The web is a necessity. Having a web presence that reflects your brand and articulates your message is no longer a luxury for successful companies, it’s a pre-requisite for doing business. However, once you have a beautiful, functional website, the next question is usually pretty clear.
How do I get people to my website?
This is no doubt the number one question for web-marketers, but I’m not so sure it’s the most important anymore. Because it takes no effort to leave a website, dragging people to a web page is only as good as their desire to be there. So, the more important question is: How do I engage my target audience?
MAKE THEM WANT TO COME
The obvious part of this lies in designing a website that itself is fun, engaging and useful. If people can’t find the information that they want and need quickly – they’re gone and good luck getting them back. A web site MUST start with the user. What are they here for? Are you bringing them to what they want, or making them root for it through pages and pages of meaningless corporate nonsense to find it? There’s a reason that G.1440 has become experts in designing web usability. This will not only lead to keeping the traffic that you get, but it will inherently drive traffic as more and more users spread the word about your www dot awesomeness.
DON’T CHANGE USER HABITS – COME TO THEM!
But the second part of this proposition is a little more elusive. Instead of focusing on how to drag people away from what they’re doing to spend time on your company’s digitial brochure, why not bring the message to where they are already?!
This isn’t as simple as just throwing up a MySpace page. It takes a bit of research, but ultimately you want to know where your target customers spend their time online. Then take the message to them! Contribute to the blogs they read, either as a guest writer or as a commenter. Create applications for the platforms they use. Be creative!
You can also use your existing users for some of this legwork. Open your content up for others to use. A great example is http://www.mtvmusic.com. MTV just made every music video ever available for embedding (along with a host of other original content). So now I can share Thriller with all of you – while promoting MTV – how nice of me!
Your website should really only be one part of a multimedia marketing mix. With social networking, micro blogging, and all the other web 2.0 tools that comprise “social media”, the opportunity to engage your target market has never been better!
Remember the web is an interactive communication medium. Not a content delivery platform. It’s not TV: Part 2. People have to want to see what they’re looking at. In fact, some of the latest research shows that online ads don’t really work well anyway!
There’s no single solution that will work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth it to put in the time to find a digital marketing strategy that works for you.