Tag Archives: Digital Strategy

Marketing Your Business on the Internet

Web marketing is one of the most cost-effective tools in today’s communications suite. It can be used for “one-to-one” or “one-to-many” communication. In effect, it combines a number of communication mechanisms into one, and therefore differs significantly from other forms of “fixed” media. To top it off, it is global and instantaneous.

Web sites enable your customers, prospects and the media to easily find out more about your company. However, the web is a pull-to, not a push-through media. You must drive people to your site and make sure that the information they expected to see is easy to find and current.

The Up Side
The web is open for business 24×7 and is an extremely cost-effective way to offer round-the-clock service. This means you can efficiently serve any part of the global marketplace.

Websites have more room to tell your story than other communication medium, and are therefore able to assist in taking prospects from awareness, interest and desire to action (AIDA model) to purchase your product or service.

Web marketing can be used interactively to engage your customers, prospects and the media. You can build ongoing relationships using a combination of web tools such as chat rooms, e-mail and e-zines. Communication on a regular basis, and in a personal manner, is made easy.

The Down Side
On the flip side, the web attracts a limited market, and the demographics of web users are changing every day. Figures show that in November last year, more than half of Australian adults had regular access to the Internet. Some of that access was work-based and the number of households with an Internet connection was about 37 per cent.

Therefore your entire target market is unlikely to be on the web, so web marketing cannot be used in isolation and must be integrated with your other communications mediums.

Security, or the lack of security, is a major issue on the web for the online buying and selling of goods and services. Unfortunately, many people don’t yet trust the web, which means that you need to go that extra mile in providing security, guarantees and money-back offers to your customers to prove that you have a genuine offer.

And remember promotion of your site only makes up about 20% of your Internet Strategy, development costs are often 40-50% of the total costs and maintenance can be 40% of your web costs. So make sure you are spending your money in the right places.

Web Do’s and Don’ts

• Be realistic about your site needs. Don’t try and create the web site of all web sites.
• Ensure you have a domain name that is relevant to your business, memorable, and hard to misspell, eg www.yourcompany.com.au
• Don’t leave web site design to the technical department. Your web site is a marketing tool.
• Have someone responsible for managing your site, and ensure they are empowered to answer questions. Visitors expect quick responses to all communication on the web.
• Think about site structure from your visitor’s point of view. Remove funky page names that make it difficult to guess the content.
• Check your entire web site for spelling errors. Nothing turns prospective customers off faster than incorrect spelling and grammar.
• Refresh your pages on a regular basis. Don’t carry outdated information on your site.
• Use graphics selectively. Visitors are more concerned with content then needless flashing images or icons, unless they serve a true purpose.
• Check for broken links on your site. These can be very frustrating for users, especially if it is an e-mail link to you.
• Your web site is global. Ensure your full international contact details are shown, and steer clear of local jargon or slang.
• If you offer products for sale over the web, ensure that you offer secure ordering.
• Advertise your web site address, not only in search engines but offline as well: on your business cards and stationery at the very least.

One Billion websites and counting. How does your website measure up?

I just can’t help myself, as soon as someone says they have a website I offer to take a quick look at it and see if I can improve it for them. I am almost on a mission to make every website more attractive and profitable. With 2015 set to be year that we reach the milestone of one Billion websites again (last time it was September 2014) your website just has to stand out. So here is my quick rundown on the things I look at and maybe it will help you out as well.

1] First impressions count
Your visitor will make a judgement of you and your business almost the moment your site loads. You need to display a professional appearance. Anything that looks like an amateur put it together will shadow your credibility. Your visitor’s first impression is critical.

2] Home Page – The Biggie
The first thing that greets your visitor needs to make an impact. This is your billboard. Tell your visitor exactly what they want to know about you and do it in the first couple of lines. Unless this information virtually smacks then in the face, they may leave quickly and never return. The dreaded “bounce”

3] The Message
This gives the visitor a reason to stay. Can your visitor see who the message is being directed at and can they see why your site is better than all the others that are offering much the same thing? This must answer their question: WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?”

4] Load Time
How fast does the page load? Run it thru www.pingdom.com continue to make changes until you have the speed of loading your site down as far as you can. If graphics are a big part of your page, and quite often will be, optimize them as far as you can without losing their impact. It is imperative that the home page especially loads in less than 15 seconds. Most visitors will never stay around. Eliminate music, applets, heavy graphics or whatever it takes to optimize the load time.

5] Graphics
How pertinent to what you are trying to convey are the graphics that you are using? A picture says a thousand words, it’s true. And it’s difficult to show your product or service and to excite the senses without the use of graphics. In addition to optimizing them by reducing the number of colours, also reduce the dimensions and once again eliminate all that are not necessary to convey your point.

6] Fonts – Readability
Use basic fonts that are easy to read and keep their size where they can be easily read by all visitors at all screen sizes and resolutions. Make sure there is plenty of white space and that text is blocked into small sections. People do not usually read web pages word for word. They skim and pick and choose what catches their eye. Encouraging them to read more of what you have to say is easily accomplished by grouping the text into smaller bits that are easier to assimilate.

7] Skimming
Even when your reader skims the page, how easy do you make the task. Use a lot of short headings and small bits of text. Highlight special items, use colour changes, or use centering or dividers. Draw your reader’s eye to important information that you want to convey.

8] Quality of Text
Your visitor does not like to read a lot. As they skims thru your text, is your copy direct and to the point? Or does the reader have to swim thru a lot of words to find out what you are trying to say? Don’t “fluff up” a page just to meet a certain word-count requirement for SEO. The questions to ask yourself are: Have I said everything I could? Have I overcome all objections? Have I showcased the product or service? Does the copy encourage the next conversion step? Have I connected with my reader?

9] Navigation
How easy is it for your visitor to find their way around your site. Do you make them have to use the back button on their browser to get back to your home page or any other page on your site? Provide a link back to your home page on every page on your site. Do not allow your visitor to ever be lost or you might lose them as a customer.

10] Forms
People do not like filling out forms. When you use forms keep them as brief as possible. Use check boxes whenever possible. If you gather email addresses, be sure to let your visitor know how they will be used. Spam is very prevalent on the Internet and your visitor does not want to receive any unsolicited mail. You will increase your integrity by letting them know exactly how you intend to use any information that you ask them to supply.

11] Testimonials & Reviews
Your honesty and integrity is of utmost importance on the Internet. Your visitor wants to know that others are happy with your products and/or services. Provide testimonials that you receive from customers that have used your services/products. This is one of the most important things you can do to insure your credibility to new visitors and Google loves them

12] Errors
Check and recheck your site. Nothing will turn a visitor away quicker than a lot of spelling mistakes, broken links or missing graphics. Try http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com to test for broken links.

13] Mobile Friendly Website
Last but not least, make sure your website can be viewed on a mobile device. Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content? This usually happens when the website has not been optimized to be viewed on a mobile phone. To check whether your website is mobile friendly try the Mobile Friendly Test https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

That’s a quick spring clean for any website and here’s to the next one billion websites!