ensure your website is given prominent display. As with all other forms of promotion, this will require some research on your part because this is a constantly changing market. I just want you to be aware that this is an option that you may want to consider. Link exchanges Link exchanges simply mean putting a link on your website for another website, while other websites put links to your website on theirs. This is normally a free exchange between consenting websites; it benefits you in two ways. First, you may get a link to your website from other sites (called an in-link). Second, some search engines take your in-links into consideration with regard to your placement. The more in-links you have, the higher you are placed on some of the search engines. Newsgroups These are also called (Discussion) Forums and are simply online discussion groups. Special readers (a software program designed specifically for online discussions) may be required to view newsgroups or forums. Advertising on many of these is often considered taboo, make sure you know the “rules of the form”. The good news
is that there are often non-threatening ways of going about getting a message out. MAKE SURE you understand the do's and don'ts before you start using these services as you may face some cruel criticism (or worse) for not following their guidelines. Newsgroups can be accessed through most e-mail programs, and listings for newsgroups can be found by accessing this feature in your e-mail program. One way to “sneak” advertising into Forms and Discussions is to simply use the Domain Name of your website in the body of your text, almost as a by-product of a question or statement. What you DO NOT want to do is blatantly tell everyone to go to your website “for great deals” or some other obvious reason. This is sure to cause friction with other members of the group. Another way of “quietly”advertising your website is to use it in the signature of your emails (email signatures will also covered later). Listservs or List Groups These are similar to newsgroups with the exception that they use Internet browsers or e-mail programs for communication. Like Newsgroups there are often rules that need to be followed but promotion "done in good taste" with these sites is often acceptable. Listservs can be more difficult to find and are often associated with special interest topics. Internet searches are a good place to start. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of newsgroups and listserve-type services available. Finding listings for these in your area will take some work. Some may be listed on Internet website pages while others are only found through word of mouth with people who use them. You may need to call some web hosting companies or other business groups in your area in order to find listings for these groups. If you do join some of these, follow their guidelines and you will be rewarded by an increase in traffic to your website. Direct email Direct email refers to manually sending emails to prospective clients one email at a time. One of the drawbacks with direct email is that it takes time to do. The advantage is that it is often more rewarding in its return as emails are directed to specific people or groups. Direct email is an ideal way to create a list of followers for your website, company or products. E-mail is easy to use and targeted directly to specific people. See also Opt-in Lists. Email also has some risks. Even if you send emails to “prospective clients” one at at time, some recipients of these email will still perceive them as “spam emails”. As the Internet and email become more widely used SPAM email is becoming more and more a problem. There are a number of anti-spam organizations that are quite aggressive toward spammers. Don’t get caught in their net, do your research. Some companies have de-listed email contacts from them because of spam abuse to their employees. Some companies have installed complicated “filters” to eliminate unwanted email. What I have found the most effective lately is to call prospective clients by telephone and during that conversation get their email. Opt-in lists Bookmark This Website, Subscribe, Sign in, Fill out survey, Enter Contest and Newsletters – All of these are a form of "opt-in" marketing ideas that work. They are also referred to as “Permission Marketing” because when a customer "signs up" they are, in effect, giving you permission to send them messages (emails). Be aware that some of these kinds of website promotion can be quite time consuming, but some can really expand your market niche. Creating a consistently effective newsletter for example can test many people patience. Making one newsletter is not too hard, but try making a newsletter every month for a few years, that is a challenge. Automated programs can be added to most websites to help manage the lists of names and email addresses of people who “opt-in” to your program.
