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Web Marketing Checklist
By André le Roux

This web marketing checklist is by no means complete, but it does give you a solid start. Once you've worked through this checklist, find out if there are any industry-specific ways in which you can market your web site. You may know of associations or trade publications willing to give you a mention.

Note About Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is without doubt the most effective (and most cost effective) way to market your site. It's so important that I made a separate search engine optimization checklist. This web marketing checklist is about all the other ways to market your site on the Internet.

Online Web Marketing Checklist

1. Create Valuable, Free Content

If you've browsed the Pandecta site or forums, you'll have read this before: "Content is king". It's the cornerstone of web marketing! I know I repeat this in just about everything I write, but it is that important.

No-one will visit your site because they want to know more about you or your business.
No-one
will read your mission statement.
The truth is that your typical site visitor don't give a damn.

Valuable, free content is not that difficult to create but it will devour your time. While I'm typing this, my wife is in bed watching a good movie. A Mafia movie. Yum. But I'm here, typing, creating valuable free content. It's why you are on this site (right?) and it's what will draw people to your site as well. Don't underestimate this.

2. Publish A Newsletter

More work unfortunately, but an extremely effective web marketing strategy. So effective in fact that everybody with a web site is doing it these days. You'll have to put some effort into it if you want it to rise above the noise. Again, if the info you publish is valuable and free, it sells itself.

3. Create An E-mail Signature File

Most e-mail clients let you create a standard signature file that is included in all mails you send out. It is a great web marketing tool and it costs nothing.

Don't make it too long. Don't describe your product or service. Just write a teaser that will get people curious enough to click through to your web site. Make sure the page they land on rewards their curiosity. There's no point creating a sig file teaser like "Free Cell Phones" and then not sending them to a page about free cell phones. That just gets them angry.

4. Capture E-mail Addresses

Most people don't buy on their first visit to a web site. If you are not following up with visitors, you're losing out.

Encourage your web site visitors to give you their e-mail addresses. Most people don't give that up easily, so you really have to give them something in return. If you just say "Enter your e-mail here to be notified when this web site updates", you'll maybe get 1 sign-up for every 10,000 visitors. Make a more appealing offer than that. Give them something. Create a PDF report about some aspect of your industry and offer that as a free bonus when visitors sign up for site updates - or offer substantial discounts/incentives.

One more thing:
Don't misuse those e-mail addresses once they start coming in. These people are trusting you with their contact details. This is your chance to talk to them on a regular basis and win even more trust - perhaps enough to get them to take out their credit cards. But if you make them angry by selling their contact details or by sending them all kinds of garbage, those e-mail addresses loose their value very quickly.

5. Online Advertising

You can either buy ad space on targeted sites or exchange ads with someone who has more or less the same audience. Banner ads / banner exchanges is a waste of time in my experience. Text ads work much better.

You should also consider buying PPC (Pay Per Click) ads from Google AdWords or one of the smaller PPC search engines. For more on PPC advertising, consider getting a copy of the Search Engine Yearbook.

6. Awards

Many good web marketers maintain that giving awards is not a very effective web marketing strategy, but from experience I know that it can work. There are two important things you must get right for it to be successful:

  • It must be sincere. If you give awards to anyone willing to link to your web site, you're wasting your time. Give awards to good web sites/ newsletters/ discussion forums/ and write a short review of each.
  • Choose an award topic that is closely related to the theme of your site. Don't give awards for good web design if you are selling mousetraps. Target the right audience.

7. Articles

If you write many articles or have access to an article database, offer these articles to other webmasters as free content for use on their web sites or newsletters. Write a short bio that includes a link to your site and add it to the bottom of each article. Also state in the bio that anyone may reproduce the article provided the bio stays in tact.

8. Ask For Bookmarks

This seems simple enough, but very few people do it. We have a little "Remember to bookmark this page" button in the main menu of the Pandecta web site. It's difficult to measure just how effective it is, but you might as well have it.

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Can you add to this Online Web Marketing Checklist? Please e-mail me with your comments: andre@pandecta.com
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Offline Web Marketing Checklist

9. Everything

You already have your URL printed on everything right? It should be as easy to find as your telephone number. Make sure it is included in letterheads, business cards, brochures, print ads - everything. Even the sticker that goes on the company car!

10. Traditional Advertising Media

Ads in newspapers, trade magazines, radio, TV etc. can be a very effective way to market a web site. As with any form of advertising, the first thing your ad must achieve is to grab attention. Note that grabbing attention is only good if your ad can also generate interest - it must get the reader/listener/viewer to take action.

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Can you add to this Online Web Marketing Checklist? Please e-mail me with your comments: andre@pandecta.com
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Related resources:
E-Business Checklist
Search Engine Optimization Checklis