Website Development »
Affiliate Marketing - With an affiliate
program you offer affiliates an incentive to perform
a particular outcome. This outcome may be to generate
customer leads for your business, increase ‘clicks’
to your site or improve sales - from a banner ad, text
link, graphic or other means such as a newsletter. The
incentive is usually a fee, provided as a flat rate
or percentage depending on your affiliate program objectives.
Article Submissions - Submitting
articles you write to targeted resource portals will
broaden your reach and position you as an expert in
your field of business. If people identify with you
and find your articles useful, they are likely to visit
your site and take an interest in your products and
Awards/Testimonials - Including awards
and testimonials on your site will provide credibility
to your business. They will also provide a foundation
for you to build rapport and trust with your customers,
who will be more willing to visit a site they can trust.
Banner Advertising - If you want to
increase your company’s brand awareness, implementing
a banner ad campaign is an effective advertising method.
Banner ads are an effective direct marketing tool that
can increase site traffic if they are creative and include
a call-to-action. Advertise on sites that your customers
would visit, and ensure you provide the best possible
offer you can.
Bookmarking - A good way to encourage
customers to visit your site is to ask them to bookmark
it. Through bookmarking, they have easy access to your
site and do not have to remember your site’s exact
URL to visit. Bookmarking a site is particularly beneficial
for web surfers who like to follow links. It enables
them to go back and take a more in-depth look at what
you have to offer when they need to.
Budget - When choosing the right promotional
tools or techniques, your budget is obviously a big
consideration. Some promotional techniques are very
expensive including attending trade shows and organizing
a launch event. Low cost options may include submitting
articles to resource portals, sending out a newsletter
or developing a link strategy.
Collateral Material - Ensure your
Web and email address are on all collateral materials
including any promotional items you give away, such
as mouse pads. This will give customers an easy way
to contact you and increase your brand awareness.
Competition - If you want to stay
in line with your competition, it is beneficial to identify
what type of online or offline promotions they are using.
How are they getting top placement in search engines?
What kind of promotional tools do they use on their
Customers - The demographics of your
customer group will influence what kind of promotional
tools and techniques you use. For instance, women may
be more likely to use coupons than men. A young audience
may appreciate more interactive tools on the site that
are fun and engaging, such as an online tour of a site
or particular product.
Daily Give-Away/Coupons/Contests -
Sites that offer regular promotions such as a ‘give-away’,
coupons and contests are in a solid position to capture
a regular audience. While the promotion acts as the
driver that attracts customers to visit initially, it
provides an opportunity to showcase new products and
services, and deliver important news about your company.
For instance, you may initiate a ‘give-away’
that is a printer, but also take the opportunity to
tell your customers about a printer sale next week.
Your promotional tool has not only lured customers to
your site, but it has also increased the likelihood
of getting a sale. Offering various promotions also
enables you to obtain customer information that you
can use in future marketing campaigns.
Email Marketing - With people spending
so much time on email, there is an enormous opportunity
to market to them and build solid customer relationships.
Email marketing has emerged to become one of the most
profitable and economical ways to manage customer relationships,
presenting marketers with many opportunities and benefits.
Its benefits include the following: low cost vehicle;
access to a targeted and qualified audience; fast, efficient
and effective; offers personalized communication; easy
to track and evaluate; increases sales, awareness, and
Feedback Forms - What better way to
find out what people think of your company than to solicit
their opinion. Using customer feedback you can improve
your site and provide better service to your customers.
Using feedback forms also shows your customers that
you are interested in what they have to say, and provides
an opportunity to build relationships with them. For
instance, you may send out an email thanking a particular
customer for bringing an issue to your attention and
follow-up with a coupon to show your appreciation. The
disadvantage with a feedback form is the type of information
people provide or the questions they may ask. If customers
cannot find answers on your site, they may resort to
using the feedback form. To receive targeted feedback,
it is useful to develop an online form for customers
to complete that leads them through the feedback process.
Launch Events - An event that introduces
new products and services is an effective way to generate
excitement and develop relationships with potential
customers. For instance, you can obtain customers’
contact information so you can follow-up after the event
with promotions or introduce new products and services.
As well, inviting prominent guests to the event as speakers
or supporters will generate interest in the media, which
can result in free publicity and bring greater exposure
to your business.
The kind of promotional tools and techniques you implement
depends on a variety of factors including your online
objectives, customers, products and services, marketing
budget, and competition
Link Strategies - Linking strategies
provide an effective way for customers to learn about
your company through other sites related to your subject.
