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What I am trying to find out is what is the most important aspect of marketing a website. I am going to be teaching a workshop at a university later this month and I want to get some opinions of what you all think is the most important facet of marketing a website on the internet.
I know that there are hundreds of different answers depending on the site, product, budget, etc. I am looking for some simple general ideas that could apply to a wide range of projects.
I guess I will go first:
For me the most important factor I can think of would be ROI. If I make more money than I spend and can maximize that I think the site will be successful.
Any other thoughts?
After all, the ROI, and every other benefit, relies on people seeing the website. Getting sites into the paths of 'qualified' surfers I would put first and getting them to see/read what the site has to offer must come second.
Excellent question my good Doctor.....:) I was thinking of giving a kamikazi chat on SEyouknowwhat at the local computer club (biggest in europe at one time I'm told) hoping to pick up the odd contract ;)
(edited by: oilman at 3:28 am (utc) on May 11, 2002)
I agree. My whole philosophy has been to build somewhat generalized traffic first, then see what I can do with it... ways to refine or drill down to my target audience. I'd add that, if at all possible, the developer needs to think of how to make the site viral or at least recommendable as a resource. If you can just manage to get even only the edge of that it can pay off incredibly well -particularly in these days of .15 CPC.
My father, who spent his full career as a reference librarian in Chicago, said that Field's original statement was slightly different. It was then transformed by the marketing execs of the day into a slogan.
Supposedly, Field's original statement was "The customer is always right, but you have to have the right customers."
This turns what seems an unconditional fawning on the consumer into a savvy awareness of your market and its needs.
In web-land this means that more traffic isn't necessarily right, unless it's targeted traffic. More traffic does not always equal better traffic.
Another thing, cost per user. You definetely want to go into great detail about that before you even talk about PPC or ROI :).
Also, alot of perspective when talking about your site....like how you intend your site to co-exist in a particular niche ( then suck up all the traffic in that niche :)
I have to do a 10 minute presentation at college, maybe I can talk about this, and all the scandals, trials and tribulations of the SE and marketing world online :)
I suppose ROI could be defined as a great many things, depending on what your site's purpose is: a commerce site would want to see profits that outweigh their expenses, and would be best off with highly-targeted, easily converted traffic, even if they didn't have tens of thousands of vistors per month. For some high-end, specialized businesses, fewer than a dozen sales per year might be an excellent ROI for their site. A non-profit organization, OTOH might be primarily interested in as many pageviews as possible, to "get the word out" about their cause or organization.
Decide what the goal/intent of your website is first, and then make sure your results justify your investment.
Who is it that wants what you have to offer? For me that's the key.
Before ROI I have to get the right guy through the door and to do that I need to know who that visitor is. Once I know them, really know them - then I can offer them an environment that works for them. When I first meet with a client the biggest essay I want from them is in essence if not in fact, the 250-500 word report on “Who is your ideal visitor?” That leads me to the keywords and the little extras each site needs to make it unique. That leads me to the layout and the content. That helps me determine what it is about the visitor that I need to know and then do > to convert.
Yep, it’s Know thy Visitor!
Position Position Position
The Web is perhaps the most powerful international niche marketing vehicle ever, beating print based trade and specialist magazines advertising and directories for value, and often international reach.
All the methods that marketers have tried to use that assumed erroneously that the Web is a mass marketing medium have died out or in their twilight - general banner ads served from third parties, generalist portals, mass emailing. Niche methods are finally getting the success they always had the potential for - vortals, relevance-based SERPS, relevant linking, relevance based PPC, tight spcialised content on web sites,. etc.
To me that means - how should you go about getting people to see your web site - marketing.
What happens when they get there is another question. Equally as important, but, IMHO, it is second in the pecking order.
If no-one comes to the show it don't matter what the show was like, except for the performer.
Woz, I'm with you.
People sometimes forget that the 'net is basically just an information medium and good marketing is at the core of success. Good basic marketing, and market research should be the first step.
Next would be ROI, however it is arrived upon - SEO investment in ranking, content, email campaigns, affiliate programs, graphics whatever. Some cases will be different... Maybe a community drives the best and most convertible traffic, maybe a two page sales letter site, maybe a huge Overture account. I believe it would require testing, on each individual case.
