How to Market your Business Online

Once you’ve established that potential customers are searching for your products and services online, you can start thinking about an internet marketing strategy.

The principles of internet marketing assume that your website should be the central focus of your business marketing activity and that all other marketing activity should drive potential clients to your website.

But, it’s important use your common sense – if you’re a business that can only service local customers eg. town centre sandwich shop, then you’ll only want to attract local visitors to your website.

As the above example illustrates, internet marketing is like any other promotional strategy – it must be targeted, measurable and professional. It’s a process that takes hard work, time and sustained effort.

How search engines ‘find’ your website

Search engines use an algorithm (in Google’s case a closely guarded secret) that takes a snapshot of your website and compares it to the search request. In simple terms the algorithm is based on two main areas:

  • Your website’s content
  • The links to and from your website to other sites

Google assesses your website and builds its own keyword list based on what it sees (the words) on your site.

Get the basics right

Before you even contemplate an internet marketing campaign, make sure that your website is capable of converting browsers into customers.

As a test, use Google to search for your own products or services and take a good look at the top ten websites that appear in the results – these are competing for the browser’s attention. How does your website compare to their website? Remember, it’s in your interests to be honest with yourself.

1. Design:

Your website should look professional, be easy to navigate, clearly identify what your business does and include a call to action (i.e. ‘call today’ / ‘buy now’) that converts interest into enquiries and sales.

2. Keywords:

Refine and confirm your keywords and keyword phrases – the words that potential customers will probably use when searching online for your products and services (see Fact Sheet 2 for more about generating keywords).

3. Text:

As Google and other search engines interrogate your site for particular keywords, it’s important that you litter your site with the words and phrases that people are using to search for your products. See below for more about SEO copywriting.

It’s generally accepted that your website will need refreshing or redesigning every 2-3 years to make sure that it remains up to date with your business, industry and the latest technology. For instance, any website using Flash elements needs to be re-designed as iPhone and iPad users can’t see Flash in their browser.