A friend of mine had a job selling ad space for a local newspaper. He once sold a tiny ad to a delicatessen owner in a suburban shopping mall. The deli man put on extra staff the day the ad came out to cope with all the extra customers… who never showed.
It may have been because the ad was a dud. But it’s more likely that one tiny ad simply isn’t enough to build sales. The deli man didn’t know what all successful marketers know. As Jay Conrad Levinson so clearly explained in Guerrilla Marketing, “marketing is a process and not an event”.
Many business owners I talk have an “event” mindset when it comes to the web. They believe a website is a marketing silver bullet. They think all they have to do is get the site on the Web and the phone will start ringing and the orders pouring in. Unfortunately that rarely happens.
Getting the site built is just the beginning. You need to generate targeted traffic by search engine optimisation and/or marketing and offline promotion, you need to ensure you provide the right information to convert that traffic, you need to ensure you have sufficient functionality to satisfy customer needs, and you need to track performance and ROI.
Some prospects aren’t ready to buy right now or need warming up before they’ll convert. So you may need some stay-in-touch marketing, such as e-newsletters, email mini-courses, and downloadable reports or white papers. And you’ll need to update the content from time to time to keep the site looking fresh.
Your website is not an event. Think of it as a work in progress. Consider how your website can benefit your organisation over the long run. Make a wish list of the things you’d have on your ideal website. You may not have the resources or budget to do them all now, but you can build your site up over time.
Review your site’s content regularly. Ask for customer input and feedback on your site. What do people like/dislike? What would they like to see on your website? Fine tune your site to incorporate the best features of competitors’ sites and other sites you like.
If you do this your site will be more successful than the vast majority of business sites on the web. Slowly but surely you’ll transform your do-nothing site into a revenue generating asset.