“If you build it, they will come! *” — But how can you be sure?
You built your website with the expectation that people will use it. That’s obvious, right? — But have you thought about how you will make people aware that your site exists?
Too many small businesses overlook the importance of having a strategy to promote their website. To me, that seems to be like keeping your best salesperson off showroom floor. Or like having a big sale but not advertising it.
You should think about promoting your website just like you promote your products. Or your services. You should be doing that both online and offline. For this post, I’ll focus on suggestions for promoting your website using offline methods.
1 – First of all, you need to get your employees on board. Remind them to tell customers about the website.
Caveat: Your employees can’t really promote the website if they are not familiar with it. Encourage them to get familiar with the website. Make them aware of additions and changes when they occur. Ask for their suggestions for content that might help them do their job, support sales, and provide customer support.
Examples: “We want to use our website to support your sales efforts. It might help to show your prospects where to go on the site for answers to frequently asked questions. It also has charts comparing some our service packages. This information will help them to decide on the available options. This might save you (and them) time when they come in to our showroom.”
2 – Tell customers about it. And give them specific reasons to use the website.
- “Our website, (give the web address), has more information about this product including how to use it. And, if you’re interested in special offers, you can sign up on the site to get notified of monthly promotions.”
- “Our catering packages are posted on our website. There’s also a list you can download with vendors who rent tables, chairs, and room decor for your event.”
3 – Link to your website in your email. Link to the specific page(s) on your website that are most relevant to your recipients concerns.
- If you are corresponding with a customer who you need to establish trust with, add a link to your testimonials and endorsements pages. Or to your pages that include information on your customer service and satisfaction policies. With the link, say something like, “Read what our clients have to say about us our customer service and support here.” Or, “Our company has been dedicated to serving this market for over 30 years. Read about our company history innovative developments here.”
- And don’t forget to add your web address to your email signature line.
4 – Generate interest with promotional items imprinted with your branding and web address.
- Depending on your type of business, an appropriate little giveaway with your name and web link on it can go a long way. Items that sit on their desk every day or something that comes in handy in the kitchen can be a daily reminder that keeps your business (and website) top-of-mind.
- Think about how they will access your website. Will it be from their desk? Their cell phone? In the car? Consider mouse pads, screen cleaners, cell phone holders. There are literally thousands of products to fit your objectives, target audience, and budget. So it’s best to consult with experienced promotional marketing specialist like Visibles Marketing.
5 – Take advantage of printed marketing and communication materials.
- In catalogs and price sheets, put your web address on the front and back cover and in the footer of every page. Consider printing a brochure showing the website and how to navigate to the content needed most. A brightly colored sticker on an envelope, catalog cover, or shipping label will draw attention. For restaurants, your web address should be featured prominently on dine-in and carry-out menus. Also for restaurants and retail businesses, table tent cards or counter cards are a good place to promote the website.
- Put your web information on your stationery letterheads, business cards, and other print materials.
6 – Use direct mail to reach people at home or work.
A postcard or letter announcing and describing your website is a low-tech, but effective, way to give it some added importance.
7 – Use signage for high visibility.
- Consider whether something temporary or long-term is needed — banners, decals, magnetic signs, bumper stickers, permanent signs
- Signs can be used for vehicles, in-store, on office walls, or even as floor mats.
- Vinyl signs can go on doors, windshields, or above your business hours sign. Table tents work well as small signs in your restaurant and at the checkout counter.
The point is that you should not assume that your customers know about your website. Or that, even if they do, they will access it. TELL them about it and make sure that the website has the content that will give them the information they seek. If you want to see results from your website investment, it helps tremendously to generate awareness, interest, and even some excitement.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind if you’ve already had a website for some time. If your previous website was not useful, up-to-date, or easy to use they may have checked it before but given up on it. They’re not likely to check it again without knowing that your website is now new and improved — and how they will find it much more worth their time to start using it again.