Making the Most of Your Website: Start with the Basics

One of my most salient memories from when I sold real estate in Oregon for my Dad's company was listing a property where the owners had initially tried to sell it For-Sale-By-Owner with no success. After the listing contract was signed my Dad told them, "Next time put your phone number on your sign."

It is easy to laugh when someone forgets something as obvious as providing a contact method for a buyer, but far too frequently website usage falls into the same category.

Below are a few tips to make the most of your website.

First things first . . .

Email signatures ? Is your website listed on every email you send out? If not, you may be missing out on exposure for your business. You may think that if someone already knows you, that they already know what you do. However often when someone knows you on a personal basis, they do not always remember your business connection.

Business cards, flyers, and printed material ? Every single piece of printed material you put out should have your web address on it as well, whether it is a coupon, gift certificate, flyer, letterhead, or business card.

Advertising ? If you are advertising in the yellow pages, a magazine, newspaper, TV, cable or radio, make sure that your web address is included. I have seen business spend thousands of dollars on a huge ad in the yellow pages and leave out their website, which is the equivalent of money flying out the window.

Any time you put something out there that says, "This is my business, this is what I do," make sure your website is on there.

Learn from the big boys:

Large corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on market research to test consumer response patterns and behavior. As a small business, there is sometimes the view that we can't compete with a large conglomerate. However, the Internet is a great leveler. A professionally presented web site can give a small business the same credibility on par with an international company.

Small companies can take advantage of the lessons that large corporations have paid much to learn. Corporations do not see a website as an entity unto itself, they view it as part of the total marketing strategy.

What do those million dollar Super Bowl commercials have in common? They all prominently feature the company web address for viewers to visit to get more information. The ads are designed to create awareness and corporations use their website to sell the benefits of their product or services.

The purpose of marketing is to create awareness about your product or service, highlight the benefits that you offer, and to entice the buyer to contact you. A website is an increasingly important component of a comprehensive marketing plan.

Copyright 2005 - Carla Alvarez, Legacy Marketing Services

Carla Alvarez is owner of Legacy Marketing Services which provides integrated marketing services for businesses including business identity, web and CSS development, and business development seminars.

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