Marketing—Where to Start?

Make your Web site part of your sales and business development process and you will get noticed by the community and drive business to your company.

Most organizations have a website today...with static information that was written awhile ago, telling folks that you offer residential and/or commercial services and if you specialize in vertical markets, which is all vital information to share. Although many of you perhaps initially resented this development cost and might not have sunk another penny into it since its inception, your Web site is the foundation of any marketing effort today.

A prospecting or sales call made, a letter sent, a public meeting where you were seen, a party you attended, a venue where you have spoken or an ad you ran in the yellow pages, in print or online or even a Google search leads or drives prospects and new business opportunities to your site. Your Web site is exactly where many new sales are developed, fostered, enhanced or closed. It’s almost inevitable that it will play a role in the sales process with prospects going there to measure your competitive advantages, compare you to another company or ensure that your capabilities match their needs. How many opportunities have you lost because this information isn’t there?

So what should be on your site? Pretty much everything relevant to your business offering in an easy to read and search format. You don’t have to recreate the wheel; copy or mimic what other good sites do instead. Listen to yourself when you’re speaking with customers or prospects, doing demos or basically when you’re comfortably talking about your expertise in the market. Start making “quick notes” mentally or literally on what customers ask and what you say. Make an outline of these things in no particular order. Develop a statement on what your company’s customer commitment is. Keep lists of changes within your organization: growth; new services; products; customers; and anything new, as small as it may seem to you, it is all news to your community. Post these things as often as they happen--your receptionist, a sales person, or the office manager can do it if you get tied up; it’s that easy with the right Web program.

Make outlines on how you managed difficult situations for different customers. You don’t have to name a customer to tell about a project. Keep notes on how you manage certain risks, things for prospects to consider, how to protect themselves. Collect testimonials from your customers, posting your wins. If you did one half of this your site would be more robust than your competitors which will establish you as “the expert and the leader” in your area or field. Want to go further? Start a blog.

So you say that you can’t write? If you make lists, then any decent writer can turn these into good text and any Web service provider can turn text into a dynamic site. And there you have it, a real marketing tool. It doesn’t have to be built in a day or paid for all at once-it evolves.

And once developed you drive traffic to it and include e-mail links from it to prospects or local press, cut and paste text for sales presentations from it or to it, post white papers on it, training tools, and more. Make your site a part of your sales and business development process. The end goal is to establish your expertise and get you noticed by the community and your Web site plays an important role in this process.

Carol Enman