Six Web Marketing Basics that Can Save You Time and Money
Imagine that you and I run into each other on the street, that we only have 10 minutes to talk and that you ask me:
What are some of the ‘basics’ every business owner should keep in mind when building a web site to promote their business?
I wouldn’t have to think twice to come up with the answer to that question … because the 6 crucial points below are the same key ideas we first talk about with each and every one of our clients.
Here they are:
# 1: The most important goals of your business web site must always be:
a) to automatically attract PRE-qualified visitors, in other words, to attract people who are already interested in what your business has to offer.
b) to help you convert those visitors into customers, clients or patients, and …
c) to help you strengthen and nurture the relationships you establish with them, so they keep coming back to buy (more of) your products or services time and time again.
# 2: A business web site is just ONE part of your marketing plan.
This point is related to one of my pet peeves: people who think that by putting up a web site with a few pages they have done all they need to do to have a booming business.
There are many other components of your marketing plan that you need to figure out – or implement – before you start to build your site.
For example, let’s say I give you a blank piece of paper and I ask you to write down your Unique SellingProposition, which tells your potential clients why they should deal with or buy from you above any and all other options available to them.
Guess what? … if you haven’t already figured out your USP, if you can’t put it down on paper, then there’s NO way your web site can have an effective message that can help you get the results you want.
# 3: It’s all about “information, information, information”.
If you’re opening a ‘brick-n-mortar’ retail store, automotive repair shop, a restaurant or any other “off-line” business you’re probably interested in finding a good location …. because, in the “off-line world” physical location is very important.
However, when thinking about your business website, forget about “location, location, location” and think “information, information, information”!
Because that’s what people go online for …. to find “information”.
As you know, the word “information” refers, not just to written articles (text), but also to other forms of content such as photos, audio files and videos (Did you know that YouTube is now the # 2 search engine used by people when looking for information?).
So …. yes ……”content is – and will always be – king” …. and that means that a 5-page website that changes once a year will do very little to help your business.
Grasping this concept of “information, information, information” is a matter of life or death for small businesses and entrepreneurs, because chances are you don’t have the “brand power” to be “searched for” by name (like Coca Cola or Ford would).
In most cases, people go online looking for “solutions”, for answers to questions (or for entertainment) …. and since they probably don’t know you exist … your (or your webmaster’s) job is to create an information-rich site that shows up on Google’s first page when people type in keywords related to your field of expertise and what your business offers.
So, go ahead and say it … online it’s all about i_________, i_________, i___________ .
# 4: A few web pages is NOT all you need:
If you want to effectively use the Internet to build your business, you’ve gotta understand that what you really need is a “suite of tools” that (together with the web pages of your site) enables you to achieve the 3 goals listed above.
You need a tool that allows you to peak inside your target market’s mind before you create content, so that you can find out what they want and give them exactly the information and answers they’re looking for.
This will make it easier for people to find your web site, and to position you – and your products or services – asthe obvious choice.
You also need tools that help you build trust, such as an ‘electronic newsletter publishing system” and an auto-responder system to automate the process of staying in touch.
Bottom line: your business doesn’t need just a web site; Your business needs a complete “web marketing system”.
Not to worry: on other sections on this web site, you’ll discover the essential web marketing tools used by successful entrepreneurs. So, let’s leave it there for now, and let’s move on to basic principle # 5.
# 5: Niche-marketing is a lot easier (and much more effective) than “brand marketing” or marketing to everyone.
Niche markets are sub-segments, targetable portions of your market …. and marketing separately to smaller niches is a guaranteed shortcut for growing your bank account faster than you ever thought possible.
If you’re familiar with the concept and advantages of ‘niche marketing’ I can only hope that you are alreadyusing it as one your main marketing strategies.
If you’re not familiar with niche marketing’, then I recommend that you drop everything else and learn about it …. or you will waste a lot of money, time and effort trying to grow your business the wrong way.
From a “web marketing” point of view, marketing to specific niches involves having separate web sites for each niche you target.
# 6: A business web site is NEVER finished:
Any expert will agree that for your business web site to rank well on Google, Yahoo, etc., it will need to have more than 5 or 10 pages of valuable content.
In fact, I remember that my first top-ranking site had about 70 web pages and had been online for about 8 or 9 months before it started to show up at # 1 on Google when people searched for its main keywords.
If you’re thinking “that sounds like an awful lot of pages and an awful long time” ….. you’re right, but that’s what it takes to build a REAL business web site …. a site that your potential and existing clients find useful and informative …. a site that helps your business sell more.
And it doesn’t stop there: once your web site starts giving you some results you need to keep it fresh, so it continues to be interesting to potential clients, to your existing clients … and to Google.
A web site that stops growing or that is never updated will quickly be forgotten and will undoubtedly lose its ranking.
So there you have it: those are 6 all-important basics that I encourage business owners to think and learn about, particularly when they’re getting started with online marketing.
Obviously, there are a thousand other things that could be part of this list … but you and I will have a chance to discuss them later on.
There’s a lot at risk for those who don’t follow the essential rules of online marketing and web design, so if you don’t build and maintain your web site yourself and instead you use the services of a web designer or webmaster, please, make sure to triple-check their understanding of the above 6 points (and I trust I don’t need to explain why).