Chapter 15 Traditional Marketing Methods
I have added the list of traditional ideas, just so that we don't forget some of the old tried and true ways of marketing and promotion. In recent years we have seen a huge increase in television advertising of dot com businesses and other companies who just want to promote their websites to large audiences: the reason they do so – it works! Radio Radio is great for many things but it is more difficult for promotion of websites. I have heard some very effective ads that simply repeat, repeat and repeat the web address in the same ad. It worked for me – I remembered the web address. In order for this to work, your web address will need to be easy to pronounce and easy to spell, or provide the listener with easy access to connect to your site. Television The old reliable. Television provides a mass audience through mass exposure with a mass message. Many people don't realize that television can often be one of the most cost-effective (notice I didn't say cheapest) forms of advertising. The advantage of television is that it has it all: audio, visual and audience. Just like the other media, make sure you confer with a salesperson to find the best times and locations for your ads. They know what demography are watching which TV shows and can help you decide where to best spend your advertising dollars. Also, don't forget community television stations. They are often looking for advertisers and can be more willing to accommodate advertisers because of a less rigid schedule. Newspaper classifieds This is becoming increasingly popular and it is a great way to target your clients for a reasonable cost. For example, if you want to promote an automobile dealership, consider placing newspaper classified ads in the car section that simply promote your website. Newspaper display ads Newspaper sales remain strong despite that fact that so much news is available online. Using a newspaper display for your advertising is another time when you will want to confer with your newspaper salesperson. They will have details of "special buys" and, most of all, will be able to help you place your ads in areas that will be the most effective for your business and website. They know who reads what sections and their marketing knowledge should be heeded. You will often have a choice of newspapers to advertise in – national, regional and local. Look for the newspaper that will give you the best results for your advertising dollars, based on what you have learned. This may mean talking to different newspapers to get an understanding of their audience and circulation. Don't be afraid to try different newspapers and monitor the results (if they are measurable). Sometimes it takes trying a few options to find the one that works best. Street signs No, I don't recommend that you staple signs to power poles (that's illegal). What I do recommend is making sure your web address is clearly visible on your outdoor signage. There are many businesses with websites, but you would never know this from their street signs. If you are in a high-volume foot or vehicle traffic area, you are missing out in a BIG way by not having your website address printed on your storefront sign. If it is too costly to modify your street sign, try using outdoor banners. They will give the same effect, just make sure to have them cleaned and refreshed periodically, there is nothing worse than seeing a tired banner that announces something "new" or "special". It loses all of its impact.
Send postcards to your existing clients This doesn't cost much but is a very nice and personal way of letting new and existing clients know about your website. To be even more effective, try promoting a special price, product or service in order to help drive people to your website. Contests or freebies also work well in conjunction with this form of promotion. The advantage of postcards is that they are reasonably priced to produce. Depending on what you publish on them, they will keep for a long time. This means you could do one of these campaigns periodically and you will have a number of choices of how they are delivered whether it be by post mail, postal promotional drops, or with any of the number of specialty promotion companies who do mail drops on a regular basis. To try and ensure these items are kept for a longer time, think about getting something attractive printed, like something humorous, or something people may want to keep. It is very rewarding to see one of your postcards posted on the bulletin board in the lunchroom. That's effective advertising. Yellow Pages This is another perennial promotion "must do." Yellow pages have become commonplace for people to locate specific business needs. It may be an advantage for you to be in multiple sections, and don't forget yellow page directories in other cities. Again, conferring with a salesperson will help you target your business offerings by knowing where best to place your advertising. Brochures These are a great way of advertising your business; if you print them for multi-use, they can even double as mail-out postcards. Depending on your business type, brochures may be very useful. If you are in the travel or tourism industry, brochures are a must, and there are multitudes of places where they can be displayed. If you are in another type of industry it may be more difficult to find locations for displaying brochures, except to use them in mail drops, handouts at trade shows and conventions, and for direct mailout to potential clients. If you are a manufacturer or supplier, you will need provide brochures to your distribution network. Brochures are great but make sure they are a cost-effective use of your time and investment, and most of all if you produce brochures, know ahead of time how and where you will distribute them. FAX Fax is tending to be a thing of the past with e-mail and e-mail attachments being so fast and cost effective; still, for some it is a means of letting people know about your website. We do not condone or recommend Fax Spamming to promote your website. If the only thing this section is good for, it is to remind you how important it is that your fax cover page clearly shows your website address. This is inexpensive and an easy way to promote your website. If you do engage in a FAX broadcast, make sure you are not contravening any local, regional or national laws. Some people look very dimly on this form of advertising so be aware you could be doing huge disservice to your business by conducting a broadcast fax campaign.
