If You Build It, They Will Not Come...
Internet marketing (and websites in general) have become one of the most, if not THE most, popular types of marketing today. Businesses of all sizes and types have tapped into the power of an online presence to bolster traditional marketing methods, such as newsletters and print advertisements. This online presence often comes with much higher expectations, specifically in lead capture and sales, than just having a website can offer. Too many business owners start a website and assume that, now that they are online, users will simply find them and sign up or purchase the goods or services that they are offering.
Much to the chagrin of these hopeful souls, they don't find immediate success and, ultimately, find that their web presence leaves them wanting more. Since they have not been able to attract the traffic they thought they would attract by just buying the site, they don't see the value in it. After all, getting people to buy the goods and services they offer from their web platform is the only way to have a positive return on their investment (ROI); and to justify the cost of purchasing a professional website, you'd like to see a positive ROI.
Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you -- but what did you expect?
This is NOT the Field of Dreams
For those of you not aware, Field of Dreams is a iconic movie, starring Kevin Costner. In this classic, an Iowa corn farmer builds a baseball field around his home after hearing ghostly voices whisper to him, "If you build it, he will come." Then, magically, the classic 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" appear and play ball in his new field with his family. Even though most professionals who want a website are not hearing voices telling them they need a web presence, but for some reason they do think that by building it, customers will come. This is the fast track to disappointment. There are, however, several key ways that you can build your website and market it so you can achieve the positive ROI that you are looking for.
Hey, Ump, How About a Warning?
Consider yourself warned! Now how do we make this beautiful new website to attract new customers and capture leads? Marketing! A standalone website may be able to capture a few leads a year, of course, but we want you to supercharge your web presence into an opportunity-generating machine. In order to do this you'll have to consider implementing the right practices with the time and tools that will make it work; and I'm not talking about paying some lead capture company an untold amount of money for leads that you could just as easily go scrape off Google search or by implementing some simple tracking software. I'm talking about getting people to your site, keeping them on your site, and ultimately having them sign up or, better yet, buy.
I Think I Know What 'If You Build It, He Will Come' Means
Below are several ways that will help you increase your web presence with little to no additional overhead other than some of your time:
The stereotype of social media is that is not for business, maybe this was true several years ago, but unless you have been living under a rock or subscribe to the most dilapidated marketing practices it's simply untrue. Social media has several key advantages over traditional marketing.
- Cost: The majority of social media networks are free. It take minutes to create an account. You simply add a link or connect your site to the social network and push content and updates to the networks. People click the links and come to your site. Simple right? This is much cheaper than almost anything else you can do. Many business even offer free social media marketing kits that you download that will walk you through the entire process! How much easier can you make it?
- Audience: No you're not trying to market your services to the millions of house moms and teeny-boppers on Facebook, but among all the typical users are fellow business owners who can appreciate reading how your services can save them money, rather than watching the 10,000th cat video. If you can find these people then take the initiative to start a Facebook group. Add all your current business partners to your page and encourage them to add their industry related friends.
- Be Proactive: Like I said before, if you are not hitting the right audience you will not see the value. Using social media to create groups is now easier than ever. For sites like twitter that do not give you this option you should create an account and add only industry related people. Use this for your primary account and push unique content and even re-post existing industry related items to it.
Newsletter & Print Marketing
These marketing methods are tried and true but cost an arm and a leg. So how can we leverage this to see a higher ROI. It's simple, combine your efforts. Email newsletter marketing should always include a link back to the page on your site. That page on the site should have a call to action that's relevant to the topic of the newsletter. QR codes are a fantastic way to allow users with mobile devices simple access to your information. Most platforms will also allow you to set up mobile friendly landing pages that will capture leads. The best part about using this trick? It costs nothing. You have already paid for your website, now just gold mine to return a higher yield.
Print newsletters are a bit trickier in that you can't click on a link. This is where your QR codes and simple bit.ly URL's come into play. For example on your newsletter in the top left corner have a big eye-catching graphic that says, "Enter to Win" or, "Sign Up For Savings". With this include the simple link or QR code. This brings them directly your site but using a landing page that is right to the point and includes something for free such as a white paper and a simple form for them to fill out.
If You Build What, Who Will Come?
This final point may sound like common sense, but after years of working in the industry one thing is very clear: the majority of people do not market their website. You have a comprehensive selection of services to use to get people to your website. Promote each and every one! In your e-newsletter, printed newsletter, social media posts and almost everything else you do should direct traffic to your website! Give additional incentive, such as additional benefit, or savings from becoming a registered user, to drive traffic back to your website. Make the members area fun; an interactive with a place to allow for guest blogging. Give them an option to recommend or promote your services once they are on the site. Once you have someone hooked on you they will be a loud speaker and that is the key to returning higher ROI on anything you do.
In conclusion, if you build it, market it and take proactive steps towards reaching your market, they will come.