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How to Attract More Customers to Your Site

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How to Attract More Customers to Your Site Powered By Docstoc
					How to Attract More Customers to
                                                                        [Attract Customers]
Your Site                                                               [Targeting]
                                                                        [Get Real!]
By Daniel Janal
                                                                        [Logs Files]
Summary                                                                 [Customer Research]
                                                                        [Bespoke]
      Getting visitors                                                 [Press Releases]
      Integrating the web: Place your Web address and e-mail           [Write a release]
       address on all your marketing materials.                         [Get the word out]
      Search Engines: Invest an hour to register your Web site
       with the major search engines.
      Building cooperative links: Search the net to create links
       to Web sites that target your audience.

So you've finally put up your Web site. How do you get prospects to
wander on by?

That's one of toughest problems of the Internet--and getting tougher
every day. One estimate claims there are more than 30 million Web
pages on-line today--and the number of pages grows quickly.

Your job as an Internet marketer and your success as an Internet
entrepreneur depend on your ability to get as many qualified
prospects to visit your site as possible--and convince them to buy
from you before checking out your competitors.

So let's look at three simple steps you can take to dramatically
increase the number of visitors--without spending a penny!

      Integrating the Internet into your overall marketing
       materials.
      Registering your Web site with the major search engines.
      Linking your Web site to complementary Web sites.

Integrating the Internet
The easiest step you can take to let the world know you do business
on-line is to put your Web address and e-mail address on all of your
current marketing communications materials: business card,
envelope, letterhead, brochure, catalog, Yellow Page ad, and any
other advertisements. This is so simple to do, and it really does
work!

After a day at the golf driving range a few months ago, I picked up
one of those free golf shopper magazines. Since I was just learning
how to play, I decided to see if there were any good (and
inexpensive) golf schools nearby. In the classified ads, I read about
several schools, but only one had a Web site! I checked out the
Sonoma Golf School site, sent an e-mail to the instructor, Kris Moe,
and he answered my questions satisfactorily. A few days later he
called me on the phone to clinch the deal.

The lesson here is that the Internet is part of your integrated
marketing program. So whether you are selling shoes on Main Street
or chili sauce in cyberspace, you have to blend the Web marketing
activities with all your other marketing tools. You might lead people
to your Web site by a traditional advertising message in a printed
medium, tell them about your services on the Web site, and close the
deal with a follow-up phone call.

True, the Web can stand on its own, but a really successful Web site
uses other media as well. Just look at Amazon.com. To draw new
customers to its site, it relies on a massive public relations campaign
to keep its name in the daily newspapers and business magazines.
You should too.

Search Engines
Now let's look at the most successful and most baffling of all
marketing tools on the Web: search engines, the Yellow Pages of the
Internet.

Search engines are the primary way customers find Web sites. A
report by CommerceNet shows that 71 percent of frequent users said
they "usually find out about sites they want to reach through search
engines."

Furthermore, companies with Web sites depend on search engines to
generate new customers and prospects, as well as to direct them to
the companies' Web sites. A study by Net Gambit showed two
important points:

      Nearly 48 percent of a cross-section of more than 1,500 Web
       site owners polled depend on search engine listings for the
       majority of their traffic.
      More than 70 percent of all Web sites generate at least 20
       percent of their traffic from search engine listings.

You can therefore conclude that search engines play a very
important role in attracting customers and prospects to a company's
Web site. Proper display of the company's information is critical in
making the company's site a success.

Although there are more than 200 search engines, an overwhelming
amount of traffic comes from about 10: Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek,
Lycos, AltaVista, Webcrawler, Hotbot, Looksmart, Snap, and Goto,
according to a Media Metrix report released in June 1998.
Since the number of the most influential ones is really fairly small,
you can register your Web site on all of them in less than an hour!

Here are the key steps in registering your site:

1. Go to the search engine and look for the link to "add a new page"
or "add a URL."

2. Read the instructions. They really are simple. Usually they just ask
you to type in the Web site address, your name and e-mail address
(for verification and notification).

That's it!

There are a lot of tips, tricks, and traps to get higher listing and
placement on search engines, but I'll leave that instruction to Danny
Sullivan, the Search Engine God, and fellow columnist for eFuse! To
read more about search engines, click here.

Linking
Another great way to get qualified customers to visit your site is to
place links on complementary Web sites. In this marketing strategy,
you create a free exchange of promotional services with the owner of
a Web site that attracts the same audience as you.

