Web Marketing 101: A Review of the Basics
by Andrew Millar
The first question you may be asking yourself is “Why bother with the World Wide Web? (OK, OK, I’ll wait why the rest of you regain your composure after having laughed yourself right out of your chairs.) If you really do not know why you should use the internet to sell your products then Web Marketing 101: A Review of the Basics” is for you.
In the United States alone there are about two hundred and fifty million users of the web in as of 2012. How do I know that? I checked the web, just like everyone else does today when they want information. To ‘Google’ it has become a verb in the common lexicon. The internet has become such an integral part of the developed world that to ignore it is akin to preferring to stay with longhand when the printing press was developed.
So let’s say that you agree that you need a web presence. In fact you probably already have a website even though you may not be so sure what good it does for you. There really are two parts to a web presence in marketing: the website and marketing it.
Many is the business that’s gone belly-up because not enough customers arrived at its door. So let us agree that the marketing aspect of your website is critical to its success. But before we explore that we need also to agree that great business ideas fail when they are not well presented. The same can be said of websites.
3 Website Have-To’s
In order to keep your potential customer on your website you need a functional and attractive design backed up by programming technology that allows for ease of use and navigation from page to page. Browser technology changes all the time. Remember Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5? Its current browser is IE 10. If your site was built for IE 5, this latest version won’t open it. Like trying to open your hotel room door with a key from the 1980’s. It’s a perfectly good key but the lock is designed for a magnetic card strip. You have to keep current with programming technology for your website or your potential prospect will move on. The final ‘Have-To’ is visibility. This is intertwined with marketing and is the initial or foundational aspect of it.
By now practically everyone knows, or has heard the term, ‘search engine.’ They are specialized websites that index or catalog information by using ‘spiders’ to crawl through all the information posted on the world wide web. These spiders encounter on your website your description of the widgets that you make and sell. When Joe Prospect types into the search box ‘widgets for sale’, the link to your website is listed as an option for him to pursue. The caveat here is that all of your competition is also listed. The first page of Google (or Bing!, Yahoo, Ask, etc.) only holds ten listings. The challenge, therefore, is to get your website listed on that first page among what may be 30 pages if the search topic is popular. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the discipline of arranging for keywords that your prospect hunts with to be found by the search engines (or spiders). Google is the dominant player in this field and they have recently changed the algorithm or criteria by which they decide to list a site. Now they rely much more on websites to educate their users through blogging. Much like what I am doing now.
Once the prospect arrives at the site, you entertain and inform him with a blog and/or a call-to- action. By doing this you are sharing information of value for your prospect, building trust through a relationship and inviting them to discover more about your widgets with the purpose of matching your product or service with his needs. Pretty cool, eh? It’s called inbound marketing and it’s dependent on your prospect looking for you. By searching for your product, he is inviting a relationship. It is a cooperative sales process from the start and it marks a genuine revolution that puts the authority in the hands of the consumer.
This minimal Web Marketing 101: A Review of the Basics can get you started to think about how to effectively use your web presence but, remember, it begins with functional website design and contemporary programming.