A vast majority of the web sites today are the web sites hosted by the brick-n-mortar businesses who want to offer their customers the convenience of buying from their offices and homes and also to add new customers from other geographical areas not directly serviced by them. Yet, most of these websites start thinking that the basic concepts that apply to offline marketing are not applicable to online marketing.
Over the next few issues we will try to understand what are the usual beliefs in the minds of most marketers when it comes to online marketing and what are the Similarities and Differences between your Online Business and Offline Business.
You build the site and visitors will come. How Wrong!
When you started your small shop or departmental store you started with selection of the location, proper and adequate space, other facilities as parking space and utilities etc. You then went on to get your store designed properly so that you could display the merchandize in an orderly fashion.
You got your Letterheads, invoices, envelopes and visiting cards designed professionally so that they will convey an image of a serious businessman who means business. You even invited your friends, family, customers and suppliers when you inaugurated the store. You released at least one advertisement to announce the opening of your business and then probably more ads for generating awareness about your enterprise and to bring in more business. Most probably you are still advertising your store on a regular basis in Yellow Pages, local dailies and weeklies and even in community souvenirs to generate new business as well as to build the goodwill.
Yet, when you decided to launch your business online you did not do most of these things, probably you were guided by the belief that you build the site and the visitors will come! You could not be farther to truth than this! I am telling this from my own experience of dealing with more than 2000 businessmen who joined as our members at DotcomVyapar.Com. We observed that most of these members did not include the details of their web site and email in their letterheads, envelopes, visiting cards or any other printed material that was going out to their customers and suppliers. Most of these members did not even include these basic details in their Print Ads published in Newspapers, Magazines, Industry Publications and even local Yellow Pages.
I think that we must understand it very clearly that the most important public that will visit our web site is our existing employees, friends, family members, our existing customers and suppliers. And, if we keep our eyes and ears open, this public will give us enough feedback to make our web site better in terms of content and navigation. And, what better way than to include the website address and email id in every printed matter that goes out of your office. I think once we have made the web site comfortable for the existing users that we can concentrate of the new visitors.
You can also write a small signature of 4 to 5 lines that can and must include your company name, contact address, phone and fax numbers, email address, website URL and your slogan. This way every email that goes out from you will carry your message and complete contact details and will generate more traffic to your web site.
Generating Traffic From Search Engines
We all know that most of the web traffic is routed through the Search Engines. But, all the search engines list not all sites and it takes anywhere between 8 to 12 weeks for the listing. There are many services that provide the Free submission to search engines and shockingly enough we found that most of our members have not even taken the benefit of Free site submission tool provided to them. The Search Engines do not know the existence of your website unless you submit it to them and unless you submit it to them they will not index your web site even if you made a very classy web site.
Let us take the simile a little further. You will find that Financial Giants and Corporates in USA would want their offices to be near Wall Street or in the Manhattan area in New York. Similarly, other industries or trades would like to have their office or establishment in the proximity of the area where similar units are existing or wholesale market for that commodity is situated. Why does this happen? People know that when a prospective buyer wants to buy something he will come to main market for that commodity and if you are located right in front of his or her eyes, the client might visit you. The same principle applies in listing with the search engines also. If some one searches for your products, he might be presented with the search results that contain a link to your web site only if you have submitted your site to search engines, otherwise you will never be found.
And, it is said that if you are away from sight, you are forgotten. So, start printing your full contact details including URL and email id on everything that goes out of your office and you will start building the traffic to your web site. To summarize your web site URL and email address must be included in all of the following:
6.Thank You Notes
11.Email Signature Lines
I hope this starts bringing some very well targeted traffic to your web site. Happy Online Marketing!