10 Web Marketing Basics
By Tim Oestreich |
Wed, 1 Jun 2005
1. Target The Right Audience
What demographic group is most likely to buy your product or service? Sounds easy enough, yet this is the most fundamental error that we see time and time again. Every marketing plan should start with as much in-depth research into your market as possible. Many clients feel that they know their market but often they only know their existing customers and there is a big difference.
- You must start with facts, not assumptions, about your industry and where you fit into it.
- Then narrow your focus to identifying the right audience for your product or service.
- Only then can you successfully and efficiently tailor your company's message to bring the buyers!
Remember, even small adjustments to these parameters can produce substantial results, sometimes within your existing budget! Spend the same dollars more effectively.
2. Refine Your Message
All traffic is not the same. There are sites that build and retain lots of traffic but have lackluster sales. The message of your marketing should be based on research about your audience and how your product or service meets their needs. Focusing solely on what you like only works if YOU are YOUR only customer! The only things that matter are that your message accurately reflects your company and it makes your audience want to open their wallet and choose you over your competition!
3. Search Engine Rank
Only the top few pages of search engine results get the customers. The answer is research, research, research. Our clients are often shocked at the keywords and keyword phrases that end up bringing them the most traffic and sales. Your keywords must be highly specific. The difference between the word "widget" and "widgets" can make all of the difference. Your keywords must be based on the specific keywords that people are actually typing into their favorite search engine on the web. A great example of this is that commonly misspelled words can bring excellent search engine traffic if you know what they are!
4. Get Indexed by every major search engine
Each search engine has their own list of websites that they choose to include. Just because you have a web site does not guarantee that you will be listed with any of the search engines. For sites with new domain names, you must proactively submit your site through each search engine in which you want to be included. For sites that have been around for a while your goal is to have complete indexing of your site. Many sites have only a few pages recognized by a search engine and this means fewer visitors and lower sales.
5. Market Your Entire Site (not just the home page)
Most sites only have a small percentage of their pages recognized by a search engine and this means fewer visitors and lower sales. When a search engine "crawls" or indexes a site it decides how many pages within the site will be included in the search engine database. The higher the site's rank with the search engine the more of the site will be included in their database.
6. Inbound Links
Having links from other websites to yours is vital for search engine optimization. Besides users following these links, a search engine such as Google ranks you according to how many other sites link to yours. The quality of a link is of utmost importance. If you have a link from a site that is ranked higher than you, the search engine will assume that your site is also important thus improving your site rank. Never use link services that promise to include your site in a link repository or link network. It is very possible that your site could be banned altogether from the search engines which could be devastating.
7. Put Your Web Address Everywhere
You should treat your web address the way that you should treat your phone number by putting it on business cards, stationery, brochures, postcards, checks, press releases, product literature and advertisements. People are using the web more and more as their primary source of information so make it as easy as possible for them to find you.
8. Utilize Forums and Bulletin boards
Also, participate in forums and establish yourself as an expert in your field by joining forums that are related to your industry and the focus of your site. Get in the habit of following your forum discussions frequently and make sure to include your name and web address in your posts. Including your web address especially will create inbound links for you site.
9. Give Something Away
Free products, advice, or tips are very effective incentives especially for increasing newsletter signups. The key is to find a giveaway that costs you as little as possible but has a high perceived value in the eyes of the customer. You must follow through, failing to do so will burn visitors and destroy your credability. Make sure your "free offer" has its own dedicated page that is optimized for the search engines.
10. Value Your Viewers
How do you respond to SPAM emails? What about annoying telemarketing calls at dinnertime. Basic common sense is the rule of the day. If a marketing strategy feels questionable, it probably is. Site viewers are your most valuable asset so treat them with respect and care and they will help you grow your business.