In recent years there has been a huge movement in businesses extending their marketing and advertising strategies onto the Internet. Given the instant communication and ease of accessibility afforded by the World Wide Web, this comes as no surprise. However, businesses frequently make huge mistakes in their approach to building and maintaining their websites.
The main purpose of a website is to help a business sell its products or services to a much larger audience of consumers. If your website is not achieving this, then this is a very costly mistake, even if you are only spending a few dollars a month on hosting. If your website is doing its job in attracting targeted prospects, it should be making you money instead of being an expense to your company.
Many companies settle on a brochure website, which effectively offers a snapshot of their business, its origins, its philosophies and what it sells. Nice to look at, but with the huge amount of competition on the Internet, brochure websites are no longer cutting it.
With literally thousands of commercial cleaning businesses offering similar, if not the same services, it becomes necessary to make the individual stand out amongst the crowd and this can only be achieved by creating a far more interactive website for your business— one that compels visitors to become customers by offering attractive deals, employing marketing strategies and creating and maintaining a dynamic, constantly changing web space.
So take a look at your business’s website. Is it time for a marketing makeover?
In 2007, 73 percent of Internet searches were made with the intent of finding a local service provider of some sort. Of this percentage, 82 percent of viewers followed up their Internet search offline through a direct visit or phone call to the company that attracted their attention. This equates to a huge amount of business garnered by effective Internet marketing. It also means that if you are not maintaining a dynamic and interactive website, not only are you costing your business a huge chunk of income and profits, but you are directly benefiting your competitors! More than half of the American population has completely replaced the Yellow Pages with the Internet when trying to locate services and products they require that are offered by locally-based companies. This business is practically knocking at your door; you just need to find a way to unlock it and let the customers come streaming in.
How to Build a Marketing Website
A website should benefit your company in the form of web-traffic and money. This, more often than not, has become the defining point between a brochure website and a marketing website. Take a look at your business’ website: under which category does it fall? Does it offer interaction with its viewers in the form of special reports, promotions, newsletters, service request forms and referral programs? Do you update it regularly with monthly specials and weekly news articles regarding products and services? Does your business’ website actively collect contact information from viewers so that you will be able to contact those in the future offering discounts, promotions and informative newsletters? Do you update your website with engaging material like compelling content, customer testimonials, blog posts, videos and newsletter archives?
If not, then your website is not interactive and chances are, it’s perceived as being stagnant and is likely sitting idly at the bottom of the search engine list. A business website should actively engage with its viewers as well as its existing customers and if yours doesn’t, then your competitions’ will!
Get Found in Local Searches
There are three ways you can make your business sing out amongst the rest on the Internet:
Pay Per Click (PPC)
This advertising tool essentially allows your business to put a link to its website on other people’s websites (perhaps with related content, but not in direct competition). It also places your ad at or near the top of the page when people search for specific keywords phrases. Then, you pay each time a viewer uses this link to visit your website, hence the title ‘pay-per-click’. This marketing strategy is highly effective for getting word of your business out there, but limitations must be set to stay within your budget.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In order for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to recognize your website as relevant to the keywords or phrases typed into them by viewers, you need to place carefully chosen keywords phrases into each page of your website. Use these keywords phrases in the title tags, description tags, and content for each page. And don’t forget to include your service areas (cities and states), in your keyword phrases. If implemented properly, it can make sure your business pops up at the top of the organic search results in your locality.
Local Search Results
The important thing to remember when using the Internet to market your business is that there is no one way to do it. The Internet is not called the World Wide Web for nothing; it is a complex network; a giant puzzle if you will. Getting your website to feature strongly in the search results yielded by Google Local, for example, takes care of just one puzzle piece.
If you want your website to be a bustling highway of web traffic, then you need to submit your site to all the other local search sites, such as Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Info USA, Merchant Circle, CitySearch, Yelp, YellowPages.com, etc. Google will search all these sites to see if your business’ website is featured there and if it does, it will rank higher on the search results page that will be viewed by potential customers.
Effective Internet marketing is a surefire way to make your business sell to a targeted audience, and if conducted correctly, will yield greater and continued customer interest. And in the business world, a targeted lead equates to profits.