Today, small businesses understand that they need a Web site. However, often their goals extend only to “having” a Web site, so they don’t ever realize the considerable revenue benefits that a Web site can bring. Using a Web site as the hub of your marketing strategy is the best advertising investment that you can make. Here’s why.
Traditional advertising can be called “interruption advertising.” For example someone is reading a newspaper, and you pay to put an ad near an article that’s being read, in hopes of attracting the reader’s attention, interrupting what she actually wants to do. On radio and television, it’s the same thing–but there, you actually interrupt the program in hopes that the viewer or listener will pay attention to your interruption.
If you purchase a mailer such as a postcard or an add in a mailer for several companies, you’re paying to buy a lot of paper–thousands of pieces of paper–and lots of ink, to print your ad on the paper. And lots to distribute this printed material, again in hopes that someone who happens to be interested happens to see your ad at the right moment.
All of this is expensive per person who is reached, which you well know if you’ve priced even a small ad in a newspaper. You’re buying a lot of paper and a lot of ink and a lot of delivery in hopes of reaching someone who’s interested.
Promotion on the Web, particularly through search engines, is fundamentally different from interruption advertising. Someone who is looking for your product or service does a Web search as part of their seeking someone to meet their needs. What we seek to do with search marketing is to make that connection between the person who wants what you offer and your offering on your Web site.
For example, if you’re using pay-per-click advertising, your ads will appear on the right side of a Google search result. The people who see those ads will be searchers who’ve entered a term that you’ve (carefully!) chosen, that indicates an interest in what you provide. If they click on your ad, then they’ve shown their interest twice–once in the search, and then again, after reading your ad, and clicking. You pay only when they click on your ad and reach your site. So your payment is to present your site to someone who is actively looking for what you’re offering.
The work you do to rank well in search engines is also “inbound advertising”–you’re trying to appear on page one or page two of Google search results for the products or services that you offer. This, too, is worth time and effort, and investment, because you’re seeking to present your case to people who are actively looking for what you offer.
Often small businesses don’t want to write a regular newsletter. It’s work!…and everyone is busy. But a newsletter signup on your site is a way for someone to say “Please remind me that you’re around.” They’ve been to your site and for some reason this isn’t the time to buy. But they’d like to be reminded! So don’t throw away that visit–that you’ve worked and paid to get. Instead, use it to start building a relationship through your newsletter.
The Bottom Line
Don’t just “have” your Web site. Make it work for you; it’s the most effective, least costly form of promotion available to you.