If you’ve followed the tips in this series, you should be well on your way to creating a great Website for your business. But that was just the beginning. Once you’ve built a site that customers will find useful, you have to let them know it exists. This will take no less of a marketing effort than required to promote your bricks and mortar operation. Be sure to make your Website efforts work in concert with every part of your company’s total message.
Your goal isn’t simply to promote a Website, but to make your overall marketing efforts work in conjunction with it. For instance, if you offer a newsletter, make sure it directs readers to your Website for more information and vice versa. Both the Website and newsletter can help build a sense of community while offering information, entertainment or both. Know the goals for the company, and make all vehicles you create serve those goals, not a particular medium. That said, here are some ways to launch the new Website into your total communications mix:
Add your Web address or URL to all business communication including, stationery, business cards, invoices, product packaging, promotional items such as pens and mouse pads, brochures, catalogs and voice mail announcements. If possible, incorporate the URL into your company logo. For businesses that exist primarily on the Web, consider making the URL your company name (i.e., Widgets.com).
Place your Web address prominently in all your advertising efforts -in print, TV and radio commercials and anywhere you already spend money to reach consumers. However, you shouldn’t stop there. “People are quick to say ‘Put e-mail and a URL on literature and advertisements,'” says Dirk Beveridge, president of Beveridge Consulting Group in Barrington, Illinois. “But, more than that, you need to drive people to your site who will generate word of mouth.”
When you mention the Website in an ad, give people a reason to visit, such as a downloadable sample of the music your company sells or recipes for use with your food products. Practical tips that fit your customers’ lifestyle or any other item of value should be an inherent part of your site.
- Build community by helping customers interact with one another, and they will draw each other back. Provide forums where they can answer each other’s questions and post helpful tips. One coffee site invites users to post their poetry, coffee-house style. A tea site has user-generated tips such as putting fragrant empty foil pouches for tea bags in sock drawers, or over one’s nose when changing the cat’s litter box.
- Resist the urge to “spam.” Spamming-sending unsolicited advertisements via e-mail or newsgroups-will bring you more problems than customers. If you spam a newsgroup, angry Usenet citizens may bring down your company’s mail server with automated e-mail retaliation or other methods you’re not prepared for. If your site is hosted by a third party, this can get your business unceremoniously kicked off.
In newsgroups, it’s acceptable to offer helpful information and have your company name and