When it comes to using the Internet as a marketing tool, the objective is to maximize your exposure while minimizing costs. But developing a useful online presence isn't as hard as it may seem.
Here are the 5 most important things you should do to maximize your online presence:
1. Represent your brand
Your web site should represent you or your company. Images must be sharp, navigation intuitive. Everything about your site -- right down to the colors and fonts -- must invoke specific feelings and demonstrate certain characteristics about your business. For example; a luxury car manufacturer must make their site elegant, beautiful, and flawless. A technology firm must make their site appear high-tech, modern, and functional. Because this is what they represent, it is what their clients want to see.
2. Know your target audience
To leverage your investment in an online solution, you need to ask yourself some questions: Are you selling services, products, or both? Who is your audience? New prospects, existing customers, or both? How comfortable are they with technology? What do they really need from you? What new services does the Web make possible that would benefit your customers? How are you doing a good job of serving them now? Where are you failing? What is your competition doing in this area? Why is your service or product better than your competition?
3. Put your customer's needs first
The bottom line is your customers needs. Nothing else matters. If their needs aren't met, they will take their business to someone else. Make it easy for your customers to get what they need from your web site. This means posting information about your industry in general and about your products, services, procedures, and policies in particular. It may be helpful to "layer" information so that a few clicks take the visitor from overviews to in-depth specifications. A well-designed online solution will help you meet your customer's needs along the entire sales cycle.
4. Complement your existing promotional materials
Your site should be congruent with your existing advertising and marketing materials. To do otherwise invites confusion and reduces the impact of your online presence. Make sure that you incorporate the key elements of your visual identity into your web site. Behavioral experts suggest that a person needs to see your brand name nine times before you are familiar enough to do business with. Maximize your branding effect by using similar fonts, logos, and colors online.
5. Communicate your unique selling position effectively
What is the primary benefit your business offers that differentiates you from your competition? That benefit should be the focus of most of your marketing communications, and will be key in developing an attractive and informative web site you can leverage to your competitive advantage.