Ok, maybe it’s not the advice that your mother gave you, but when it comes to your firm’s Web site, be a slut! You've invested thousands of dollars to build a site, written dynamite copy, and made sure that the site’s press-friendly ... now make sure people have your number! Plaster your URL -- that's your Web site address for you real virgins -- everywhere, so it’s easy to find and wide-open to inspection. Playing the wallflower is not good for you, your clients, or the press members you’re trying to impress. Be smart: Put yourself forward and flaunt your goods for all to see. Quick and Dirty There are a few quick, easy marketing tactics that all of you should be using to give your Web site maximum exposure. Failing to take advantage of these simple ideas is not only a marketing no-no, it’s a downright party foul.
Spike your Collateral
You wouldn’t leave your house without your pants, nor would you send out a promotion without your phone number or address ... so why would you create any marketing piece without first putting your URL on it? Brochures, business cards, faxes, stationery -- every informational and promotional piece you create should bear your www. Every email sent by one of your staff members should contain a standard signature, spiked with -- you guessed it -- your URL. Savvy companies like Kraft and Budweiser are even tagging their TV commercials with their Web address. Link Me, Baby There are a lot of sites out there that are willing to link to you just for the asking. Treat free links like you’d treat a free drink; never turn one down, and always be on the lookout for more. Links provide a great new route to your site, as well as helping to increase your ranking in some search engines. When you’re hunting around for linking partners, concentrate on market niches that make sense to link to you. For example, GoBiz America provides a great free profile for start-ups in selected local markets, while PR Place has a comprehensive directory for the PR niche.
Longer and Harder Cheap and free promotional avenues are great, but sometimes you have to go to greater lengths to make yourself available.
When someone tries to find your site in a search engine, is the search like a pat-down or more of a full-body-cavity affair? If it’s the latter, buddy, you’ve got problems. Search engines are still the way the majority of surfers find Web sites, so if you’re not a well listed in the top 20 engines, it’s too hard to find you. Search engine registration was once a relatively cost-free method of promoting your site. However, as more and more engines to go to a pay-for-placement model, it’s now something that you’ll have to make room for in your marketing budget. Unfortunately, unless you have someone on staff who is already trained in this area, learning the intricacies of search engine optimization can give you a headache faster than a Long Island iced tea. Luckily, there are trained search engine gurus out there, such as the babes at iKnowledge Consultants, who can get your site listed for a very reasonable price. More Bang If you still aren’t getting enough bang out of your site, shell out some bucks for online advertising. More advertising options are developed daily by inventive Net folk, but consider the tried and true:
Often less costly than off-line campaigns, online ads may just be your ticket to flashing more people with your site. Online ads are more flexible than most off-line media, thanks to short lead times, and are great for driving traffic, because they link straight through to your site. Also, most online media is trackable in one way or another, which makes it easier to see the results of your investment.
- Banner ads Including banner ads in all shapes and sizes, interstitials or "pop-ups" (is that a new product you're offering, or are you just glad to see me?), and "highlighted links" in some search engines.
- Newsletter sponsorships Including many creative variations, from a simple text link to a full graphic similar to a banner, sponsorships are great way to communicate with tightly targeted audiences.
- Paid online directories Including options for nearly every niche imaginable, paid directories are usually worth every penny.
- Keyword campaigns Including pay-per-click or pay-per-impression campaigns available on many search engines, your ad or listing appears any time someone types the keywords or phrases you selected into the search engine.
- Email Including any email contacts to home-grown lists or rented lists, email is arguably the most effective marketing tactic available, being flexible, extremely targeted, and relatively cheap.
Whether you do it quick and dirty, longer and harder, or any combination in between, go ahead, put your site out. Trust us, you’ll still be smiling in the morning.