Web Technology in Marketing: Friend or Foe?
by C.J. Hayden, MCC, Author/Master Certified Coach - Get Clients Now
- A web site can attract new customers to your business from across the street or far outside your local area. If your site has high rankings in the search engines under appropriate categories, or many links from keywords prospective clients might search for, you may get dozens of inquiries from people who otherwise would never hear of you.
- Using email autoresponders can help you automate your follow-up with likely prospects. Just subscribe a prospect to an autoresponder list once, then send periodic broadcasts to the whole list, encouraging prospects to hire you or attend your learning programs.
- Participating in online discussion lists and message boards can allow you to network with a large group of people in your target market without leaving your home or office. Appearing on live chats or webinars permits you to be a public speaker without the time and expense of travel, and speak to national or global audiences.
- Technology makes it easy to hide. When you have a web presence, an ezine, and use e-mail autoresponders to contact your customers, you may think there’s no reason to contact them in person. You may feel justified in not picking up the phone, attending a business event, or suggesting a lunch date if you think your technology is doing the job for you. But a web site or e-mail isn’t an equal substitute for a prospect hearing your voice or seeing your face. It’s pretty rare for someone to hire a professional without talking to him or her first, so if you put off the talking, you may also be putting off the hiring.
- Launching and maintaining an attractive and useful website, and achieving high search engine rankings for it, can be an expensive and time-consuming project. Unless you pay close attention to your budget, you can easily find yourself spending much more to land each client than you would ever pay using offline marketing methods. A high-traffic web site is a valuable resource for a business that can take advantage of a global presence or a large volume of new clients. But if your business is primarily local or you only need a few new clients each year, you may end up paying for a level of visibility you don’t really need.
- Too many inquiries from the web can waste your time. Anonymous visitors to your site will often email to ask about prices and other details. These inquiries are completely unqualified -- you don’t know anything about the people who are writing. If you take the time for a thorough reply to each one, they can consume a significant amount of energy. On the web as well as off, prospects who are referred to you by people who know your work are much more likely to hire you than those who find you by accident. If that’s so, perhaps it makes sense to put more effort into building referrals than into building a broader web presence.
Every independent professional should have a web site, an ezine, and an email marketing strategy, right? If you’re not taking maximum advantage of web technology to market your professional services, you are behind the times, and missing out on huge opportunities. At least that’s what most marketing experts would have you believe. But how valid is this advice? And is it for everyone? Before email was widely available, marketing newsletters were printed on paper and sent by mail. There’s no question that e-mail is a more economical solution for sending a newsletter. Instead of being able to afford only a few hundred newsletters at a cost of $1 or more each, you can send tens of thousands for only pennies. With an ezine, technology can save you money and allow you to extend your marketing reach. This is one of the many ways that web technology can be your friend. Here are some others: