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Your website isn’t just another way to let people know where you are. It is the bridging point between your online and offline worlds, it is your businesses major mouthpiece, it is your leading marketing tool.
Once upon a time a laissez-faire approach to Internet marketing would have been understandable, if slightly unadvisable. However, today an Internet presence is a must for any business. Those who have worked hard to establish themselves online a reaping the rewards, whilst those who haven’t are having to work even harder to catch up.
Where else do you have the opportunity to speak directly to every visitor that passes through your door? Where else can you show off your industry knowledge with a few short blog posts? Where else can you get noticed ahead of your multinational competitors? The Internet is a completely unique entity with an audience that continues to grow right across the globe.
You don’t need to sell anything through a website, just yourself. That said, etailers are growing in stature all the time, benefiting from the cost and time savings involved in shopping online, particularly in the current climate of recession. But whatever your business is, your website should be treated as your customer service portal; an informative place where consumers can find out more about you in a matter of seconds.
As referenced previously, the Primark website is a good example of how you can use the Internet to reinforce your brand and counteract any media issues. As a company Primark have been hit by claims that they use unethical practises in the manufacture of their clothing. So they build a website.
Do they sell clothes on their website? No, or at least not at the moment. Primark instead uses the site to reinforce their high street identity; giving customers a sneak peak of future ranges and providing maps for them to locate stores. It also helps them to advertise job vacancies and, most importantly, promote their ‘ethical trading’.
Primark is just one of many websites out there used purely for marketing. They aren’t benefiting directly from the site itself, but are simply giving their customers and potential clients online access to their offline business. This is a model that can be followed by any company, small or large, and can have sizeable effects in the amount of interest generated.
Of course the one major difference between most traditional marketing avenues and a website is that a website will in itself require further marketing – essentially marketing your marketing campaign. SEO, social media, word of mouth or email campaigns will all help generate the traffic that your website needs to fully market your business. However, to do this effectively you need something solid, commercial and engaging to market – putting a huge onus on the quality of your businesses website.
Now is the time to be online. Just remember that, as with all marketing, a website is a reflection of you and your company so make sure it is done right.