Take Five Steps to Successful Web Marketing

Today’s Web marketing world is like the wild, wild West. Any organization large or small has the ability to stake their claim and build a future. The elitism of marketing is gone and the possibilities are endless for anyone willing to venture into the uncharted territory. There are endless technological platforms, countless social media tools and tons of low-cost and no cost ideas. While the wild, wild Web is exciting; the vast open landscape can also feel overwhelming. Executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders may not know where to start. Any journey begins with a map and directions. Start by understanding the five success steps to Web marketing. You want all areas optimized to brand, build and boost business.

  • Credibility
  • Usability
  • Visibility
  • Salability
  • Scalability

To secure new and additional business, businesses have to be known, liked and trusted. Credibility is the first marketing success puzzle piece. Stanford University did a Web Credibility Guidelines research project to identify the top areas that make a company evoke credibility to users. Their findings include simple, but often overlooked steps like showing that there’s a real organization behind your site. This can be as simple as rewriting your about page website copy to show the legitimacy of your organization, your values and credentials. Other Web credibility boosters are making your phone number visible on every page of your site in the footer. The more accessible your organization is, the more trusted a Web visitor feels. Credibility also includes design. Web visitors do judge a business by its Web cover. Design needs to be on brand and on purpose. Sites need to serve and support, not overtly sell to be credible and approachable. Don’t think of design as something you spend on. Design is an investment. Credibility pays back again and again to support your brand and business.

While it is great to get people TO a site; usability is what gets people THROUGH a site. Web users needs to be guided to take action with “call to actions” visual and textual guides that help lead a user into various pages. These days, the most valuable real estate you have as marketers is the square space of real estate on your screen or on a mobile device. Smart user experience immediately tells a Web user who you are, what you do and whom you serve. Look at your home page. Are who you are, what you do and whom you serve clear? This can be communicated easily by bulleting out your services so they are quickly scannable, having dedicated sections to help users navigate to where they need to go. Contact information and simple guides like “Learn More” next to text can prompt action. Think of usability as an invitation. People need to be invited to take action. Invite them to contact you. Usability applies to Web sites, mobile sites, email newsletters and blogs. Make sure that you are using Web tools in a way that is on brand, and on “purpose” meaning the layout is focused on getting people to see and go where you want and need them to go.

Web visibility is one of the biggest ways to get people into your sales funnel. The visibility that comes from Web marketing can be low cost or no cost. The way people will find you will vary, but search engines will likely be a big driver for years to come.

With Web and mobile use growing and use of search engines dominating the way consumers find organizations, it’s more important to have your business searchable than ever before. Search visibility can be paid with advertisements, or can come naturally from organic search. Organic search come from optimizing code on a website, using specific key phrases in content and improving linking. Businesses in certain geographic locations can list their businesses for free visibility on Google+ places, Yahoo Local and Bing. This can be done manually by the business owner or a marketing manager. Search visibility and content go hand in hand. Content is in code, website text, blog posts, image names, image tags, video file names, video title and descriptions, online press releases, social media reviews and articles. Just being social on the social Web creates content. What phrases do you want to be searched and found on? Make a list of desired visibility phrases. Then look critically and see if you are using those phrases in your content.

Salability is the area of the Web success puzzle that is often the most challenging for professionals. Don’t think of salability as being boastful. What is your organization’s unique value? Is this value communicated online? Make your web marketing work to help people want to choose you. Educate clients and potential clients on why you are worth working with. Do you have online testimonials? Case studies? Thought leadership is a powerful selling piece. We sell not by being experts in our field, but by being an authority in an industry. In the word authority is the word author. What content can you publish online that empowers your current and prospective customers? The content doesn’t all have to come from you. Your staff can help contribute to authoring content, you can interview customers for your blog or you can be a “web gemologist” and share relevant industry links on a blog, or on social media outlets like LinkedIn.

The last puzzle piece for Web marketing success is scalability. Just like a good stock compounds and grows over time, the same can happen with your marketing positioning thanks to the power of the Web. Websites can have pages added that pick up in search engines, blog posts grow and compound, equaling thousands of posts and Web pages. Your clientele grows and they refer you. Your best customers are your current customers. Scalability defines how all the small steps of the Web marketing puzzle compound into becoming total web domination but it also applies to the compounding list of clients you develop. The best thing you can do for your business is to grow your existing business. Find ways to leverage what you scale. Love your customers. Share valuable information with them. Make your marketing about them and not about your company and network. This is the World Wide Web, not the world wide pole. Everything is inter-related. Store contacts in your email database. Create connections though your website, search engines, blog, educational content and through professional social networking vehicles like LinkedIn. Scalability is how our Web presence works to reach more people, have other people be our brand ambassadors and grow our businesses.

When your company has all success pieces of credibility, usability, visibility, salability and scalability working in unison, you have a powerful unified marketing puzzle that yields multitasking results. Leverage these five Web marketing success steps for its low cost, sometimes no cost value and multitasking marketing power. For example, let’s say that someone reads an online press release about a new product your company launched. That is visibility. But, if the release is well written and educates the reader about the new product and has your contact information, it can boost your salability as well. Just seeing an organization’s press release it a positioning tool that makes the public think, “oh wow, they have press releases written about their company, they must be successful.” This boosts credibility. One effort multitasking to yield results again and again.

Lorrie Thomas Ross, MA is The Marketing Therapist and CEO at Web Marketing Therapy, a marketing firm that diagnoses, prescribes and guides healthy marketing solutions. Her company’s advisory, training and marketing management services help make small businesses big with the Web. For more information on Lorrie Thomas Ross or her agency, Web Marketing Therapy visit: www.webmarketingtherapy.com and www.lorriethomas.com or [email protected].