How To Make Your Web Site Work
Business Web Site Marketing From UK Web Site Marketing Agency NCS
You Have a Web Site....
Perhaps it was developed internally by you or by one of your own people. Or perhaps you employed a web design agency to produce it for you. You know you’re not happy with it but don’t know what to do about it.
Sound familiar? Then you are one of many businesses, both large and small, who are disappointed with their web site.
The reason is often a failure to understand what you should be trying to do with the site and (let’s be honest) probably a failure to invest the time and the effort needed to make the site successful.
If your business web site is a marketing one - and most are - aimed at your UK or overseas markets, it should be an integrated part of your main marketing and operations. It should support your marketing and be supported by your marketing.
In this article, I shall discuss some of the key things you need to do to identify and tackle your problems. If you are really trying to build a site from scratch or want to cover some of the basic thought processes in creating an effective site, see our article on web design and build for UK businesses: ‘How to set up a web site that works’
1. Set Out Your Stall – What Do You Want to Achieve?
First of all, you need to set out what you really want your web site to achieve. Easier said than done actually but the more clearly you can set out your objectives – quantified if possible – then the easier it will be to decide what to do about it and - also importantly – how much effort and money it is worthwhile investing in the process.
- Number of enquiries from new customers
- Sales to new and/or existing customers on line
- Better service levels to customers
- The value of better information about you and your products to potential suppliers, creditors, press and customers - for example for public relations or market education
- Amount of feedback from customers on your products and service
- Staff recruitment enquiries
- Reduction of sales costs – including not needing an expensive printed brochure possibly or replacing some traditional advertising
- The value of improvements in your internal efficiency
- The value of projecting a better image
2. Identify the Problems and Opportunities
With the aid of your framework from step 1, you should now be able to list the areas where you probably need to improve your web site’s results. But you still have to ask some key questions:
- What is the site actually achieving?
- Do we know what it’s achieving? (Frequently the honest answer is ‘no’)
- How can we find out what it’s achieving?
- What do our customers, staff, potential visitors think about it? (Why not ask some?)
- What are our competitors or similar businesses doing on their sites? Is ours inferior - and can we use their ideas to improve our performance too?
- Are there new ideas out there we should be adopting?
Frequently things boil down to:
- How many visitors is the site seeing and where are they coming from? Is the key problem your business web site marketing for your UK or your other, overseas markets?
- Is the site converting enough visitors to sales or enquires? Once you get a visitor, is the site failing to convert them to a ‘buyer’ or ‘hot prospect’? Do you need to make your site ‘sell’ more strongly?
Statistics from the site operating logs should help to answer these questions and give some clues on where visitors are coming from and what they are looking at.
If your web site hosting company does not provide detailed statistics or if you don’t understand them, consider asking a local UK web site marketing agency like NCS to give you a hand. We can provide a one-off analysis and explanation or set up ongoing monitoring for you. (Technical tip: If you think 1000 ‘hits’ per month means you are receiving 1000 visitors, I suggest you need some help).
3. Sort Out Your Web Site Marketing
Most web sites are meant to be marketing sites. They contain information on the business’s products or services and you hope they will help you attract more business enquires and increase your sales.
But the web site itself is a ‘product’ and you should go through the core marketing steps on it again to make sure you still have a sound foundation:
- Who are your target audience(s)?
- What do you need to have on your site to attract them to it in the first place? Is it there?
- Do you want them to come back again? What would attract them back?
- What content or service do you need to provide on-line or off-line to back up your 'promise' to your visitors?
and, vitally important:
- How should you promote your web site and contents to your target audience?
The answers will depend on your product, type of business, target audience etc. However, there are some effective traditional and internet marketing approaches which you should consider:
- Try to make your site a magnet for your target audience. What would drive them to come to you in preference to your competitors? Information on your product or service field, advice on how to choose or use a product, specialist industry news or articles, games, good deals, support service?
Relationship marketing: Try permission e-mail to inform your target audience about new content material or initiatives. This can be very powerful and generate substantial web traffic and sales. You can keep your name in front of potential prospects so that you are the first people they think about when they are ready to ‘buy’. It works for existing client service too.
Internet marketing companies like NCS can help you with setting up the content and the ongoing administration to reduce your time involvement.
Off-line marketing: Use your web site as an integral part of your traditional marketing and promotion:
- Put your web address on ALL your letterheads, business cards, invoices, emails, adverts, brochures, vehicles
- Refer to your web site in any publicity material you issue.
- Have your sales and telesales staff tell their prospects about the web site
- Use the site as a sales aid
- Network – tell everybody you know about your web site.
Internet marketing: This is a new area for most people and some of the terminology is off-putting. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a huge budget to get worthwhile results - although it helps! Internet marketing includes:
- Search engines: These can produce substantial business volumes for you – some surveys report as much as 80% of traffic to sites comes from search engines. Whilst having a budget helps, affordable search engine ranking is possible for most businesses. See our article ‘Search Engine Placement For UK Business Web Sites’.
- Pay per click engines: Like search engines but you pay for the visitors they produce.
- Domain marketing: You have just one internet site address (domain)? You could be missing out.
- Affiliate programmes: Getting other sites to link to you and their visitors to click onto your site. Useful to direct traffic and also helps with search engine profiles.
On-line advertising: Probably the least important for most businesses
All this might seem a lot (OK - It is a lot!). Some questions and comments come readily to mind:
- Do we have to do all of it? - No. Only do what’s worthwhile for you.
- I won’t have time to do this. - You don’t have to. You can get a marketing agency like NCS to do most of it for you.
- I don’t understand this technical stuff. - You don’t have to. You just need to understand how the business can benefit from it
- I can’t afford the budget to do it. - It doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Key Things to Remember
- Set out your stall – decide what do you want to achieve
- Identify the problems and opportunities
- Try to make your site a magnet for your target audience
- Use your web site as an integral part of your marketing and promotion
- Don’t forget the internet marketing area - especially search engine marketing
- If it’s not your skill area, get some help to sort things out. You’ll be glad you did.
Good luck with your business web site marketing.
Net Commerce Solutions
Business Web Site Design, Build and Marketing Services for UK and International Markets
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