Chapter 16 Specialized Marketing Methods
Magazines One of the main features of magazine advertising is that ads in this medium can often be read over and over, because magazines are often kept for long periods of time. Another benefit of magazine advertising is that it can be targeted to your specific client demographics because there is literally a magazine (or several) for almost every person's taste. Like the other forms of mass media, this is another occasion when talking to a salesperson may be of some advantage. The main thing you need for any magazine publishing is to know their reader demographics, and geographics are, and their volume of circulation. If these fit your client profile and is within your budget, they can be a powerful advertising medium for you. Promotional giveaways Have you ever received a coffee cup or a pen with a business's name printed on it? Of course you have. Have you ever received a pen or a coffee cup with a website printed on it? Promotional items – coffee cups, T-shirts, key rings, pens, fridge magnets and hundreds of other items that are available – can be great promotional ideas. When you select an item, think about what your customer demographics are and what would be appealing or novel to them. One important thing to keep in mind with these giveaway items – you need to have a way to give them away. This will dictate a couple of things – the volume and value of what you produce. It may be that you have few clients so something like golf shirts or tote bags may be what you want to give away, but if you are in a high-traffic area, something like pens or pencils may be more appropriate. Remember, giveaway items need to be given away so know in advance how you are going to accomplish this. Circulars, flyers and door-to-door Don't we all hate junk mail? Of course we do so why do we keep seeing it? Because it works! There are dozens of companies in most cities that can assist you in this. You need to know what your market is and how you want to distribute to them. If you deal with businesses or with the home market, you will need to know how to target these areas and there are companies that can help you with both. In many cases you can even partner up with other companies or suppliers for joint mail drops. The best thing here is to use your creativity to get the best bang for your buck. Buses, taxis, airlines, public washrooms I have never actually seen a commercial ad on the side of an airplane, but I have seen thousands of ads in airports. The idea of using transportation venues and vehicles for advertising has been around for a long time. Depending on what your ad looks like, you can attract attention. Think about how you would do this, ask a question, and give the answer on a website, run a contest where they need to enter online or give something away. To drive people to your website so think about all the novel ways you can. Join specialty, business "Sales Leads" clubs, business clubs and associations If you are a shy person, this is definitely where you want to spend some time. Why not grow your personality and business contacts while you grow your business? If you have never attended any of these kinds of functions, I think you will be amazed to see the type of people who attend these. Few are outgoing, most are normal every-day, shy people just like you who are interested in advancing their business by mixing with other business people. There are many ways that you can benefit from attending these functions, and most are inexpensive to join, and most will welcome visitors. Check out a few to see which one you like best. If one doesn't suit you after a time, don't be afraid to move on to another.
Sell stuff on eBay and other auction houses I love this idea. eBay is an auction website where people buy and sell items online. In recent years it has become increasingly popular with many businesses (even large organizations) who use eBay as a facility to sell clear-out product they no longer want or need. If you decide to to use eBay as a place to sell your products and get a greater exposure for your website, be prepared to accept a lower selling price for your products. This does not mean you will receive a lower price than a retail price, but it can happen. If you currently do not buy or sell anything on eBay, it will take some time for you to set up and understand the buying and selling process and their rules. Depending on what you sell or provide, this can be a great way to promote your website. A slightly lower price for products sold on eBay can more than make up for the exposure it can provide. Company vehicles Every day company vehicles are seen that are owned by companies who have websites, but they have neglected to advertise their website on their vehicles. When such an easy form of displaying a web address to hundreds or even thousands of potential customers is not utilized, it is difficult to understand. The cost of having a sign painter add your web address to a company vehicle is minimal when you consider the number of people who will see this day after day and week after week. Include your Web Address on EVERYTHING you send out Every piece of paper that leaves your business should have your web address printed on it somewhere. This includes business cards, invoices, brochures, envelopes, letterheads, quotation sheets and even notepads. From time to time I receive business cards where a web address has not been printed on them. When asked why they don't have their web address on them, invariably the response is, "Oh, we simply forgot." The answer to this is THROW THEM OUT – for the