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THE FOUR PILLARS OF WEB MARKETING

I know, the Four Pillars sounds too formal. However, the Four Principles sounded too derivative, the Four Marx Brothers sounded too silly, and the Four Horsemen sounded too…final . If I come up with a better metaphor I’ll let you know. In the meantime, let’s talk about Web marketing.

Your Web site is a powerful marketing tool for your business, practice or association. It’s your marketing hub–where your online and offline marketing endeavors come together.

However, it needs your help; you need to continually market your Web site so that it can continue to build your business. At flyte, we talk about the four pillars of Web marketing.

Search Engines and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

Every day, more Web sites come on line–that means more competition for your site at search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN Search.

However, your current Web site does have some advantages over these newcomers. It’s believed that Google penalizes new sites (estimates range from 6 – 9 months) as a way of limiting search engine spam. Plus, more established sites tend to have more incoming links , giving them a boost in the search engine rankings.

Does your site still have that new car smell? Then you might consider PPC as a way of coming up on page one of your favorite search engines. You can bid on different keywords; bid high enough and your text ad will show up in the sponsored listings for that search. You only pay when someone actually clicks on you, not when your ad is shown. However, you should be aware of the growing problem of click-fraud.

To drive qualified traffic to your Web site, search engines can’t be ignored. High-quality, focused content and incoming links from directories and other Web sites will always give you a leg up on the competition.

Email Marketing

“Um, I’m-I’m not quite dead, sir,” sweet, brave Concorde tells Lancelot in the Holy Grail. And either is email marketing. Yes, email filters and a deluge of unsolicited commercial email have weakened its power, but email marketing is still a great tool to continue the relationship started on your Web site .

Not every visitor is ready to make a buying decision when they’re at your site. Getting them to subscribe to your email newsletter is like assuming the shape of a puppy dog and following them home. Sort of. Well, maybe it’s more like delivering a brand new page of your Web site directly into their email inbox.

First entice visitors to subscribe by including a free report or giveaway, then provide information and/or products targeted to your audience on a regular basis. This way you’ll continually grow your subscriber base…and your marketing reach.

Business Blogs

Ahhh…now we come to my personal favorite. Business blogs allow you to publish fresh content on a regular basis , without the help of a Web jockey (read: someone like me.) Search engines love them, buzz marketers love them, and I love them. What else do you need?

Blogs have become so popular that they have created a new type of search engine, specifically for blogs, that consider the “freshness” of the post when ranking it.

Blogs allow you to have honest, authentic communications with your prospects and customers and encourage their feedback. Recent studies have shown that people who read blogs come from wealthier households, spend more time on the Internet, and are more likely to make purchases online.

While they don’t require a lot of money, they do require time, commitment and passion. If you, or someone in your company has those three characteristics, you can use a blog to drive traffic to your Web site, or make the sale itself.

Viral Marketing

Also known as peer marketing or word-of-mouth. As advertising and marketing become more sophisticated and more ubiquitous, people rely more and more on the advice of friends and family. By allowing someone to “share this page,” “recommend this site,” or “link to this page” while on your site, you can make it easier on them to spread good word-of-mouth about your company.

Even something as simple as printer friendly pages can encourage someone to post part of your Web site on a company bulletin board, or bring it home to show a family member–thus increasing your reach.

In Conclusion

Although any one of these marketing pillars (tenets? tent poles? idioms, sir?) can help drive traffic to your Web site, using a combination of several or all of them will create the biggest impact for your company or organization . The more sticks in the fire, the more toasty marshmallows you can eat.

Also, consider traditional marketing such as advertising, press releases and speaking opportunities to further extend your marketing reach.

If you’re interested in search engine optimization, email marketing, business blogs or viral marketing, please contact flyte new media.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

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