Your Strongest Marketing Asset

Today, a corporate web site is one of the most important marketing tools a small business has; and for many it is just as essential as having a phone number or business cards. Typically, companies rely on a variety of marketing “assets” like e-mailing lists, customer databases, and marketing materials to help them promote and build their businesses. But of all the marketing assets a business may have, its web site can be the strongest marketing asset of all, especially when it is part of a strategic, coordinated marketing plan.A web site often includes the elements found in a marketing plan; from lead generation to advertising to online payments to customer service. With Web 2.0 interactivity now commonplace, companies can also add video, news feeds, online tutorials, and social networking integration to their sites to further extend the site’s capability and meet their customers’ ever-changing needs and expectations.An Online AdvantageHere are 7 reasons your web site could (or should!) be the strongest marketing asset available to your small business today:1. Everything is in one place – web forms for lead capture, company videos, industry news feeds, links to resources and partners, online tutorials, customer service, events calendar, photo gallery, testimonials, marketing materials, etc., can all be included on your site.2. Integrates with other marketing – direct mail campaigns can reference online coupons or downloads on your site, email campaigns can lead to targeted landing pages, opt-in subscriptions can help build marketing email lists, social networking strategies can be integrated with the web site, etc.3. Builds credibility with users – an outdated, unattractive web site sends all the wrong messages to your visitors, but an updated, user-friendly site is an asset that and can instantly make you more credible and trustworthy, regardless of the size of your business.4. Results can be tracked and measured – by using web analytics tools, you can track visitors, conversions, search engine terms and keywords, entry and exit pages, traffic stats, and a multitude of additional information.5. Information can be changed and updated – unlike printed materials where you have to order hundreds (or thousands) of brochures or postcards that may quickly become outdated, your web site can be changed whenever information changes.6. Local reach, global reach – and everything in-between. Depending on how you optimize and promote your site, you can target customers regardless of geographic location.7. Works for you 24/7 – your site is available for visitors to do research or purchase products and services at their own convenience, at any time, regardless of your business hours.Show It Off!If you are not currently using your web site as a marketing asset for your business, here are some tips to help you combine your site with your overall marketing strategy:* Showcase your advertising and marketing online; e.g., re-use commercials, radio spots, print advertisements, coupons, flyers, etc., on your web site to extend their reach beyond initial audiences, and also stretch your investment at the same time.
* Include your web address on everything – advertisements, business cards, vehicle lettering, name badges, logos, printed materials, etc., to drive traffic to your web site and help build your brand.
* Update your web site on a regular basis – do something at least monthly to update the information, add new content, improve search engine positions, promote the site, build inbound links, etc. A stale, outdated site is not useful to your visitors, and is not much of an asset to your business, either.
* Take it seriously! Consumers today are already online, and every touch point where you intersect with your customers and potential customers should ultimately lead them back to a great user experience on your web site!