Internet Communication Tips & Tricks For MTs
In the last issue we talked about local ISPs, how to surf the web and
about e-mail. This time we will talk about the basics of a website and
how to get started.
September 30, 2009 By Max Fanderl
In the last issue we talked about local ISPs, how to surf the web and about e-mail. This time we will talk about the basics of a website and how to get started.
Overall, most websites we evaluate do not perform as they should – or as their company/owner would like them to. Most of the time companies forget that a website is a part of their overall communication strategy. If you are not sure how your website should fit into your communication strategy, likely your website will end up as an “Online Business Card” and will not create the wanted business.
If you are going to stick with an “Online Business Card” style website, I would recommend at least subscribing to an MT listing site. This way others can see that you and your website exists. Listing sites can be through your own association or specialized MT listings sites such as www.MassageRegister.com.
Before you start to create your website, you need to register your own domain name (or web address). It is best to use your company name or a slogan (e.g. sales slogan) for which your customers know you. You can use several domain names and still point to one website if you like. Or you can use the different domain names pointing to different home pages for different communication strategies. As an example one could be for corporate customers and the other could be for individual customers.
Once you have decided on your domain name, you need to check availability and register your domain name. For .com names I recommend www.GoDaddy.com and www.Cira.ca for .ca names. The registration costs for .ca is about $30 to $35 a year and for a .com domain the cost is about $10 to $30 a year. If you like to “do it yourself”, you can get your .com domain registered at www.GoDaddy.com for about $10/year and for about $10/month for hosting (including e-mail) and a website-builder (easy to use software to create your website).
As you can see, having your own domain name and website is not very costly and your biggest challenge will be making your website work for you.
Now that you have your hosting and costs covered lets get into the construction zone. As you know, before you build a house, you need a plan or blueprint and this is what we will work on now.
A webpage is a communication tool with a purpose. It is very important to know what the website should achieve. If you do not know what the communication goal of your website is, then it will appear as though you are mumbling information to a lot of people and no one will know what to do with it. To prevent this, simply write down what you expect from your website. You can have 2 or 3 goals, but be sure to prioritize
Here are some samples: If you are selling products, the goal is for people to actually buy the product online. This kind of website has to be created with a headline or commercial of your product, then, create an easy way to purchase the product.
If your site’s intention is to create more new business, focus on this and create a good commercial to convince the web-visitor to book an appointment with your company and not someone else.
If you want to make it easy for your customer to book appointments with you on-line, use your website for introducing yourself, your services and create an obvious link to your booking calendar.
Once you have decided on a goal you are ready to plan your website and marketing campaign.
Here is an example of where to start if you goal is to create more new customers.
A very simple way to do this would be to create an ad in the Yellow Pages stating your specialty and to refer customers to your website. If you do offer a “first time visit” special or an online booking system, mention this in your advertising as well.
In your website reconfirm your specialty and offer. Guide the visitor with a sales slogan or obvious link (s) to your contact page to get the visitor book an appointment with you.
This sample shows you only one way of marketing your services and website. As you can imagine, there are several options both in print and on the Internet to create traffic to your website.
Here are some tips from Google.com:
It’s easy to over-focus on driving traffic to your site while overlooking another equally important key to website ROI (return of investment) – content optimization. Make the time, money, and effort you’ve spent developing your online marketing pay off. Design a website that gets visitors to take action. Here are some pointers:
1. Set your goals
Today, website ROI is measured by conversions – how frequently visitors reach your goals. Goals are activities on your website that are important to the success of your business.
Obviously, a sale is a goal if you sell online. A request for a sales call is another example of a goal. So is an e-mail registration. Even if you have a purely brochure-ware site, you might consider viewing the Contact page or a Product Spec page to be a goal. The point is that if you haven’t built one or more key activities – goals – into your site, no amount of site re-working is going to help. Without goals, you haven’t created any connection points with your prospects and customers and you’ll have no way of knowing how well you meet your visitors’ needs or of measuring your website ROI.
2. Get that first click
How successfully does your site entice visitors to make that first click towards conversion? Everything on an entry page must be designed and written to entice a visitor to click.
It is likely that your home page has several audiences. Potential customers, partners, investors, journalists all may have an interest in your company. Speak directly to each need and make the next step clear. Use active words such as Learn, Ask and Browse.
A website is only a part of your communication options. A website alone will not work, but is an extremely useful tool to create new customers and maintain customers if used wisely with print marketing. Use “you” and “your”
and avoid “we” and “our.” Keep copy short and to the point. Remember, you just want them to make that
first click and start down the path.
3. Call your audience to action
Buy Now. Add to Shopping Cart. Calls to action, obviously, but not the only ones you should have on your site. Make sure your visitors always know what to do next, so that they aren’t left standing in your store, overwhelmed by choices. Add calls to action on every page of your site: Learn More, Help Me Choose, Compare, Next Step. Gently lead visitors down the conversion path, and you’ll earn more from the visitors you get.
4. Simplify conversion steps
The easier it is for a visitor to reach her objective, the more likely it is she’ll convert. Obviously, you need to provide the information that the visitor needs before she’ll buy or ask for a sales call, but consider carefully how much information you need to ask for. Maximum ROI = Effective Marketing + Content Optimization
To summarize, you’ll maximize return from the visitors you attract if you do the following thing Create key activities (goals) on your site. Get that first click towards conversion. Call your audience to action on each page. Once you have created the master blueprint for your website, the next step is writing good sales copy. This can be very difficult, but you can do a lot of homework and learning on your own to save time and money before you consider hiring a professional writer.
Here are some tips on how to start:
First, write an introduction about you or your company. Be sure to include what you do best and why people should come to you and not someone else (are you specialized?)
Next, create shorter versions of this introduction, such as 125 words, 75 words and down to a 15 word intro. These intros are very useful when you meet new people. The 15 word intro is a great way to introduce yourself at meetings or other occasions.
Out of these intros you can create a commercial and headline that you can use for your home page.
If you do this exercise and have a goal in mind of what your website should do, you have 70 per cent of your website done. How a site should look and what colors you are going use is only about 30 per cent of the work.
I do recommend outsourcing the design work to a professional. Good headlines, wording and the path to the goal will make the greatest impact with a clean and professional look.
• In the next issue, we will talk about how to create (valuable) traffic to your website and how to use other tools for creating better customer service, happier customers and new customers.
Max Fanderl is an Internet Marketing Consultant, President of 2mDesign & DiscoveryWeb Inc. & Book24-7.com. 2mDesign & DiscoveryWeb has been in operation since 1995 and specializes in Internet Marketing, WebSite Development & Evaluations, Search Engine Optimization, Web Hosting and Online Database Applications such as Book24-7.com. You may contact Max at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-342-0461. www.DiscoveryWeb.com , www.Book24-7.com
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