In other words, if I sell haute couture hats from France and you sell
handcrafted women's shoes from Italy, we are both trying to attract
the same audience. If I place a link on my site to your site, you now
have the benefit of my large audience. And if you place a link back to
my site, then I get the benefits of showing my message to your
audience. Best yet, everyone wins: You and I both get new customers
without spending a cent. And our customers win by finding a new
place to shop.

Philippa Gamse, a Web marketing expert who runs the Total Net Val
company, http://www.totalnetval.com, told me how one of her
clients has made great use of this technique by adding a testimonial
to the link:

"My client, Just Rite Cleaning Products, http://www.justrite.com,
sells a product that cleans pet stains and odors out of carpet.

"Recently, we added a reciprocal link with a carpet manufacturer,
Worthington Carpets, http://www.worthingtonmills.com. The
manufacturer recommends my client's product as the best he knows,
and we list his testimonial on our site, with a link to his—you never
know, if the damage is really bad, a new carpet may be called for!"

Philippa adds that external links coming into your site can win you
extra points with some search engines, so they are well worth
investigating. That's because some search engines rank sites with a
lot of inbound links higher than those Web sites that have only a few
links. Don't you just love those wacky search engines!

Some people are initially opposed to the idea of linking because they
are afraid the customer will leave their Web site. Well, I have news
for you: They are going to leave your site sooner or later, whether
you have a link or not! Do you think you can keep the customer a
hostage? Of course not! This way, they will go to a site that you have
approved for them. And vice versa.

You can also set up the link so it automatically opens a new browser
window, leaving your site window open. To do this, add
Target=_blank to the end of the link.

       In NetObjects Fusion, when linking to an outside site, click
       on the external link tab, click on the HTML button, click on
       the Inside tab, then type Target=new.

You can also link to and from information sites, such as trade groups
and associations in which you are a member. Check the search
engines for likely candidates among businesses.

Also, don't forget to check out personal Web pages. This turned out
to be a very good idea for a client of mine who is a psychologist
specializing in eating disorders, Dr. Jane Kaplan,
http://www.healthyeating.com.

I searched Yahoo for personal Web pages on that topic and found
several high quality sites for people interested in discussing anorexia
or bulimia. They were thrilled to be contacted by a psychologist, who
offered free information on her site. It was a marriage made in
heaven--and it didn't cost a cent!

While the big Web sites charge for this service, most personal Web
pages, associations, and smaller business storefronts do it for free
because they understand the value of promotion.

Here are some simple steps to take to increase the number of links to
your site:

   1. Scour the search engines for associations, businesses, and
      personal pages.
   2. Visit those pages to make sure they are a good fit.
   3. Send a short note to the Webmaster asking for a link and give
      one in return.
   4. Include the line of HTML code that links to your site (or a
      specific page on your site).
   5. Be sure to make the link inviting and appealing. Don't just say
                     "Dan Janal's Web Site." Put some good
                     marketing into it, but don't go over the top! If I
                     were to send you a link to my site, it would look
                     this:
                     <a href="http://www.janal.com">Dan Janal's
      Online Marketing Magazine</a> features free marketing
      articles from the author of the best-selling "Online Marketing
      Handbook."
      You can simply substitute my Web site address and marketing
      material for yours. Or if you like, you can put this code on
      your page and I'll link to you if you send me your information!
      Be sure to include the code </a> since this tells the browser to
      stop underlining the link. If you don't include it, your entire
      message will be underlined, and very hard to read. If you´re
      using NetObjects Fusion, you don´t need to worry about
      HTML codes, just highlight the text you want to be a link and
      click on the Link Button in the Properties Palette.
   6. Be a good neighbor and post their link quickly to your site.
   7. Send a thank-you note via e-mail and let them know the URL
      for your link.

Conclusion

So there you have it. If you take these three simple steps, you'll see
your traffic grow and you won't even have to take your credit card
out of your wallet! You can boost traffic without breaking your
budget.



About the Author

Daniel Janal is the author of Online Marketing Handbook. A
professional speaker who conducts Internet marketing seminars all
over the globe, Janal was on the publicity team that launched
America Online. He can be reached at dan@janal.com or visit his
Web site at www.janal.com.

Illustration: Ingo Fast's Technology at www.artville.com

				
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