One thing that doesn’t change is that people love free stuff.
You probably have some sort of value-add for your customer…a white paper, a podcast, or even the simplest form – free shipping.
Giving them a reason to enter your site and a reason to keep coming back is always a great idea. And free stuff is a great way to accomplish that.
When companies really started to marketing themselves online, the mindset was to “drive” traffic to their web sites. Banner ads, keyword rankings, ad-words were some of the few means to promote a site. But the climate has shifted. Now the most effective way to get your site noticed is to “drive your content” to the visitor. There are now sooo many nesting sites like YouTube, About.com, Flickr, etc that consumers are more likely to browse THOSE sites for the content/info they are interested in. These sites have everything in one place so the viewer doesn’t have to click around the world-wide-web…they can have immediate gratification. The viewer is in control.
So if your competition is easily accessible on one of these “nesting” sites and conversely they need to click around to find you…they’ll choose the easy road.
Start a blog. But if you’re reading this – you probably already have one.
This may change by next year, but for now a blog site is a fabulous way to interact with our customer. It allows your company’s personality to come through. It allows for customer’s to comment on your thoughts which makes them feel part of your company in a way that a corporate web site cannot. It allows you to showcase your expertise in your field.
But try to avoid posting random thoughts or rant about some topic that does not resonate with your customer’s interests. Your blog should be relevant and useful for your customer so you can get the most out of developing a relationship with them.
Perhaps more importantly than the traditional (sometimes stodgy) company web site is a blog site. If you don’t have a blog web site, you should consider creating one before 2010 is over. People appreciate being able to interact with the brands they patronize. The most techie advanced blog sites allow you to customize everything from adding your logo to feeding from your tweets. It allows everything to feed into one place and export from it as well. Your fans can post comments that can give validity to your point of view.
Not to mention, a blog is great for SEO. The web crawlers & algorithms look for relevant keywords in the topics you discuss and rank them.
But a word of caution, your blog site should be consistent in it’s branding to your other touch points. So I would recommend getting professional assistance when designing it.
I’m talking about your online presence. To get the most that the internet has to offer, you should keep your online presence current. It’s best to update your web site every 2-3 years. That’s not to say that you let it go for that long, you should be adding fresh content VERY often, but a site re-design should happen every 3 years or so. If you let your site sit for too long, you’re sending the message to your clients & potential customers that it’s not a priority or that you’re “behind the times” or that your company lacks the resources to stay current. It’s like running the same ad in a magazine for 3 years in a row…gets stale. Your business is hopefully evolving and your web site should reflect that progress.
Not to mention, Search engine crawlers calculate how often your site changes and how your site changes and it becomes part of their algorithm for ranking your web site in searches.