I agree with B_of_L regarding branding, but the absolute NET effect needs to be ROI. Perhaps a long term ROI based on increased branding, but ROI nonetheless. Test and measure everything
As Claude Hopkins (Scientific Advertising) said:
"Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly, and finally by use of a test campaign.... Go to the court of last resort. The buyers of your product."
"Whatever works best" is next in line after selling something ENOUGH people want.
Don't mean to go on, but I've just had 12 hours of power cuts 'cos of torrential rain and I gotta let it out someplace, and I'd rather be with friends when I do. Sorry :) and thanx
1) Site Creation: What is your Point-of-Difference(POD)? No POD, STOP! Go no further!
2)Position. Site has to be found in first 3 pages of a search. Get listed in the RIGHT spots as much as possible.
3) Site: MUST be (Easy to Nav, Have Good Content and have the Correct message to product (from user point of view)).
4) Understand competition. What they're doing, and how does it effect you.
5) A dash of Good Luck (ok ok, more like a small pale)
6) Low on fluff.
That order and I believe you'll have a good success position. ROI falls into play.
From this we can derive a "niche" from this niche will drive the content.
In my opinion "Content is King". Second to this would be ease of use and navigabiltiy.
Everything else will fall in place.
Traffic and content are not ROI but needed to get your return.
So traffic and content are part of overhead as are the products sold. They must all be figure into the cost of goods sold.
To succeed one must be able to classify and measure each of these. Traffic MUST be able to be tracked to sales. Email 123 produced x amount of sales. Paid placement at SE xyz produced y results.
Content abc cost x dollars and was viewed by y number of people that bought so much.
Webmasters usually balk at the monetizing of traffic and content. Often that is why their contribution to the bottom line is not well understood or properly valued.
In all businesses not just ecommerce sites success is just not running out of money. No matter how good a product or site it must earn more than it spends or face bankruptcy.
I would have to say traditional marketing! And NETWORKING!! Come on lets face it if we don’t toot our own horn we can’t expect Google or something automated to do it for us right?
This topic is so overlooked anymore. So many of my site contacts come from people I spoke with, handed a card, consulted in short… So here I go with some of the things I do.
Snail mail still rules all! People get enough spam in their e-mailbox. Holiday cards, and “Just Checking in” type kind of cards work great also because it give the clients or potential customers the feeling that you keep them in mind also known as the “Warm Fuzzy”. Invite customers to fill out “How are we doing” surveys… This is a great reminder about their working experience with you which keeps your business fresh in mind for possible referrals.
Finally, be an active member in your community such as: Sponsor a local little league softball team (pizza party, uniforms, trophy (even if they come in last), etc…) Lions club, sponsor a highway, lead a community clean up project. You get the picture.
1.) Ask everybody – friends, colleagues, suppliers, clients for referrals.
2.) Ask people who are pleased with you services to talk to others people about it.
3.) Always keep your brochures, samples, or presentation book with you.
4.) Offer a special price or special services to people in your buzz network.
5.) Keep track of the people who send you referrals and of how those referrals turn out.
6.) Set specific goals for meeting specific people.
7.) Write and practice a short introduction to use when you meet a new group or customer.
8.) Volunteer for service-group assignments.
Don’t misunderstand me, the web is great and can provide a lot of business on its own…(umm well in some cases). But if you are an IP of any kind you will know that physical marketing rules all! People believe in people and they still like to exchange business the old traditional way… Sign the contract, actually hand you the money, and know that you will show up in their office to provide the materials. If you doing the work long distance, try to close the gap the best you can!
I haven't heard "budgeting for ongoing maintenance", so I'll add that answer to the great replies we've had so far. A small firm, especially, needs to develop its Website budget with ongoing maintenance/editing accounted for. The maintenance could be putting up seasonal products (if ecommerce), updating graphic design, adding content (however that's defined for the site purpose) on a regular basis, and --of course-- ongoing SEO. I think it's realistic to increase the projected site development cost by 30-50% to account for the first year's maintenance. For example, if the site cost $2,000 to "get off the ground", then budget at least $600 to $1,000 additionally for the first year's maintenance.
Good luck with the course, DrCool!