small cost of getting them printed properly, this is a good investment. Would you ever consider handing out a business card where you "forgot to add your phone number"? Of course not! Your web address is JUST as important. There is one further comment on business cards. There are some decent quality business card forms that can be purchased that allow anyone to print off their own business cards. All that is necessary to remark on this matter is that no matter how good these cards appear, they are always recognizable as "self printed business cards." Is this the image you want to portray? For the minimal cost of printing business cards, you may want to consider a professional job. Business cards say a lot about a person and a business, and are especially important for first impressions. Include your Web Address in your signature line of e-mails Just like the web address printed on the sides of company vehicles, it is astounding how often business e-mail is sent without a signature line. This is free and very simple to do. If you don't know how to do this, ask someone. It only takes a couple of minutes but looks very professional. Trade Shows & Conventions The key with trade shows is that you have to make them work for you. If you get the opportunity at the last moment to acquire a booth at a trade show, turn it down unless you are experienced and know what needs to take place. Trade shows normally take weeks and months to plan. If you are offered a course on how to use trade shows effectively, take it. You will discover a world of ideas that will make the next time you enter a trade show something worthwhile. If you are involved with a trade show and you can’t take a course, here are some suggestions that can make or trade show adventure more rewarding. If you want to attract people to your
booth you MUST demonstrate something. This could be the demonstration of a product you sell, or how the product you sell interfaces with something else. If all else fails, demonstrate it on video or computer but live is best. People at trade shows are attracted by motion and commotion (remember the “live” demos that caught your attention at previously attended trade shows). You don’t have to have a “slick snake oil salesman approach”, but demonstrating something (or even anything) at your booth at a trade show will boost the number of people who visit your booth (and hopefully boost your sales too). The second thing to remember about trade shows is you MUST have something to either give away, or a way of collecting peoples names (like a contest) so that you can contact them later. After all, isn’t part of the reason you have the trade show space to help promote your business and website? I suggest giving away something like pens, key fobs, mugs or something like that WITH YOUR WEBSITE ADDRESS on them. Unless you have some fantastic product of service, standing in a trade show booth handing out brochures can be little more than a waste of time and money. Trade shows and conventions can be great places to do business and to promote your website but they do take planning. Contribute Content Everyone has some sort of knowledge on a topic. Why not share your knowledge with the rest of us; write some articles for newspapers, magazines or other credible sources. There are thousands of magazines, newspapers and other periodicals printed every day, every week or every month. These publishing firms are always looking for content for their readers. This doesn't mean they will take just anything. They want to convey a sense of quality to their readers, too, so if you are submitting articles they will need to be of top-notch quality. It is a good idea to enquire as to what the publication's guidelines are before you submit anything. Most are quite willing to entertain questions on content and what their readers are expecting. Think of these more as a way of educating the audience than that of selfpromotion. If you think this way, the self-promotion will follow. Make sure to include your Web address in your signature for everything you contribute. Send out CDs or DVDs These medias are becoming more and more popular (a great thing to hand out at trade show and conventions). CDs and DVD can contain a lot of information in the form of text, graphics animation, video and sound. With this media-rich facility you have an enormous amount of creativity you can tap into. Imagine for example putting together a CD for “Investor Relations”. You could use video clips of your company or production lines, text to show financials and all of this can be displayed within an animated presentation interface with full sound. What investor wouldn’t be impressed with this kind of attention to detail. There are a few advantages to sending out CDs. First of all, because they are a "delivered media" there is a higher likelihood they will be viewed; and secondly the content you can create on a CD is much richer than you can deliver over the Internet with its speed constraints. CDs are similar to television in that they can display both audio and visual messages and, unlike TV, they can be repeated over and over and even passed along to others. Here at E-State Media Group we produce multi-media CD and DVDs for our clients, so I am biased toward them. I think the real message that needs to be conveyed here is that if you are considering producing CDs or DVDs you need to use the rest of this manual as a guideline to understanding your audience and how you will use and distribute them. It is easy to go out and produce CDs – it is quite another matter to distribute them to an appropriate audience.
