Tuesday, July 04, 2006

10 ways to market your site

This article by my internet consultant husband strikes home a little because I feel like I haven’t been putting as much time into my business this summer!

10 Ways to Market Your Site and Keep Your Business Cooking This Summer

During this season with the kids home, vacations to take, cookouts to have or attend, and all the other good things going on, it’s easy to put some of our more important business routines on hold, to include marketing. We continue to deliver our goods and services, pay our bills, and collect our due, but things like marketing, well it can wait…or so the temptation exists. Well here are 10 things you can do which don’t take much time, and cost little to nothing to accomplish that will help keep your business visible even if you take it easy a little this summer.

Luckily the internet doesn’t sleep. If you have a website, it is out there and visible 24/7. Lets look at a few simple ways to use that to your advantage.

Make sure your site is registered with the major search engines. This can be done for free at Google, Yahoo and MSN as well as other specialty directories. Typing in “Suggest Site” or “Suggest URL” in your browser search bar will get you to the right places. Submit to each independently rather than to a so-called listing agent who does mass submissions. Include dmoz.org.
Review your affiliations with trade/industry organizations, and go to their sites or your membership information and see what internet linking services they provide you as part of your association with them. These are excellent ways to gain exposure and credibility, but be conscious of the fact many will be listing your competitors as well so approach this with thought.
Look through your website and make sure it is saying what you want it to say. Is it current? Is it aimed at the audience you wish to have for customers? Do you include words and phrases that are focused on what it is you are trying to get across? Make a list of these words and phrases, and then use them in your content as well as website metatags. (talk to a website professional regarding effective integration of these into your site for search engine use)
Set a schedule on your calendar for refreshing your website content to ensure it stays fresh. When visitors return to a site and see nothing new, statistics say that it will be very likely be their last time to visit, and they will go on to another site offering similar products, services, or information.
Set up a formal system for collecting customer contact information and USE IT. Front desk registration, web form, telephone question, giveaway registration, there are many simple ways to gather data. Include e-mail address so you can keep in touch in a variety of simple and even automatic ways for virtually free. Making telephone calls one by one can be a daunting task, and direct mail expensive, but e-mail is quick, easy and cost effective.
Say thanks! Send a card, send an e-mail, put a note on your invoices; just make sure you thank your customers for their business. They have a choice and want to feel appreciated, don’t you?
Stay in touch. Don’t let final payment end your relationship. It costs several times the amount to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. Let them know what you are up to, that you enjoy what you do, that you are good at it and stand ready to help them at any time in the future. Remind them of why they chose you in the past. Reinforce their good judgment!
Do something new once in a while. Don’t lose sight of your niche, but refresh your business in your customer’s eyes once in a while and let them know about it.
Most of us have at least thought about submitting a press release to the local newspaper when we have something worthy to mention, but you may not know about the various facilities online to do the same. A simple notice of a new product or service can be easily submitted to any number of online agencies such as PRWeb, PR Leap, and others for free release all over the country or specific locations. Free classified ads can be placed as well on sites such as Craigslist.
Organize a simple e-mail marketing strategy and periodically let folks know what you are up to. Yes there are spam filters, black lists, white lists, and all sorts of tools to keep unsolicited e-mail from bothering the recipient, but if you provide something of value, and follow simple rules of courtesy, your e-mail marketing can be quite effective, not to mention traceable, measurable, and essentially free.

In response to a recent marketing survey, 52% of over 220 manufacturing company
executives consider their website to be their most valuable marketing tool. Considering just the small sampling of easy to implement tips above, it’s no wonder.

Yes, the hazy lazy days of summer are here, but the internet can provide ways our business can enjoy sustained marketing presence even while we kick back a bit and have our minds occasionally somewhere else.

John Geiger, owner of Webmasters ICE, has over five years experience helping small and medium-sized companies and organizations capitalize on the power of the internet through consulting, education, and supporting products and services. His focus and passion is the use of the internet in providing more effective overall marketing strategies and highly measurable levels of marketing success. http://www.webmastersice.com/

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