If you build it, they will come doesn’t always apply to the Web world. So now that your site has been built and it’s been sitting around in cyberspace for awhile, how do you get people not only to find you but to keep returning?
Making sure that people have and are reminded of your URL frequently is one way to make sure that they are aware or don’t forget that you have a Web presence. Just as you include your business name, phone number and/or address on most things that come out of your office don’t forget to include your URL as well. Here’s a quick checklist of places not to forget to include your URL:
- Email signatures of all employees
- Return address on printed envelopes
- Business cards
- Advertisements that you run
- Any other print or promotional material that contains your company name and contact information (catalogs, flyers, postcards, etc)
- Mention it in your phone system’s hold message or on your voice mail. Remind people that they can order, find FAQs, and/or email on your site.
- Make sure your sales people and customer service reps are always pushing people to the site. Remind customers that they can see examples of your work on the site or point them directly to other information posted that would be useful to them.
- Does your email address contain your URL? Instead of having a generic email address (ie firstname.lastname@example.org) invest in one that contains your URL (ie email@example.com).
- Make sure all publicity sources (ie newspaper articles) have and include your URL in the article
- Keep the content on your site fresh and new so there is always a reason for people to return. Some ways to do this would be to feature special events that you are holding or are a part of, keep a list of awards received, post press releases that you have sent to the media and any articles written about your company, write your own articles or blogs on your site that gives people information about your service, products, or industry, and run sales or specials on your products or services (these can even be Web only sales).
- Incorporate features on your site that change on a regular basis. For example, make the content on your homepage or a section of your homepage into an area that you can feature seasonal products or ideas, run sales or specials on products or services, or feature new or upcoming products. Be sure to change it on a consistent basis whether it is daily, weekly or monthly.
- Make sure that your site is listed or advertised on related websites with a link (ie associations, chamber of commerce, etc)
- Create a section of your site that brings existing customers coming back. Maybe a customer section that is password protected where they can find information pertinent just to them. This might include files that you would normally exchange over email or an area for them to pay their bills. For instance, when you log onto the sites to pay your electric bill, phone bill, credit card bills, etc visiting their site in order to log in allows them to feature new products and services on their homepage or site that you might find interesting as an existing customer.
- Be sure to look for areas on the site where you can cross promote your other products and services to remind people of what you have. Upon check out in their order confirmation email, perhaps give them a coupon for a discount on a future purchase made within a certain timeframe. Sites like Amazon are great at cross promotion and provide great inspiration for ideas of your own. They do a great job of letting you know that "if you like this product, you may also like this".
- Don’t forget to gather names and email addresses both on your site, at tradeshows, over the phone, etc so that they can be added to your mailing list so that you can later send them direct mail or email to encourage them to visit your site and purchase again.
- Ask your customers often if they have visited the site, what they thought about it, and how they used it and then make adjustments to the site accordingly.
If you’d like suggestions on how your specific site could benefit from some additional marketing please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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