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…
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.
Index or Home Page.
One page outlining the essence of your services.
This is the first page that visitors to your site will see.
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
An overview of the various services you offer.
Here you can give brief outlines into the different services
you offer and how they work.
Provide a list of clients you've worked with, along with testimonial
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)
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.
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.
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)
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:
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
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
site statistics (forget those amateur page counters - full
site statistics which tell you exactly where your visitors are
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
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:
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.
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:
Best of success,