1. Build brand awareness
The more people are aware of your company and the products and services it has to offer, the more likely they will be to buy.
To increase awareness of your website, and your company, you will want to funnel in visitors from as many relevant sources as possible. That means establishing "hyperlinks" with other sites that share your target audience, as well as listing your company on hot search engines such as Google, Lycos , Yahoo! or Vinaseek. Remember that the online world is a series of interconnected "communities," so keep this in mind as you develop awareness strategies.
It is also important to advertise and solicit public relations attention to your site. Advertising can be expensive, but it works, and you can control the message. Public relations can also be effective, but you have much less control over the message and how your company is presented.
Contact those media journalists-- both online and off-- who are most likely to cover your industry or company. Make a list of target media contacts and send them a press release or drop an email message inviting them to visit your site. Give them a specific reason to come, and make sure your site can deliver what you promise. 2. Direct response
In addition to building awareness, many marketers want to stimulate direct action. Direct-response techniques encourage consumers to order products, request more information, receive a sales call, and otherwise "get involved." Direct marketing also allows for efficient tracking and testing of various sales messages and the ability to generate immediate revenues-- today!
Tactically, you could provide visitors with a simple order form along with a secure means of payment. Or you could develop promotional giveaways or contests to generate excitement while capturing valuable customer information for future marketing initiatives.3. Education
You already know how important it is to educate people about your products and services. But on the Web, you have to offer something more. Like it or not, to succeed on the Web, you have to give away information and services. People only go or return to sites where they can get something.
The point is, give something of real value to your target audience. In return, they'll be more interested in learning about your products and services and they'll have a better impression of you as a company.
Demonstrate your wares. When people clearly understand your products and services-- how they work and what benefits they provide-- they are much more likely to buy. If your product or service is complex, intangible, or not easily demonstrated, find innovative ways to give consumers a "taste" of it. Have fun. Be creative.
In conventional marketing, a product "trial" is usually critical to long-term sales growth. The Web, because it offers sight, sound, motion, and interaction, provides an inexpensive, highly efficient way to try out products and services.4. Direct response
Research on the Net is not only cheap, it can help your business expand markets, fine-tune product offerings, improve customer service, and identify new trends and customer needs.
Use your website to solicit feedback from customers. Find out what they like and dislike and obtain valuable suggestions on how to improve your products or services. Try conducting inexpensive or free online surveys to answer all sorts of marketing questions that would normally cost thousands of dollars and take weeks or months to complete. But remember to offer something in return.
You can also tap into hundreds of existing online databases and newsgroups to strengthen your understanding of a new market segment or product area. 5. Content, content, content
Content is what drives success on the Internet. It is the meat of what you have to offer (fancy design and creative graphics are the dessert). To attract your target audience and keep them coming back, you've got to deliver information-- the right information-- in a timely and organized manner.
Consider what your audience really wants to know. They probably don't need to know your company history dating back to 1973. More likely, they'll want the latest on industry news and trends, helpful tips and guidelines relating to your service or product category, or access to other information sources.
Obviously, you will want to skew content towards your products and services. The trick is to do this in a way that doesn't appear self-serving. Make the content meaningful, relevant, and ultimately helpful to your target, and visitors will return to your site again and again. They'll even thank you for it.
Decide who in your organization will be primarily responsible for creating and updating content. Once you've assigned a "content master" (maybe it's you), this person can delegate content assignments to other people or departments. But someone needs to be accountable for all that goes up and through your site. Finally, take time to determine how and how often content will be updated-- daily, weekly, or monthly. There's nothing in cyberspace worse than a stale website.