The key to developing an effective link program is to
identify sites that are not direct competitors but have
a similar target market as you. It is also necessary
to find a balance between the amount of traffic that
exits your site through a link and the number of people
who visit your site through a link on another site.
Building links from other sites to your site also increases
your site’s relevancy to search engines.
Newsgroups - Joining a newsgroup will
enable you to build your reputation, identify trends
in your industry, and evaluate the needs of potential
customers. To get in close contact with potential customers,
it is necessary to research groups that target your
prospective customer base and spend time identifying
what kind of behavior is acceptable in the group. Netiquette
is very important when you are a member of a newsgroup.
The best way to give your business exposure without
appearing like you are only there to market yourself
is to use a signature file, which references your contact
Newsletters - As a low cost promotional
tool, a newsletter enables you to build rapport and
strengthen your relationship with customers. The key
to success is to focus less on self-promotion and focus
more on providing information that is newsworthy and
valuable. To effectively communicate with prospective
and current customers release the newsletter regularly
and provide customers with an opportunity to unsubscribe.
Objectives - Whether your online objective
is to increase awareness, improve sales or drive site
traffic, it will influence the type of promotional tools
and techniques you use. For instance, if you want to
increase sales, you may offer online coupons, which
give customers an incentive to buy. You may also conduct
daily ‘give-aways’, which will enable customers
to test your products and encourage future purchases.
If you want to increase awareness of your site or drive
site traffic, purchasing banner space on sites that
target your customers may do the trick. You can also
conduct an email marketing campaign to keep customers
up-to-date on your company and inform them of new products
Online Chat - Online chat mechanisms
provide a forum where customers can come together and
share their experiences with each other and you. This
interactive tool allows you direct access to customer
opinions where you can gauge trends and determine their
views on the industry.
Press Releases - When you have important
news to share about your business, sending a press release,
by email, mail or fax, to editors and public relations
newswires, will give you direct access to customers
most interested in your message and increase your exposure.
For instance, if you have a technology related site
you may focus on journalists who cover the Internet.
You can also target your release to specific industries.
Products/Services - The type of products
or services you sell can impact the promotional tools
or techniques you implement. For instance, if you sell
highly complex products, it will be necessary to find
avenues where you can communicate product features concisely
and enable customers to walk away with the most useful
information. You may provide an online tour of a particular
product that shows customers its benefits. If you sell
packaged goods, you may focus on making sales and providing
online coupons to encourage purchases.
Search Engine Optimization - Effectively
submitting your site in search engines will enable you
to acquire top placement in search engine results and
increase the likelihood that people will link into your
site during search queries. The trick is to identify
effective methods to optimize your placement. The criteria
search engines and directories use to determine which
sites rank highly varies. Some, like Google, use link
popularity in their ranking mechanisms. Others measure
click popularity, gauge the number of times key words
are used throughout a site, or favor sites that are
updated regularly. Therefore, it is important to learn
about the various search engines and identify the ones
that are best suited for your site.
Sponsorships - Sponsorships are an
effective way to develop greater brand impact because
you can capitalize from an existing community and associate
your brand with fresh content. By customizing your sponsorships
to specific areas or for specific messages, you can
create an excellent platform to communicate your products
Surveys - Surveys provide an effective
avenue through which to gather important customer data
that will help you to improve your business and plan
for the future. To encourage visitors to complete the
survey, you can provide an incentive such as an opportunity
to win a prize.
Tours - Online tours provide you
with an opportunity to showcase particular products
and services, and highlight their key benefits. For
instance, you may have a CRM product that you would
like to promote. What better way to show how it works
than to provide a tour of the product - making what
could be a potentially complex product look simple and
easy to use.
Trade Shows - Attending trade shows
is an effective way to increase awareness of your business
to a targeted audience and provide you with direct access
to potential customers, who can get hands-on knowledge
about your business and its products or services. Attending
a trade show will also enable you to identify trends
in the industry and provide you with information about
your competitors. Furthermore, you can give away products
with your web site address and encourage customers to
complete forms for prizes, providing you with valuable
Web Site Promotion Services - There
are web site promotion services that will assist you
in marketing your site. While these types of services
can be helpful, they do not guarantee results and can
be quite expensive. It is necessary to do your research
before working with a company - check their reviews
and contact references if necessary.