“No one in their right mind would think that simply getting a phone number or opening a post office box is going to generate business,” says internet marketing pioneer Ken McCarthy. “Similarly, simply setting up an online presence is not going to generate business for anybody. You need to integrate your online presence with some good old-fashioned marketing.” (Source: www.kenmccarthy.com)

Here are nine great promotion strategies we recommend as part of your web site marketing plan. You can do them yourself, or we can help you.

Remember: Plan the work — then work the plan!

  1. Regularly update your site’s content. Considering putting a “What’s New” or “News” section on your site, with a prominent link from the home page. Or put a small paragraph that changes regularly on the home page itself.
  2. Give your visitors valuableinformation in the form of articles or fact sheets. Be a resource center, not just a brochure. You’re an expert in your field and people want to know what you know. If you share your knowledge freely, they’ll return to your site. When they’re ready buy the kind of services or products you offer, they’ll already know and trust you.
  3. Offer a free newsletter that your visitors can sign up for. They will gladly sign up to get fresh and conciseinformation that’s really helpful. Make the newsletter personal. Reveal the real person behind the email in their in-box and you’ll help your visitors feel personally connected to you and your business.
  4. Link to other good sites in your field, and ask them to link to yours. Search the web for other sites that are in your field or community but are not direct competitors (Google is my search engine of choice). Put a link to them on your Resources and Links page (see our example here) plus a sentence or two about why you like the site. Then send the webmaster of the site an email, saying that you linked to their site and asking them to return the favor. Some will and some won’t, but it never hurts to ask. When other sites start linking to your site, it not only increases your traffic, it helps your page ranking in important search engines like Google.
  5. Submit to the search engines. How to optimize your site for the search engines, how to submit and how much it costs is an entire field in itself. See Submitting to Search Engines for current information and resources.
  6. Add a signature line with your web site address on every email you send out, even the personal ones. Be sure it’s a clickable URL that looks like this: http://www.mysizzlingsite.comInclude your name, the name of your business, your tagline and your email address. You can also include your street address and phone number(s).For example:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    David Cornish
    Hawkeye  Computer Services
    “Reaching your community with your message”
    http://www.hawkeyecomputerservices.com
    email: david@hawkeyecomputerservices.com
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  7. If this is a brand new web site, send out a one-time email to everyone in your email address book — friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances — announcing a “Virtual Grand Opening” of your new site. Ask them to pass the URL along to anyone they know who might be interested in your products or services. Just good old-fashioned networking. Use a similar email announcement if you do a complete site redesign.
  8. Join one or two email discussion lists in your field and post messages to it regularly — with your full signature. Don’t market your site, but be helpful to others on the list. Your signature line on your email will speak for itself.
  9. Put your web site address on all your print materials — stationary, business cards, ads in publications, business signs. You might even want to work it into your voice mail or answering machine message! (it’s customary to leave off this part: “http://” when you put a web site address in print. Just use “www.mysizzlingsite.com”.)

If you devote just a half hour a day to promoting your dazzling new web site, you’ll be very pleased with the results over time. If you’d like help with some of these strategies, please contact us.

For more Web Site Promotion Tips, subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Sources include:
Self-Promotion Online by Ilise Benun
101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site by Susan Sweeney
(Book links will open in new windows.)

Social Media Marketing

Businesses everywhere are taking advantage of social networks to provide low cost advertisement and keep customer up to date on specials, events, and more. It is important for companies to take advantage of social network marketing for several reasons. The most important reason is to impact some of the millions that interact with social networks each day.

We set up and maintain social network pages, groups, and fan clubs to market and promote your business, products, specials, and events! You will have the potential of reaching thousands of social networks users in your area. It’s a great way to add new customers and communicate with current customers. It’s even a great way for churches, and non-profits to communicate with others in our area. We use sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Cafemom, and MyChurch.

For more information on Social Network Marketing and a free quote please give us a call at 319-626-8183.

What Makes a Great Web Site Tagline?

Your tagline should be a short, pithy phrase that’s a “concise statement of the site’s purpose,” according to usability expert Steve Krug.* It appears above, below or next to your business name and logo on every page of your site, but is especially prominent on your home page. Krug says a great tagline should be 6-8 words (“just long enough”). It needs to be clear andinformative. If it’s personable, lively and clever, so much the better!

A great web site tagline clearly says what you do and why visitors should care — and it says it in a way that’s short, sharp and memorable!

Here’s a clear, informative tagline:
MarketingSherpa.com
“Practical News on Internet Marketing”

www.marketingsherpa.com

And another:
RefDesk.com
“The single best source for facts on the net”

www.refdesk.com

This one makes it clear that we’ll get more than an online seed catalog; we’ll get juicy information too:
Burpee Seeds and Plants: 
“America’s Favorite Gardening Resource”

www.burpee.com

Here’s a vague one (this is the old tagline):
SonicNet.com
“The Online Music Network”

www.sonicnet.com
(Is it a networking site for musicians? Or is it like MP3 where consumers go to listen to music and download it?)

The new tagline is even more confusing:
SonicNet.com
“Me Music. It’s Mine.”

www.sonicnet.com
(Do you have to be under 25 to get it?)

Clever (but is it clear enough?):
Mooncircles
“A Cybercommunity for the Moon-Minded”

www.mooncircles.com

Another vague one:
(Can you tell what this web site does? It’s one of my favorites but I wouldn’t know what it is or what it does, from the tagline.)
Gaiam.Com
“A Lifestyle Company.
Simple Choices. Natural Connections.”

www.gaiam.com

Pithy, direct, to the point:
Advanced Book Exchange
“Finding books just got easier”

www.abebooks.com

Clear (no question about what it is!):
From My Perspective
“An Online Colored Pencil Magazine by Ann Kullberg”

www.annkullberg.com

And Steve Krug’s own site:
Advanced Common Sense
“Web Usability Consulting”

www.sensible.com

How do you come up with your own tagline?

  • Brainstorm! Write down lists of words that describe your business, without thinking too hard about it.
  • Identify which ones are keywords (you’ve done your keyword homework, right?).
  • Write down a few phrases that describe what your site and business does, and why people should care. What will it do for them?
  • Add some of the more descriptive, clever words from your first list, including at least one keyword, to those phrases.
  • Now cut the phrases down to 6-8 words.
  • Try out the different phrases on colleagues and family. Ask for their feedback — what does the phrase say to them?
  • Don’t discount serendipity — the perfect tagline may come to you in the middle of the night!

Sources & Resources:
(Links will open in new windows.)

“Let Them Know What Your Site is About” by Nick Usborne

“Tagline Blues: What’s the Site About?” by Jakob Nielsen

“Business Name & Tag Line Generator” by Marcia Yudkin
(Great brainstorming ideas)

*Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (One of my favorite books)