Internet marketing has become a complex business operation which requires a unique marketing plan and internet expertise. Gone are the days of build-it and they will come; now, companies must post news and advertising snippets in a multitude of locations. No longer can you trust your internet marketing campaign to the computer geek who knows HTML. Advanced marketing, writing and programming skills are needed to build and keep traffic.
The good news is once gained, your web traffic can also generate advertising revenue and your web properties can become revenue generating activities. But, we are jumping a head of ourselves. First we need to develop the plan.
Question 1: What do you hope to accomplish from your website?
Obvious questions, but your initial answer is probably missing the mark. More customers is probably what you are thinking? Of course your wouldn’t be wrong, but what else besides more customers? Do you need to provide technical support to current customers? Are you needed to educate reporters about your business operations? What about ad revenue and expanding into new markets? Maybe attracting people to ask you to be the keynote speaker? Your website is more than just a company brochure, your website is a full service cash cow that can help you attract and keep more customers. Without a plan, however, everything is left to chance.
Question 2: Who is your audience?
The typical answer is “anyone”. WRONG! If you shoot for anyone you end up with NOONE. Define your ideal customer. The better you define who they are the more successful you will be at finding and attracting them. Make a list of ten or so key descriptors for your ideal customer.
What if by defining one market segment you eliminate another? Simple, start a second website for the new market segment. Many hosting services today allow an unlimited number of hosted domains. so for the same hosting price as you are probably paying you can host as many websites as you need.
Question 3: Why will this audience you’ve picked prefer to do business with you?
Your business consultants will call this differentiating yourself from the competition. In the world wide web, however, understanding what makes you different is critical for designing your internet marketing strategy. List the top ten reasons why your ideal customer will prefer doing business with you. Keep your reasons to two to four words.
Question 4: What is it your are selling or providing?
While this task seems obvious it may be the most complicated and time consuming web development task you do. How you define what it is you do will become the foundation by which the search engines catalog your website. Because web programmers have abused the search engines in the past, Google, Yahoo and a like now use very complicated (and secret) algorithms to index every website.
Putting the above information together we’ll work backwards through our questions and build our site content and internet marketing strategy.
Question 4 will give you your sites keywords. These keywords are one to four word phrases that describe what you offer, they are hidden bits of information (called meta data) meant exclusively for the search engines. Because your site can only have just a few keywords per page, picking the right words is the art behind the web marketing science.
Question 3 will give you your sites description. How you stand out among your competition is your strongest site description. When presented with search results, internet searchers will read this short (160 character) description and decide on the spot to visit or not.
Question 2 will give you a road map for creating you web page text, color scheme and types of pictures you should use.
Question 1 will give you the basic web structure, user interface and conversion process.
OK, this is a good stopping point. This subject is vast an will extend over several articles. If your have a more urgent need, please call me.
In our next article we will look at ways to find social networking sites and microblogging strategies for driving new web traffic.
A business blog allows you to create search engine rich content you can share on social media sites and bring new traffic to your company website.
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