Sponsor a sports team and do some community work at the same time What a great way to get your website recognized in your community. Like some of the other forms of promotion, this form of promotion has two benefits: one is to you and your business; the other is to the sports team and community. If you are really serious about promoting your business in this way, pick sports events and teams that tend to get some media and fan recognition. Like many things, this will take some research but often a sport supply store can be a good resource for information. Remember what I said about branding and building TRUST? This is a great way to gain consistent recognition and sustained visibility in the community and to build trust through familiarity. Sandwich-board signs These have been around for decades. They are unobstructive, inexpensive and they work. If your business can make use of sandwich-board signs to promote your website, use it. I have yet to see a sandwich board that promotes a website. If you are in a high-vehicle traffic area, this is particularly good. If you really want to make an impact use the sandwich-board idea and turn it into a walking-sandwich-board. Just make sure of two things. Number one, make sure your sign is readable, uncluttered and to the point and, number two, make sure you are within the legal bounds of signage for your area. There are regulations on signage in most areas and contravening these could result fines. Semi-trailer billboards The first time I saw this I thought, what an innovative idea. The promotion idea is this – you get a large semi-trailer truck, place large ads on either side of its box, then drive it around in areas where your potential clients, live, work or play. In order to make this promotion work, it will be necessary to have a message on your semi-trailer ad that tells the viewer to "go to your website" in order for them to take part in the promotion. Because we see semi-trucks on a daily basis with advertising on the side, what you do with this one must be unique and grab people's attention. The whole purpose of this promotional idea is to send people to your website. Website decals Decals are another medium that have been around in various forms for many years. You can use them in a variety of places but they work best when attached to glass surfaces. One place for decals is in the windows of your company vehicle. (Ensure sure they do not interfere with the driving safety of the vehicle.) Decals are relatively inexpensive and can be used on a variety of window applications like your building, on company vehicles or as giveaways to customers. These can be ordered from most sign shops. Develop a "free service" This won't work for everyone but if you have the ability to offer a free service on your web site (like a foreign-dollar exchange facility or free e-mail accounts for people) this will help boost your viral marketing. One site I visited had an "estimator" for determining the amount of air your furnace used and what kind of a filter was best to use in it. Another one had an "estimator" for determining the amount of kitchen cabinet space you had. Any of these types of services will make someone want to bookmark your website as a place to return to because there is something there they can use. Other ideas could be to offer free advice on something you know or in which you are a specialist. If you make sure the free advice is constantly being updated and refreshed, people will continue to come to your website to view it. It is this kind of repetition that builds trust and helps develop viral marketing.
Telephone messaging or answering machines Your telephone messaging system should ALWAYS announce your web address somewhere in its message. For some people this will be a good alternative to talking live with someone and, in many cases, will help to generate new business. Make sure your answering machine messages are slow enough, or preferably repeated, for people to understand them and write them down. There is nothing more annoying than hearing a message that is so fast you have to repeat it or, worse, call the number again so you can write it down. Coupons, memberships and tickets Many people collect and trade coupons and tickets. Depending on your demographics, this could be a winner for you. There are even a few Internet schemes where coupons are offered on websites. If this is an area you are interested in, you will need to stay on top of creating and fulfilling the coupons. I would recommend that using coupons in a more traditional way may be more effective than having them on a website; after all, the main idea is to send people to your website, so using a coupon to do this is more likely to work. Give away things (of VALUE) on your site This is slightly different than providing a free service, or giving providing giveaway novelty items. In this case the website would be providing something of value to visitors, like valued advice or a newsletter, or any other information that your clients view as useful. One of the most valued items by many people is information. If you can provide a means where people can obtain good information, hints or tips by regularly visiting your website, you will have achieved a level of viral marketing. Provide Press Releases If you plan to use press releases, I highly recommend that you do some research ahead of time. Press releases can make or break a business so it is important that they are accurate and newsworthy. If they are not accurate, you may be inadvertently sending out wrong information about your business or website. If they are not newsworthy, they will be ignored. If you do send out an ineffective press release, all your subsequent releases may be ignored off out of hand. Press releases are a great way to promote your business and website, but make sure you have something to say and that it is going to the right audience. There are a number of books and even some websites that can help you with this. Parking lot mail drops In some areas of the country this is still widely used, while in others it is seldom or never used. It is a great way of distributing information and, in this case, advertising your website. Remember if you do this you will be marketing to whomever is driving the vehicle you dropped the message off so it is a random type of delivery process. We do have one other suggestion for this area and that is for the convenience of your prospective clients, I recommend placing a small (business card size) note on the driver's side window. This makes it easy and unobtrusive for the person entering the car and it will get noticed. In the past I have seen large pieces of paper placed under the windshield wipers of cars – this process is not recommend. Small business cards placed on the driver's door are best. Be careful of where you do this: there may be local or regional laws affecting this practice. Banner signs Banners are a great way to advertise your website; they are cost effective and, by their very nature, they grab attention. My only comment is that banner signs should be cleaned or refreshed from time to time, or even repainted. When they start
