Every business should have an online presence. However, many businesses forgot Internet advertising in favor of conventional media.
Many small businesses and sole proprietorships target customers in a limited geographic area and offer limited shipping services, if any.
Additionally, sole proprietors have very limited marketing budgets. However, web traffic is important for smaller businesses that service local markets, as it will serve as a research point.
Web-based advertising starts with an effective website. A well-designed website full of useful content is key to motivating any favorable decisions on the part of the customer.
The company website should contain information about the company and its products or services and motivate customers to take some action.
Professional websites built by developers and maintained by the development team can be very effective at driving foot traffic or online purchases. However, professional sites can also be expensive.
Business owners can create their own websites with the help of a variety of commercial applications. This will allow business owners to establish a presence without significant out of pocket expenditures.
Unfortunately, these websites will often lack the polish and features of professionally developed ones. Since the company site is the face of the company on the Internet, presenting a professional appearance is important.
Whether the site meets this standard depends upon the business owner’s ability to craft the site. However, personally-built websites often lack one essential component of a successful marketing tool.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The overwhelming majority of internet users use search engines to locate websites. Optimizing the website for search engine crawlers requires a delicate and experienced touch.
Factors such as the correct keyword density, the amount and nature of links to a specific website, and the site itself can all affect its search engine ranking.
According to SEO company, Everspark Interactive, “top ranking a website on the search engines has to do with 2 main factors, relevance and popularity.”
Different search engines will require different approaches to SEO.
Search engine optimization is particularly important as it can affect the site’s rankings. Customers who use search engines focus on the top few results and rarely venture beyond the first page for their needs.
Businesses without optimized sites will be excluded from the bulk of traffic from search engines, greatly reducing the effectiveness of a web presence.
Once a professional, effective, and SEO-optimized web presence has been established, it is time to drive traffic to that site.
A website can be a component of an offline marketing campaign, and including messages in direct mail, television and radio advertisements directing customers to a website can be an effective way of motivating informational searches and generating leads.
Online advertisements can have the same effect.
Directory advertisements are common. Customers commonly use Internet directories that list local businesses with certain specialties to find businesses within a specific geographic area or within a specific industry.
Ensuring that your local business is a part of those directories is important, as competitors will almost certainly be on those sites.
Businesses can also receive publicity from other providers that provide an inside look at specific companies. Customers are routinely bombarded by advertisements talking about the product; advertisements about the company itself and the people behind it are somewhat less common.
By showing the people behind the company, the business can help tie the business to that particular community.
Additionally, documenting quality control procedures is one way to provide interested customers with confidence in the product’s quality.
Successful marketing campaigns require a multifaceted approach. Business owners and marketers must use a wide variety of different media in order to reach new markets, maintain brand awareness, and motivate additional purchase decisions.
The Internet is one such medium. While businesses will vary in their willingness to pay money for web marketing, modern businesses should have professional and SEO-optimized websites.
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