If after my last article you have come to the conclusion that search engine registration isn’t going to be the answer to all your problems, then you are probably left wondering how best to promote your website.
I am horrified at how few of the websites I have built over the years have been maintained and promoted properly. Often, they are left to stagnate with little or no attention given to them. The result is many of them actually do more harm than good!
This article is designed to help website owners and marketing personnel launch a new website and then integrate it into their overall marketing strategy. In particular I focus on small to medium sized business that have a limited budget to work with. Hopefully this will help turn your website into the powerful and effective business tool it is designed to be.
How to launch your website
With any luck your web design company has done a brilliant job and you can’t wait to launch your stunning new website. Hopefully you want to tell the world about your wonderful new presence on the world wide web. Well there are a number of simple ways you can go about doing this:
- Word of mouth
The most obvious place to start is with your email address book. Make sure everybody in the company emails all the contacts in their address book. However, a few words of advice:
- Make sure that if multiple people are sending out emails you are not contacting the same person more than once. This is incredibly annoying and should be avoided at all costs.
- Consider creating a standard template for these emails so different people aren’t sending out different emails. That way you can control the message being disseminated.
- Keep it short and simple. They don’t need a huge amount of detail. All you need to do is encourage them to visit the site. Everything else they might want to know should be there.
- Make sure the email is plain text. I have learnt from bitter experience that large numbers of people can’t receive HTML emails.
You need to be careful with this one. Don’t just pick up the phone and start randomly calling clients to say you have a new website. Instead make a point of mentioning the website when you are next talking to them as part of your everyday business. Also, when you do mention it, focus on the benefits the site (important information, special offers, etc) brings to them rather than just talking in general terms.
The rules here are pretty much the same as for email. The best way is to either write a short mailshot that details a specific benefit to be found on your site, or include a small note/paragraph in your regular correspondence to clients.
Word of mouth:
Not a lot to say about this one, other than to talk about the benefits as you would on a telephone call. Wherever possible leave them with your business card so that they have the website address. You may think your address is easy to remember but you can guarantee your customers will forget.
Reinforcing the message
So you have told everybody about your new website but you don’t get to sit back and watch the visitors flood in. The next step is to make sure that they don’t forget you by constantly reinforcing the message.
Here are a few ideas of how you might want to go about reinforcing the message:
Firstly, ensure that everybody in your company is using an email address which ends in the same domain name as your website. Secondly, use a standard company signature on any emails that go out of the company. This should be no more than four lines and should of course include the company URL. Finally, you should find out if your ISP provides auto responders. Auto responders will automatically send out a reply to anybody that emails you informing them that you will be in touch shortly. This is another superb opportunity to reinforce the company URL as well as giving customers the feeling they are being looked after.
Using the telephone to promote your website can be extremely effective as long as all your staff are singing from the same hymn sheet. Here are a few things to consider if you are receiving more than a few phone calls a day.
If you have staff that are regularly fielding questions from customers make sure they have a list of relevant URLs to hand. When customers ask a question, you should point them to a page on your website that provides the answer. Better still, offer to email them the link. That way you can add their email address to your records!
If you have an "on hold" message on your telephone system tailor the message to promote your site. Your customers will thank you for having something to listen to other than annoying musak!
This is a very broad category that covers everything from business cards to billboard advertising. However the approach here can be summed up in one golden rule: "wherever your logo appears, your website address should appear too". You can take that one step further and actually make a point of almost incorporating your URL into your logo design so the two sit hand in hand. That maybe taking things slightly to the extreme. However you should ensure all stationary and promotional material e.g. invoices, fax headers, yellow pages ads or promotional pens, have the website address prominently displayed.
Okay, that’s it. I hope you’ve found some of the tips and tricks discussed in this article interesting and that you enjoy implementing them. In the next article of this series I take it one step further and look at how to turn your visitors into repeat users.