Some business leaders are old enough to remember how marketing used to be done before the web. Traditional media like print, TV, and radio were considered as prime communications channels to “push” your marketing messages.
But there has been a paradigm shift to online frontiers—where the audience is now. And having a “static” website (also known as “brochureware”) won’t get results anymore because visitors expect state-of-the-art technology. They want to gather information, blog, communicate, shop and buy. And they want it to be fast, simple—a no-brainer because their time is very limited.
So, your website has to do more “heavy lifting” to satisfy prospects and customers. Think of your site as a hub of activity. It serves as the fulcrum of your marketing efforts, with other activities extending around it that tie in.
Many times in consulting with a business about online marketing, I start by simply drawing a circle and labeling it “website.” Then I ask about how they want to build their brand and drive sales; i.e., through what other channels. Then I draw a spoke for each channel and discuss: 1) how the website can facilitate that link, and 2) what can be done to drive visitors to the website via that particular channel?
For example, say that you operate a manufacturing business that offers a unique product for eco-friendly laundry detergent. You also have a Facebook page where you want to educate people about your product and encourage sales. To “pull” fans to your website, use brief posts summarizing the nature and value of your product. At the end of each post, add a link to the website blog that contains more detailed information. Providing knowledge helps prospects make that decision to buy.
Likewise, a video is worth a thousand words. It should be short and sweet. It should encourage and explain. It’s also another spoke in the wheel of influence centered around your website.
Not to be forgotten is search engine optimization (SEO), the all-important hidden element that can drive people searching for your specific product to your website. It’s no longer an option for web marketing. And if your customer base is local, it’s critical they find you. Did you know that according to Google, more than 50 percent of searches are for local businesses? Missing out on this opportunity is huge.
So as you begin to think about formulating a marketing plan with your website as its hub of activity, just draw it out the old-fashioned way with pencil and paper (or even on a table napkin!). You’ll be surprised how a little brainstorming on paper will get the creative marketing juices flowing.
Using your website as the hub for your marketing efforts demonstrates a paradigm shift from traditional print / TV / radio marketing to newfound digital frontiers online.