If you ask any good web designer they will tell you that every website should have some aspect of marketing in it (me included)…and they would be right. No matter whether you want to sell, inform, market, or educate with your website, it must have some degree of marketing built into it. Sometimes the marketing piece is meant to advertize a product or service, sometimes it’s meant to entice visitors to call you, and sometimes it’s meant to inspire trust and confidence to your prospect. In an earlier post we talked about how your website is really your image on the internet or how it needs to be your virtual storefront for those who visit your site. In this post we’re going to talk about how a website with the goal of marketing your business can be a powerful tool to both advertize, as well as gather info on visitors to your site.

If the marketing site is the direction you’re heading in, it’s very important to think about it as a brochure on steroids. While with some sites you just want to tell the visitor enough to get them to pick up the phone and call you, the marketing site needs to explode with information about every aspect of your business and your offering. If it’s a specific product or selection of products, the site needs to show the customer what it looks like, tell them what it does, and provide enough information so that any prospect that you can truly help will feel that way when they’re on your sites. The marketing site needs to provide visitors with specific situations about how that product or service impacts a business just like theirs’. Testimonials fall into this category and they are a great way to show prospects that what you offer does exactly what you say it does. Unless your offering is specific to one industry your customer base is going to be pretty wide. That being said…the testimonials you list on your site should reflect that fact. If you’ve sold to 10 different industries, there should be at least 1 testimonial from each of those industries on your site. If you sell in a B2B setting, remind your customers that their testimonial is one more place on the internet for them to get free advertizing and one more place for the search engines to crawl for their company. I see too many testimonial pages that don’t offer the giver of the testimonial a link back to their own site. It may say Bob from ABC Company, but in order to see ABC’s site, the visitor has to go back to the search engine and look them up. Give your customers some free advertizing by linking back to their page through the testimonial.

The next piece the marketing site must have is multiple ways to get in touch with you to get your product or service to their business. If all you have is a phone number then anytime you aren’t sitting in front of your phone becomes a potential lost opportunity when that visitor calls. Give them your phone number, your address, and most importantly your email address. In most cases I recommend giving multiple email addresses out to provide additional points of contact for the visitor. The [email protected] email address is most commonly used, but many visitors think they’ll get stuck with a sales person desperate to hit quota and not someone trying to help or inform them. That’s why I usually recommend adding the [email protected] email address as well. The visitor is generally a little more at ease when they see info instead of sales. No pressure, no problem.

The content of your website is extremely important with the marketing site. The more specialized your offering is, the more specific your content needs to be. I always tell my customers that they need to keep their content fresh and new as much as possible. If they work in a cyclical fashion and target different industries at different times of the year, I suggest reworking the content a little each time they move on to another vertical market. Usually it’s just a matter of changing a few paragraphs or images on the site to reach an entirely new market and pop up on new search engine searches. If I want to target doctors then I’ll put a paragraph on my site mentioning medical websites or websites for doctors. If I’m targeting landscapers I’ll do the same with them. It not only brings my site up on more and more searches, but it personalizes what we offer to the industries we’re targeting. It is a very powerful tool for a doctor to see information about medical websites when he lands on a web developer’s site. He knows they’ve worked with people like him before and should know what to expect, how to get the job done, and what will be important to him or her.
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