looking dog-eared and worn they not only lose their impact, they also tend to drive people away because the effect of being new and special has been reversed. Banner ads are ideal in high foot and vehicle traffic area and most sign shops can help you with these. If all you do is advertise your website, you are sure to increase traffic to your site. Bumper stickers Similar to decals, but in this case they could be used as giveaways, too. If you make them attractive you will find other people will want to put them on their car. I suggest making them unusual or humorous to get the most mileage out of them as giveaways. Advertise your website, keep the message clean and clear and these will work. Calendars These are another great way to help promote your website, particularly if you are a supplier. Business-to-business promotion lends itself to calendars because there is year-long advertising of your website. If you are creative, there are likely many other applications where calendars, with their year-long advantage, are particularly suited. Donate time/products Another good way of giving back to the community and promoting your business at the same time is to offer your time or donate products. Often these are charitable causes and quite well attended and promoted by all levels of society. It is suggested in a case like this that you reference your web address as the donator. The reason for this is it is easier for more people to note who you are, assuming, of course, that your web address is easy to pronounce and spell. Joint venture Why not join forces with other non-competing businesses to see what you can do together in the way of promoting your websites. Contests work well, or come up with joint venture ideas. Talk to your suppliers or your favorite client to see what you might be able to think of. Marketing and web promotion is all about thinking outside of the box and being innovative. Very often it is the innovative idea or unique promotions that catch the eye of the media, generating free promotion of your website. Joint venture ideas help spread the costs and widen the potential client base so use it to your advantage. Point-of-purchase Point-of-purchase signs are used frequently in some industries and seldom in others. Depending on the type of business you are in, these could be a great way to promote your website. In some cases point-of-purchase displays contain a small card with the web address printed on it so the card can be taken away by the customers for future referral. Point-of-purchase displays are a very cost-effective way to ensure your clients know what your web address is. Statement and bag stuffers Those little paper brochures and cards that are included with your statements are called statement stuffers. Not everyone sends out monthly statements, but most companies provide something to their clients from time to time, if only in shopping bags when a customer purchases something.
Chapter 17 Your Website Marketing Plan
Marketing plans can range from the statement, "We advertise in the Yellow Pages" to a 300-page book with text, graphics and charts that precisely lay out the "What, Who, When, Where and How" of every advertising dollar spent and activity you will do. Now that you have considered many of the elements that can go into promoting your website, it is time to start putting them into action. This is the most important part of promoting your website – actually doing something. I recommend that your marketing plan be short. If it is too long and complicated, you run the risk of not implementing it because it becomes to cumbersome to administer and follow. Your website promotion advertising and promotion is best concentrated in specific areas and not broadcast widely if you want it to be most effective. Your plan should have a logical flow, be understandable, and be focused on your client demographics and geographics. If you do this, it will help give a focal point to your marketing and promotional activities. Your marketing plan should answer these questions: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) What are your business financial goals? (i.e. – I want to increase sales by 20% over the year.) How will you measure your promotional the activities? (i.e. – I will keep track of the number of e-mails sent to the business.) How often will you measure progress? (i.e. – I will keep a graph of monthly sales compared to last year and the number of phone calls.) What is my client demographics and geographics? (i.e. – 70% of my clients are males over the age of 45; most live within 10 miles of my business.) Have you prepared for additional traffic? (i.e. – My website has been updated and we have posted guidelines for all staff.) What branding methods will you begin employing? (i.e. – I will promote my website as the first line of business.) What Stickiness methods have you employed? (i.e. – I have put a weekly company news feature on the front page that links to another page.) What Viral Marketing campaigns can you use? (i.e. – I am having bumper sticker printed with our logo and Web address on it.) Which marketing methods will you use? (i.e. – Initially I will use a local weekly business publication, press releases and newsletters to keep in promote the website. I have also printed flyer of Point of Sale bag stuffers and counter cards for walk-in traffic.) How often will you use these marketing methods? (i.e. – Business magazine weekly, press releases and newsletters monthly.) When will you review your marketing and promotional efforts? (i.e. – Every six months.)
Chapter 18 Conclusion
The most important action you can do is to "Take Action." Unless you implement some kind of a marketing plan, your chances of expanding your website and your business are left to good luck. Do you want to base your business on good luck? In order to move your business ahead it is going to take a combination of actions, and these actions will be based on your planning and actions. Another point to remember is that what you plan today may be different in the future. When I think of a marketing plan I think of a work in progress. In many ways a marketing plan is never finished. There are always changes and modifications that need to be made as well as the actions that go along with the planning. Good luck with your efforts and don't be afraid to be innovative in your thoughts and actions!
As a daily reminder of what activities that needs to be done, it is recommended that you place your marketing plan in a prominent place where you can refer to it frequently and use it as a guideline. In closing, remember the four principals of business success: (1) Know your business (2) Know your customers (3) be innovative (4) Take action