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Are you maximising your Internet presence?
Written on the 21 August 2007 by Tracey Voyce
You may currently have a great website for your clients and prospects to use to connect with your business. But is your website reaching its full potential? Are you taking full advantage of your presence on the Web? In today's competitive Internet environment, it's not enough to simply have your site just sitting there - you need to be proactively making it generate results for your business.
In order to do this, you need to have strategies in place for the three levels of your website - attracting traffic to your site, getting site visitors to take an action and keeping in regular contact with all your contacts to encourage them to return to your site and take an action. These are the three key considerations for every website and you should be focusing on facilitating this process on your own website. If you aren't, you are seriously missing out on the full potential of the Internet.
The following diagram explains the three levels:
1. Attracting traffic to your site
Your target market won't come to your site if they don't know it exists or where to find it. So what are you doing to promote your website to your existing clients and to your prospects? You need to promote your website address at every opportunity to draw traffic to it, because the more visitors your site has, the more chances you have of generating leads and sales for your business. Here are some simple, cost-effective strategies for raising awareness of your website and attracting traffic to it:
Advertise in online directories - many people search for business using online directories, so get your website listed in as many as possible. There are numerous directories that you can potentially be listed in, such as industry directories, chambers of commerce directories or geographical directories etc.
Use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques to get your site listed higher in Google - one of the most popular ways that potential customers find you website is through search engines, such as Google. When users conduct a search, they usually only visit the first few pages that are displayed, so if your website is not listed near the top you won't get many visitors from search engines. There are many SEO techniques that you can use to improve your ranking in Google search listings and attract more people to your site from search engines. Clients, please email us if you would like a copy of our optimisation tips.
Utilise paid search engine advertising - engaging in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a great tool for attracting your target market to your website. PPC involves having an advertisement for your business on search engines that is only displayed when your keywords are searched for. The best part of PPC advertising is that your business only has to pay each time someone clicks on the link and visits your page. If you are considering this process, make sure you research it thoroughly or use a professional.
Promote your website offline - it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of business people that just don't promote their website address in all of their offline marketing. And clearly, the more places that your website address is advertised, the more traffic you will get. Here are a few places that you should always include your website address:
Signage (buildings, cars, within the office)
Point of sale
Email marketing - you can also attract traffic to your site through your email marketing activities. This is particlularly effective because you can place hyperlinks directly to your website in your emails. You can promote your website in:
Your newsletter - put links to your website throughout your email, including text, banners and logos
Alliances newsletters - arrange with a business that has a similar target audience to yours for you to put an article or an advertisement with a link in their newsletters to reach a whole new audience
Email signatures - your email signature is like your online business card, so make sure you include a link to your website in it
2. Getting visitors to take an action on your site
No matter what type of business or website you have, you need to encourage your prospects to take some kind of action when they are on your site. For most businesses, the most desired action from prospects is a purchase, whether offline or online. If this is the purpose of your website, you need to facilitate this process by making it easy for your target market to get what they want and getting them closer to the desired action. You can do this with a number of our web products, such as a detailed product catalogue, case studies linked to your products and services or a user-friendly shopping cart.
However, not all your site visitors will immediately become customers, so you still have to have other ways of capturing their details to add to your database - just because they aren't willing to purchase from you right now, doesn't mean they won't be in the future. A great way to capture the contact details of your prospects is to offer them a newsletter, ebook, white paper or some other incentive, such as a competition. Most people view this process from a WIIFM ('What's In It For Me') perspective, so they will be happy to share their details with you if they are getting something in return. Here are a few tips for the process of capturing site visitor's details:
Make the incentive valuable - as mentioned, your prospects will only give you their details if they are getting something in return, so offer them an incentive that is interesting and valuable. Newsletters are a great tool, but many people already gets lots of these, so also offer an ebook or simple article that contains some expert advice from you on a topic that relates to your target market. If ebooks aren't for you, try running a competition with a valuable prize, such as free consultation or product.
Make the offer visible - for your offer to capture lots of details for you database, it needs to grab the attention of your site visitors. It should stand out from the surrounding content, be on every page of your website and appear above the fold so visitors don't have to scroll down the page to find it.
Make the form easy - while most people will be willing to share their name and email address with you, they usually won't bother filling out your form if you ask for too many of their personal details. So limit the amount of information you request from them in order to get as many prospects to respond as possible. If you have IntoResults, the details collected on your website will be automatically added to your database, where you can automate an instant letter to be sent to them.
3. Keep in regular contact to draw them back to your site
As mentioned, your prospects might not take the desired action on your site immediately, but if you have collected their details for your database, you can engage in regular communication with them. This will help to keep your brand top of mind and encourage them to come back to you or your site again. Also, regular communication will help you to build a relationship and rapport with them, which may make them more likely to take action.
A simple and cost-effective method of connecting with your prospects and clients is email marketing. Email marketing is simply sending messages to your database of contacts via email. Some useful email marketing strategies that you can use to draw your prospects back to your site include:
Newsletters - a collection of interesting news and articles that you send to your database on a regular basis. Newsletters can include content such as company news, product updates, 'how to' guides and general interest stories and are great for building brand loyalty.
Special offers - after they have visited your site once, a simple, effective offer, such as a free consultation or 'buy one, get one free', may be all they need to take an action.
ecards - an ecard is an animated personalised message sent to a contact on different occasions to make them feel special. You can send general ecards, such as Christmas and New Year, and you can even send birthday ecards if you have their date of birth.
ebooks - as mentioned, ebooks are a great tool for businesses. Anyone can write an ebook on any topic, so why not write one on a topic that you are knowledgeable about and send it out to your database. This will position you as the expert and draw your prospects back to your site.
IntoResults simply facilitates this process for you with its feature-packed suite of Internet Marketing tools. Click here to learn more.
Now you have an understanding of the three levels of a website, it is important that you apply this knowledge to your own website. If you implement the strategies mentioned in this article to draw traffic to your site, get your visitors to take an action and engage in regular communication with your prospects, you will find that your website will be more effective and your business will greatly benefit from it.