A website is a must-have for all businesses

If anyone wants to find you, the first place they look is online. If you don’t have a presence, you won’t be found. Google is the new yellow pages, so don’t underestimate the value of a website to your business.1  Plus, if Cisco’s estimate was correct about their forecast for 2021, annual global IP traffic will reach 3.3 ZB per year, smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic, and the number of devices connected to IP networks will be three times as high as the global population.2  So where do you want your business to be?  Online.

Think about your website strategically

Your website can meet multiple needs depending upon your interests or business model.  How? A website:

  • Establishes your brand
  • Educates your target audience about your products, services, company management, career openings, value proposition, etc.
  • Facilitates advertising, customer communications, and social media to increase awareness for your offerings
  • Generates leads, helping prospects find information and turn their interest into a sale
  • Enables partners to showcase a joint solution or show their support for your offering(s)
  • Provides a mechanism for purchasing and product delivery
  • Nurtures on-going customer relationships through customer service, professional services, and technical support.

Set objectives and develop a plan

As with any marketing program or deliverable, setting objectives is important. You may want to go further by creating a marketing plan for your website that not only outlines goals and objectives clearly, but describes the features you want to incorporate, the expected time frame for execution, marketing campaigns envisioned, tactics to be used for building traffic, partners who can help increase your awareness, methods you’ll rely on to keep traffic returning, a maintenance plan, and much more.  Ryan Taft’s article on “How to Write a Marketing Plan for Your Website” has more ideas on issues to consider before embarking on creating your website.  The more you can anticipate and plan for, the more prepared you’ll be to take advantage of market opportunities and minimize risks moving ahead.

Launch your site

Once your website is optimized, the fun begins. Use multiple communication vehicles to get the word out about your new website.  Use outbound marketing techniques like direct mail and email or advertising and PR to promote your offering.  With your website up and going, you now have an instant ability to extend your reach, providing information at all hours of the day, 7 days a week, via your prospect’s desktop or mobile device.

Tips!

  1. Develop a web design plan to ensure your navigation makes sense, the features you desire are included, and it can be maintained easily moving ahead.
  2. Follow basic principles so that your website is easy-to-use, entices people to stay, and encourages them to tell others about it.
  3. Don’t forget SEO, also known as search engine optimization; this helps potential customers find you.

Promotion is key

Once you share the news with prospects, continue to promote your website with search engine marketing (SEM) tactics – such as online paid ad placements, contextual advertising, or online sponsor/partner marketing efforts  – to gain and improve website traffic to your site.  From there, you can work on keeping website visitors interested and converting their interest into sales opportunities or customer engagements depending upon your objectives.

Maintenance is vital

Expect to add articles, update features, maintain security, and implement marketing activities to promote your business such as creating and running promotion campaigns or online events to educate users on your latest offerings.  Search engines like fresh content and users need reasons to come back.  If your website isn’t safe or the content never changes, visitors won’t return.  Don’t disappoint them.

Sources:
1 “120 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts & Graphs.” HubSpot, Inc., accessed July 30, 2019, http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/53/blog/docs/ebooks/120-marketing-stats-charts-and-graphs.pdf.
2 “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology,2016 -2021.” Cisco Systems, Inc., last modified June 6, 2017, https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.pdf.