What does a web design and development company know about internet marketing?
Marketing and SEO go hand in hand. They are distinctly separate specialties but have some common ground where they overlap and a web designer has to understand this in order to design a website and SEO it properly.
Marketing is a subject that many do not understand and when it comes to the internet most businesses really don’t understand it.
Internet marketing has become a big business and a lot of companies out there have made fortunes for themselves and their clients. When marketing is done correctly it pays off in a big way. When it is done wrong it can be a huge waste of time and money.
So the question is, what is the best marketing strategy?
This depends upon many different facets of your business and is one of the hardest points to communicate to someone. Marketing is a strategy, it is not a one shot panacea. There are many things that must be done for a marketing strategy to work for your business.
Let us take an example, you have a small business or you are an entrepreneur and have a brand new product. Ok, how do you market it? First you need to find out who needs this product, who wants it? How does it benefit them? Can they afford it? Is it cost effective and does it save them time or money or handle some other concern they have?
Now you have some idea who you can market to. Great, where are those people? How do you reach them? Postcards? A targeted direct mailing? Cold Calls? Personal contact? Fliers, brochures, pamphlets, etc? Do you design and build a website?
Let’s say you do the normal type of promotion, direct mailings and maybe a TV or radio ad. For most businesses they don’t need anything else. But for someone who has a web-based business these aren’t enough. You need something that reaches the masses, you don’t have a product that is limited by your fuel tank, it can be delivered digitally or via mail. Now we’re talking about building a website that showcases what you produce.
Websites can be done for free, but there are problems inherent in this. One is that usually you are required to put up with others’ ads on your website. Another is that you are the one doing all the work. Yes, you know the ins and outs of your product but you are not a web designer or a professional writer and more importantly writing articles and content on the internet is a specialty. There are reasons why people do this for a living; it’s because they know how to. It is not just writing something down, it has to be constructed in a way that the Search Engines want it. Yes, you know what your product is and what its benefits are, but in the same way you hire an ad company to write a specific ad for your business, you need someone who knows how to write content for the web to construct your articles.
The next point is that you at least have to have basic Search Engine Optimization done on your website.
What does this consist of?
A keyword analysis and those keywords put into the content, title and tags of your website. This has to be done in a very specific manner so it doesn’t look like spam.
Getting your website listed with the search engines, search directories, business listing sites and various other sites.
Then you can get much more detailed and this is where SEO and internet marketing overlap:
Using social media to promote your website, this can be through Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets.
Writing articles about your products and getting them submitted to article submission sites.
Getting press releases about your services written by a professional writer and getting them submitted to various sites.
Writing or posting blog comments about your products and services.
Using RSS feeds to promote your site and services/products.
Making videos about your products or services and posting them on YouTube and other video sites.
What does marketing and promotion do to bring you business?
One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve seen people get confused about is believing that by doing one thing, that should be the source of new business. This is flat out wrong. What I mean by this is that you pass out business cards with your information on it, logically you’d expect that anybody who contacts you, got your business card and wants to do business with you. This is incorrect thinking. A marketing strategy and campaign is what is known as a broad shoot. You spread the word about your business and services as far and wide as possible so that when someone gets your card it reminds them that they saw your TV ad and they call you. You want that broad shoot to spread your message across as much territory as you can get. It doesn’t matter that you spend the money on one area and don’t feel you are getting a response. How do you know it isn’t supporting another one of your promotional campaigns? The fact is, you don’t. That’s why it is called a marketing strategy: it is many things working in conjunction to drive more business in so that you can expand.
Some businesses even try to track where they get their new customers from. This is pure folly really. You can ask a person where they heard about you. Usually it is the last place they heard your name, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t hear it 10 other times from other sources. What they tell you is just what they remember.
Some will tell you that direct mail doesn’t work, others that cold calling is too difficult and not worth it, etc. They tell you this so that you will buy into their marketing program and for no other reason. Some will recommend what works for them, which is fine, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. I have many friends that own their own businesses and every single one promotes differently, gets their customers in a different way and some of these business owners are in the same line of work! My point is that you have to find the strategy that works for you and working with a professional who actually knows what they are doing is the best strategy of all.
Is there anything that you are doing wrong? Well, sure, if you are in the business of selling cars and all your promotion says you repair houseboats. You can have flat out wrong promotion, but in the marketing world it is all a numbers game, the more traffic you get the more sales you’ll get. On the web, the more relevant traffic you get, the more sales you’ll have and that is the name of the game! In order to get the leads you want, you must have a website that is designed well, optimized properly and then marketed properly. You achieve this by working with a professional web designer to build a properly SEO’d website and a competent internet marketer who knows what he is doing.