Increase Your Web Presence: Nine Do’s and Don’ts For All Time

These simple recommendations will help your organization gain control or boost your digital marketing efforts.

1. Do track and monitor visitor behavior.

Studying your Web site visitor’s behaviors will enable you to determine what on the web site works in order to have visitors meet the objectives of your web site. Analyzing your web statistics on a regular basis will give you a better understanding of how to enhance or improve your site. Information such as referring keywords and referring sites can lead to opportunities that will increase your online presence. If you’re unsure how to get started, we recommend talking to your hosting provider to see what Web statistics tracking comes with your account, or use free analytics tools such as Google Analytics or AWStats, No site should be without these, and it is vital to your success online.

2. Do set online goals and objectives for your company or organization.

Ask yourself what goals you want to achieve for your company. It could be increasing sales leads, revenue, awareness, online visibility or trial downloads. Objectives for your company can be as simple as increasing more eyeballs to a specific page on your site, downloading a whitepaper, or making sure visitors can easily navigate their way through your sales process. If you don’t set goals or have an understanding of what your objectives are, your Web site is merely a glorified marketing brochure. Make your Web site accountable and put it to work for your business.

3. Don’t build a new Web site without first understanding what was working and what was not on the existing site.

Before you write that big check for a new site, it may be a good idea to understand the successes and failures of your present site. If your site isn’t performing how you would like, it may just need some improvements and clear paths to goals. If you’ve got an idea that your site should be entirely video, hot pink, or you want to add a multitude of new features, ask why and then ask if these new elements are appropriate for your audience and their needs? Assess your current site and your competitors’ sites. Review your site stats, conversion paths (are visitors having trouble accomplishing tasks or accessing pertinent information), talk with current staff and clients to get a better understanding of how to improve your site.

4. Do build and nurture your customer database. In a down economy, the old adage of “it is less expensive to keep a customer than find a new one” was never more accurate.

Repeat customers are often overlooked while advertising dollars are spent on obtaining new ones. Start at home. Customers who have previously bought from you are saying “We like you.” So why are you ignoring them? Learn about who they are, what they like, and how they like to be communicated with. Learning the reasons why customers continue to work with you can help direct your new customer acquisition strategies. Don’t underestimate the value of a testimonial from a repeat or long-time customer.

5. Do listen and talk to your customers. Your customer is your biggest asset. They will tell you what is working and what isn’t. See #4.

The customer IS always right. This saying has evolved to mean more than just the obvious. Who else is going to tell you where your company is falling short? Certainly not the folks who work for you. Your customers care about you – they do – but they need caring back. Your customer is your biggest asset. They will tell you what they need, how to market to them, where to market to them, and what they like and dislike about your products or services. If you are not willing to listen, plan on having a large advertising budget that continues to attract one-time business. When it comes to your Web site, you may have no trouble navigating because you use it everyday. What about a first-time user? Understanding the obstacles visitors face when visiting your site and addressing them can lead to a higher percentage of repeat business. A pleasant customer experience is worth a thousand words (or more business).

6. Don’t take email marketing for granted – it cannot be commoditized. Put the elbow grease into targeted and personalized email marketing. Track, test and analyze.

Sure, how hard can it be? You send email every day. Email is more than just hitting the send button. Segmenting your customer lists to market directly to their preferences can serve as your number one revenue generator. It seems like a daunting task, but you’ve got to start somewhere. How effective is your email marketing software? If your message is getting to only 80 percent of the folks on your list, that is 20 percent of revenue you may be missing. Make sure your email service provider has relationships with the appropriate ISP to ensure a high deliverability rate. Monitor your email results to understand how visitors are reacting to your messaging – from subject line to layout to copy. Utilize professional email solutions in conjunction with a quality web analytics package to remarket directly to them.

7. Do start a paid-search campaign or continue with one. This is still the most cost-effective advertising medium today. Knowledge gained can be used in other online and offline initiatives.

Paid search (such as Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN adCenter), can get you quick results and visibility within search engines. Statistics show that 20 percent of search engine users click on sponsored listings. You may garner sales from terms that you have no reasonable shot of generating non-paid traffic from. Furthermore, it is believed that visitors from paid listings are generally further along in the buying process, whereas organic visitors are most often gathering information.

8. Do start a blog. But have a plan, and know why and what you want to say.

Blogs are a great way to drive traffic and increase your online presence. But they don’t run themselves. Blogs need to be managed and maintained consistently to prove value. The biggest struggle is finding something valuable to say, especially when thousands of new blogs are created every day. Make sure you are offering something of interest to your target audience. Put yourself through a Q&A to discover your strengths, key areas of expertise, and most frequently asked questions from clients to get ideas on what to post and how you can provide value to your audience on an ongoing basis. Be prepared for negative comments and remember that a blog is not a surefire route to success. It takes hardwork and dedication.

9. Don’t buy blindly into the hype of social media. First understand what your goals are online and understand that social media equals managed media.

Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are merely tools in the toolbox. You can’t build a house with only a hammer and that is the same situation with your brand and your visibility online. Social networking for marketing purposes requires an organization to implement labor, management and planning. If there is no one there to manage or build the relationship, your efforts will fall flat. A clear focus, understanding of your audience, and reasonable expectations will save a lot of money and frustration in the long run.