Not that long ago, having a web site was a new and exciting marketing medium that many businesses saw as a “nice to have” option. These days it is pretty much expected that a company will have a web site. It is the first place people look to find out about your company, so if you don’t have one, in most cases they will just move on to look at your competitors to see if they have a site and then you might have lost out on the business.
A web site is a business’s window to the world, an online catalogue, a means of communication to your potential customers and a means of communication to your existing customers.
There are many ways to get on-line these days with simple DIY or free web sites so having a site is not difficult, unfortunately this has led in some cases to some misguided souls who believe themselves to be web designers. The big difference is having a good web site, one that is built to meet the specific needs of your business, is produced to meet current standards and, most importantly one that works well for you. Unfortunately, these are not items that are usually included in the box with the web site kit .
A truly effective web site reflects the image of a business and also its objectives. Setting up a cheap, amateurish site can devalue your business and your credibility and can harm your professional image and reputation.
A web site needs to convey an image and a message about your business and provide your customers with the information that they need in an intuitive and simple manner. Often, businesses get carried away and put too much emphasis on flashy gimmicks and neglect the content. A visitor to your site might be impressed with all the gimmicks initially but if he or she can’t find the information they want easily, they won’t bother and will click away from your site. And you can bet that they are not going to come back again just to see your flash movie or whatever other bells and whistles you have.
There have been many studies and reports written over the last few years. A couple of years ago, I remember reading that only around 50% of small companies had a web site. These days there are more, (recent figures from a BT study indicates four out of five businesses having a website in 2008), but there are a lot of bad ones and still it seems that many businesses invest in getting a web site published and sadly then don’t do anything more with it. Maintaining your website on a regular basis, even for a simple site, is absolutely crucial in order to ensure visitors will keep coming back.
E-marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing used today. When used as a part of an overall marketing plan and strategy which mixes e-marketing with a good website and other, more traditional forms of marketing (e.g. newspaper and magazine ads, flyers, brochures, radio, TV, etc) it can produce fantastic results.
Promoting your products or services by email can be a powerful and flexible form of direct marketing and drive existing and new potential customers to your web site. You can communicate your messages quickly and cheaply. It also allows you to tailor your message to specific types of customer more effectively and cost-effectively than is possible with paper-based marketing. The best feature of email marketing is that it is trackable and can give you direct feedback of how your campaign is going. You can analyse the results and even make quick changes unlike other forms of marketing.
You can see from this article, it is clear that E-marketing has to start with a good website. From the other articles on this page, you can also see that there are still many opportunities to grow your business. In these difficult times, you can’t afford not to and you can be sure that your competitors will be looking for similar opportunities. You don’t have to do it all in one go, the important thing is to look into it, plan your strategy and define a marketing plan and then get started growing your business.
If you need help, there are lots of companies out there providing a vast range of services to assist you or even do it all for you. Scalar Enterprises is one such company so why not give us a call and have a chat to see if we can help.
Steve Wood, Scalar Enterprises – 22nd March 2009
(first published on Scalar Enterprises blog 2009)