Web sites are a very effective way to spread the news about your brand. Business owners can also dramatically cut the cost of acquiring new businesses by marketing online. Yet it is remarkable how many companies do not utilise this cheap marketing tool.
Here are seven tips to marketing online:
1: Be very clear about what your website is for. Is it for selling, marketing or branding? Make sure it is very easy to navigate and clearly set out. Don’t have a jumbled, chaotic front page: the simpler, the better. Remember people will scan looking for key words or phases. The book Don’t make me think, by Steve Krug suggests creating a clear visual heirarchy on each page. The more important something is, the more important the headline. Eliminate instructions on the site by making everything self explanatory. Get rid of any small talk like Welcome to … Flash is old hat and highly annoying. And this may sound like the bleeding obvious, but make sure your home page spells out exactly what the business does.
2: Keep your website up to date. So many people fail to update their websites with their latest products and services. The website is now the first place prospective clients go. Investors, journalists and suppliers also will check out a company’s website. Websites need news: update regularly, every day or every week. Assign a person to do this. Make sure the website reflects the spirit and culture of the company. Are you a formal large business? Reflect this with a simple but authoritative tone. If you are a smaller business whose competitive edge includes offering friendly, quick service, then make sure your website is open, cheerful and even cheeky. Make sure there are no dead ends or broken links.
3: Always use your company signature on your email. Make sure your company logo, tagline and contact details are included on emails and the website. A web designer can quickly create an email template that includes all these details. Why not include a digital signature at the end of every email? It is a friendly, warm touch.
4: Forget paper. Electronic brochures are the way to go. Again it is simple to set up a template and on request, email out an e-brochure.
5: Leverage off other people’s websites. Ask suppliers, customers and contacts to put your logo on their website. Include a section on your website called About Our Partners and list all your contacts there. Ask your network to do the same.
6: Always customise your communications. Use the name of the customer or supplier on every email you send to them. Make sure that if the offer is for Victorians only, that the email only goes to Victorians. This is simple to organise.
7: Don’t annoy your customers. If you are sending out regular email dispatches, always have an easy opt-out so that people are left with a good experience even if they are not interested in your products or services. And always ask for feedback. Why not put a blog form on your site asking for testimonials. Other people can read about how good you are.