Websites are not like Field of Dreams

If your website is not producing it is not your fault. Blame Kevin Costner. Websites are not like “Field of Dreams”. Just because you built it does not mean “they will come”. A website is the single most powerful arrow in a quiver full of marketing weapons, but it will not do any good – no matter how creative or informative it is – if it cannot be found.

As a marketer, I often have the opportunity to discuss promotion ideas with clients. It still amazes me at how many otherwise intelligent business people do not see much value in their websites.

They promote their business in various ways sometimes spending serious money to purchase ads in traditional media but do not give a second thought to sending prospective customers to their website for more information. There are many effective and inexpensive ways to promote your website without ever being connected to the Internet.

A website can only be effective if the “webmaster” not only places relevant content on it, but also promotes it. I have compiled a quick list of things and places that a website should be listed offline, there are dozens if not hundreds more, feel free to post ideas of your own.

The first place your website should be promoted prominently is on any printed marketing material you have. i.e. your letterhead, business cards, flyers, brochures, catalogs, yellow page ads, etc. If you have company vehicles with marks on the vehicles, place your website URL proudly and boldly so it is easy to see. Get and use domain based email. Email from name@companyname.com is more powerful in building consumer confidence that your company is legitimate.

Don’t forget to place a link on your email address even if you have domain based email. Why? Many times your email correspondence will be forwarded to someone who is not familiar with you or your company. Placing a link to your website allows that person to visit your website even if your email address is not displayed when forwarded.

If you attend trade shows, make sure your booth has your URL listed and any handouts including promotional give-a-ways include your URL.
Mention that more information can be found on your website on any Radio advertising and include the URL in television marketing as well.

Magazines typically have a longer shelf life than many other forms of advertising. If you use magazine to advertise your company and you are not including the URL you have lost a great opportunity to speak to a prospective buyer in a much broader and effective way than to demand that they pick up the phone can call you.

If your website is not producing the results you expected, it is time to take a look at what is being communicated on and by your website and what you are doing to help drive traffic to your website. If you are not promoting your website every chance you get including at the end of an “elevator speech” you are missing opportunities to allow others to help you promote your business.