For many years we have used the analogy that many websites are like a sign on the side of the road advertising a business. If the sign is not lighted at night the majority of traffic travels past without knowing the business exists.
Most websites, even those designed by professional web development companies, are just like a dark sign. Every once in a while someone will stumble across it. Someone may even see it and be stirred to stop, peruse and purchase. But but the vast majority of internet traffic never knows the website exists.
Internet marketing is what "lights up" dark websites. Internet marketing allows people to see the website as they travel the information highway.
A good business should not spend money on a sign without lights. A good business should not spend money on a website and not market the website.
There are two common definitions of internet marketing. The first involves the sale of products or services via the internet. The second definition is the one Wiregrass Advertising, Inc. focuses on. We believe internet marketing is the techniques employed that actively generate traffic to one's website. It is the belief in this definition that sets us apart from many website development companies and makes the difference between our clients having a dark sign or a brightly lit sign. We actively market websites.
All the processes Wiregrass Advertising uses to increase traffic to a website are beyond the scope of this article. However, internet marketing involves two cohesive processes. Process one is the good placement of advertising throughout the internet that draws traffic to a website. This is a combination of using free links and paid links. Process two is the generation of traffic data and other statistics and relating that to the conversions (sales) of the website.
Let's look at a case study for process one, the active phase of website marketing. One of the first websites Wiregrass Advertising, Inc. designed after relocating to Enterprise, Alabama was for Faith Baptist Church. The church is located on Rucker Boulevard, just outside of the Ft. Rucker Enterprise Gate. A large portion of its congregation is comprised of military, but in 2004 the majority of those military found the church by seeing the sign as they drove past or looking in the yellow pages. Wiregrass Advertising was requested to develop a website and market that site. During the marketing phase research was completed to determine how military families preferred locating churches to attend when being transferred from base to base. The internet was the method of choice followed by telephone directories. Next we determined what sites were utilized to find the churches and began active internet marketing by placing links on those sites. All of this took many hours of research and investigation. As a result of good internet marketing, in 2008 approximately 80% of church visitors discovered the church by using the internet. Approximately 95% of all visitors viewed the church website prior to their first visit.
Process two is the generation and understanding of data as it relates to visitors and conversions. If process one is the lights on the figurative sign, process two is the electricity. We can make the lights burn brighter by reviewing data generated and fine tune the active marketing as well as the website to increase the conversion ratio. Wiregrass uses several different data generation tools such as AWstats, Google Analytics and phone call conversions. We have the ability to monitor visitor progression through a website in real time as well as review visitor curser movements which is a good indication of what visitors read or looked at. We then take that data and tweak the website to remove areas of confusion and even move a product or service to an area of prominence to increase the conversion rate.
Let's look at a case study for process number two. Recently Wiregrass Advertising, Inc. was requested to redesign a website for an individual whose goal was to increase book sales. The site's owner was very particular about the site and how every object should be placed as well as the exact text on the page. After reviewing data we were able to show the owner why he was not making the sales he desired. After several months he agreed to some changes and the site was tweaked and has shown an increase in sales, especially of the higher priced items which we moved to "special" positions on the page.
As the internet continues to evolve, so will the techniques used to market websites. Internet marketing is a dynamic process. Website marketing that works one year may not work the next. With the number of websites in the billions, it is not good enough to simply let a website float in the search engines. Search engine optimization is still extremely important, but as algorithms change and competition becomes more fierce, it is the websites that have been treated with a holistic approach of good design, search engine optimization and internet marketing that will rise to the top attain the realistic goals set forth by the site's owner.