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The Top 10 Ways to Make Your Web Site a Marketing Hub

The best web sites for professional services business are "Marketing Hubs" that enable you to leverage all your marketing efforts. It's not really hard, but it does take a fair amount of work. Here's the top 10 things you need to do.

1. Design a web site that is clear, concise and complete. Make sure you communicate about exactly how you help your clients. You need more than a few bullet points and pretty graphics. First focus on solid, in-depth content and then create a site that's easy to navigate. Get help with your site design, unless you're willing to spend hundreds of hours in getting it right. Forget about all the fancy bells and whistles. Make it look nice but let your visitors get to the meat quickly and easily.

2. Use headlines on your web pages that promise benefits. Don't just put "Services" on your services page but "Strategies to Increase Profits" or whatever your key benefit is. Make the content on your site easy to read. Use the standard size font and use bold text at the beginning of paragraphs. Sub-heads in an alternate color also draw the eye and make your pages easier to read than solid black text. At the bottom of each page, lead your reader to the next logical page on the site. Don't just leave them there hanging, wondering where to go next. Make it informative, easy and fun to visit your site.

3. Design your site to lead the visitor to your "Most Wanted Response." Make it very clear that you have services to offer and make it very easy for them to take the next step to learn about those services. Your most wanted response might be a qualified prospect calling you to do business with you, the next might be an inquiry about your services by email and the third may be a sign-up for your email newsletter. In other words, know what action you want people to take and design your site so that action happens more often.

4. Promote your site through as many off-line mediums as you can afford. For professional service businesses, this starts with your web address on all your printed materials, in your yellow page ad, on handouts for talks and at the bottom of articles you write. Send people to your site for reports and articles. Talk about your site when you give a presentation. After a networking event, send those you met an email pointing to a valuable article on your site. Tell your clients to send those they refer to your site first. Put almost 100% of your marketing effort on getting people to your site. People that know more about you are much more likely to contact you and do business with you.

5. Make sure you are listed in the top search engines. Even though your main business will come from you directing people to your site, in time, people will start to find you on the web if you list yourself on Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, InfoSeek, Web Crawler, Northern Light, Lycos, Hot Bot, MSN Search, Direct Hit, Global Search and, of course Yahoo. Re-list yourself at least once a quarter. Also look around for industry specific directories. They may be free or cost very little but will send the right type of prospects to your site.

6. Put key words on your site so you're easier to find. The most important place to put keywords is in your "title tag," next are in your "meta tags" and also in the body of your page. Put in words and groups of words that people are likely to use to find you. If your name is BizTech Solutions, that doesn't do you much good as nobody will use that as a key word. However "Business Technical Solutions" will probably work better. Look up other similar sites and see what key words they're using by checking View>Page Source in Netscape or View>Source in Explorer.

7. Put your email address in your email signature. Make sure to "hot-link" your URL so that just by clicking, they will go right to your site. And add a reason for visiting your site: "Visit our web site for cutting edge management ideas." If you belong to an industry specific mailing list, every time you send an email, everyone on the list sees your signature. When you send a comment or answer a question on this list you can also point to your site: "I have an article on my site that goes into this in detail." and then provide a hot link.

8. Establish an email newsletter. This will become the number one way of promoting your site and your services. First sign up everyone you know and launch your "Ezine" with as many people as possible. Grow your email list by having a simple sign-up form on your web site. Automate your sign-up and list maintenance by using a listserver such at DataBack (they have great service and are very affordable). Make it a priority to work at increasing the size of your Ezine list. The more people on your list, the more will vist your site.

9. Use the Ezine to establish value and credibility and generate new business. Your Ezine should contain interesting, informative articles that prove you know your stuff. Don't overcrowd it with a lot of superfluous fluff and dozens of links. At the end of the Ezine, simply point people to your site to learn about various services.

10. Use your Ezine list to promote specific services. If you give people good solid content once a month, your subscribers usually won't mind if you tell them about a service once in awhile. One way to do this is to send an email pointing to a new article on your site. Then that article points to a service that addresses the issues raised in the article. Think soft-sell and multi-step for marketing your services using your web site as a "one-stop marketing hub."

We are indebted to Mr. Robert Middleton for this list as well as for his insight, help and encouragement. If you are serious about your professional service businesses we urge you to contact him.

His company is Action Plan Marketing



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