by Ronald L. Burgess
When times get tough, tough businesses tend to watch expenses and market more. Both of these can be done by re-thinking your website and turning it into your marketing hub. Online marketing and advertising reaches most target audiences at a lower cost than traditional print or radio.
Creating more exposure for lower cost can be accomplished for smaller businesses through targeted key phrase pay-per-click advertising, and carefully selected community or industry websites.
When you advertise in a regional newspaper, radio or cable TV, you also have to pay for those who are not your prospects, as well. So part of your cost is always wasted. Contrast this with yellow pages, where only those interested in your product see your ad.
Like the phone book, key phrase (or keyword) advertising is seen only by those who type into a search engine the word or phrase they are looking for. But, unlike the phone book, you only pay if they actually view your website. You many not get any calls from yellow pages, but you still have to sign an annual contract.
If you need display ads, as many businesses do, select geographically or interest level websites to place your ads. Unlike the traditional media people can click your ad and go right to your website. Local websites like InlandEmpire.US and RedlandsWeb.com are examples of geographically oriented sites. RedlandsWeddings.com is an example of an interest site for brides-to-be. These and many others are low cost and more targeted than traditional advertising.
Cutting your traditional advertising and putting 75% of that budget in online ads will usually increase your exposure for less money.
Other online methods exist such as blogs and email campaigns. But all online advertising depends on your website. Your website should be more than a list of what you do; it should also sell your services. Of course your promotional materials can be distributed from your website, but few websites attempt to close business online.
Good websites have carefully crafted text, aesthetics, and navigation. They have sections and techniques just for prospects and the sales approach. Websites like this are very rarely developed in-house, just as high-end brochures are rarely developed in-house. So find a reputable firm or agency with multiple talents to do this work such as RedFusion Media.
The additional cost to develop your website promotional techniques is an investment that will be available to you for years, and is usually the cost of just two or three page ads in a newspaper; good for just one day!
Your website, as your company’s marketing hub, becomes an effective place for printed material distribution, collecting emails, product descriptions, prospecting and closing new business. It is also the first place many people will look from your traditional advertising.
If you are considering cutting your marketing spending in the hard times coming, then consider working with professionals on making your website your marketing hub.
By Ronald L. Burgess
Marketing Consultant for 25 years.