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Your First Marketing Plan...continued:

Developing your Online Presence

The first question you need to ask is what exactly is it that you want your website to do…

  • Is it to be a showroom to attract interest?

  • Is it to create sales?

  • Is it to promote an interest creating product such as an email newsletter or ebook?

Pinpoint exactly what you want your website to achieve - if you don't know, how can you expect site visitors to know ... With that in mind we can move on.

The aim of your website is to communicate. To communicate the advantages of your particular service or product.

Forget flashing graphics, sound effects etc. Your site needs to be clear, succinct and offer a complete package of information about who you are, what you do, and how your service is of great benefit to your prospect.

The first thing you should be looking at is what you want your website to say.
Here is a recognized outline of the different web pages you should consider offering your prospects.

  1. Index or Home Page.
    One page outlining the essence of your services.
    This is the first page that visitors to your site will see.

  2. More Depth.
    Further page/s leading from your index page which go into more depth about the your service/product and its benefits. You can go into depth about what you do, how you do it and when you do it.

  3. Services Summary.
    An overview of the various services you offer.
    Here you can give brief outlines into the different services you offer and how they work.

  4. Clients/Testimonials.
    Provide a list of clients you've worked with, along with testimonial quotes.

  5. About us.
    Background on the yourself/company with perhaps a short mission statement/elevator speech (an elevator speech = imagine that you are in an elevator with a prospect, you have just the time it takes to get to the third floor to sum up your business)

  6. Articles.
    The best publicity is free publicity. Start building up articles on areas related to your expertise. The more you prove what you know, the more credibility you have. Allow people to reprint these articles with the proviso of linking back to your site for free publicity.

  7. Resources.
    Relevant material that would be of interest to your clients. Some of these links could pay you commissions (books/videos/audio programs). You could also exchange links with similar sites increasing your visitors. Consider including some interactivity such as a quiz or questionnaire.

  8. FAQ Page.
    Frequently answered questions, useful in summarizing what you do and the benefits you offer. (But remember, the FAQ section recaps all your sales copy on your main pages - you shouldn't have the need for a FAQ section if your main copy is OK)

  9. Contact Us.
    What your prospects need to do to get in touch with. Make sure that this information is very easy to find!

 

Choosing a Domain Name

The domain name you choose should be relevant to your business - but that doesn't mean that it should be your business name.
People generally don't care who you are or what your company name is, they are interested in the service/product, so look at choosing a domain name that 'advertises' your business.

The domain name is the first step in creating interest and developing your marketing. Obviously a neat small name is nice, but don't be afraid of using long or hyphenated words.

As a showroom, you will have directed your prospects there yourself.

As a prospect creator people will find your site by typing 'keywords' or 'keyword phrases' in search engines. Therefore consideration should be given to what words/phrases people would use to discover your kind of service/product, and consider incorporating them in your domain name.

You can find some useful tools, including email newsletters here: http://onlyforprofit.com/7steps/step2.htm

 

Web Hosting

Your first decision will have to be whether you need a paid or a free web host.

With the price of web hosting plans offered by quality hosts falling down to very affordable levels, only the most simplest and less popular sites should consider being hosted by free web hosts such as Geocities, Tripod, etc. How much do you trust a site on obviously free web space - would you send them money?

Other differences are the number of features offered by paid hosts like:

  • more disk space (more pages),

  • unlimited email addresses (able to quantify advertising responses)

  • mailing lists (able to have your prospects in predefined mailing lists) ready to target with your latest offer),

  • autoresponders (be able to automatically reply to all email inquiries),

  • site statistics (forget those amateur page counters - full site statistics which tell you exactly where your visitors are coming from).

Also the free hosts get paid for your free space by forced ads and pop-ups adverts appearing all over the place - not very professional, and very distracting.

For a professional approach seriously consider paid hosting. I host my sites (both worldwide and UK specific) with Host4Profit, which you may wish to consider. read more here

 

Site Design

There is a great advertising acronym shortened to K.I.S.S. "Keep it Simple Stupid"

Unless you are selling graphics, design or something similar, make it simple and clean. Your name is not the most important thing on your page (unless you're famous that is!), the benefit your prospect will get from buying from you is!

Your site should be:

  • Fast loading,

  • Have clear navigation,

  • Be easy to read (dark text on a light background)

  • One main message per page.

The master of site design is Dave Siegel: http://www.dsiegel.com/casbah/option3/quilt3.2.html

Have a look at his stuff, and then visit your successful competitors and see what they're doing. Then compromise! Dave's designs are great, but very specific.

 

Site Promotion

Far too much to go into here - and the goal posts change every second! Sorry to let you down, but let's be honest - Site promotion techniques change every day, which is why I am always recommending you to subscribe to various ezines, as well as reading this one for up to date news.

Tools and resources here:
http://onlyforprofit.com/7Steps

 

Best of success,

Vic Carrara
SuccessSecrets.co.uk
April 2002

 

 

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