In 2005 I personally spoke of a website in terms of its information value to drive footfall to any given establishment with the intent of then ‘doing business’. Our nation’s customers were mostly interested in how their sites ‘looked’: big, bright and bold was good and everyone wanted images – the more, the merrier. Customers wanted their businesses to sound good too, perhaps sometimes, taking ‘little liberties’ in how they represented themselves to the unknowing public. I, like most of the nation, believed that a website presence was all that was that was required to get results – no one really seemed that impressed with the idea of actually marketing online
In the time that I left the company, had a baby and returned, online marketing had swept across the nation. As more people begin using the internet more often for research and for shopping, businesses are having to change their marketing strategies, their budgets and their expectations to accommodate the importance of the internet to the way we find products and services today.
I’m currently talking to clients who had websites built three years ago or even just one year ago and this is what they’re saying:
- “I’m so glad you called. We’ve just had a Board meeting and xxxxx is our dedicated Internet Marketing person”.
- “I am just in the process of rewriting a whole new ‘flow chart’ for my site…”
- “We’ve only had a few enquiries but one of them is now worth £70K. I want to upgrade my site to get more enquiries”.
- “I have money to spend but I want to know what my return on investment will be…”
Businesses, big and small are getting hip to the importance of keeping their sites updated, interesting and functional, but more importantly, they understand why this is necessary. Google is dictating the rules (ever changing) for successful online marketing strategies.
Whether you have a simple brochure site, an e-commerce site, a 200-page dictionary site or a content management site, the following principles apply and should become as much a website MOT ‘habit’ as taking your car for its annual MOT.
- Review, renew and do regular content updates
- Change and recreate design and imagery
- Question continuously what you want your site to achieve
- Know your most unique selling points and tell your viewers
- Make sure your site is easy to look at and to use
- Seek professional help to update programming to incorporate basic SEO functions
- Discuss, agree and budget for professional online marketing services
- Don’t panic. Seek advice and become informed.
- Go to a Free Internet Marketing Seminar – I might be a bit biased but this is a good place to start: www.i-com.net/events.html