Here we discuss the various aspects of Internet Marketing as it applies to the design of web sites, what it is, why you should be actively engaged in it and some tips on how you might be able to go about developing and implementing your own internet marketing strategy when designing your website.

Websites are dead

Well this may be somewhat of an exaggeration but certainly many businesses are now questioning the role and live there website's.

Let me say from the outset, the matter of having a web presence is not dead, in fact quite the opposite.. The role, style, and functionality of websites certainly has changed dramatically in line with new digital marketing initiatives, trends and the overall needs of your market. The role of websites has changed - and this largely hinges on what stage of the purchase life cycle your customer is at as well as where and when a consumer enters your website. In the digital world of today aspects such as directional navigation and conversion optimisation have become more important. Your existing and potential customers take many different decision paths in how they purchase your goods or services, therefore you need a diversified, distributed, an integrated approach to your digital marketing strategy in order to maximise lead and sales volumes.

It is important that your website clearly understands that your market may have already decided to purchase your product or services in view of the fact that they already know about your business. Potential customers may not be so aware of your product branch, services or indeed your business as a whole and as such their information needs and how they obtain such information will be quite different to the fall of situation. The means by which people will be directed or would navigate to the information that is pertinent to their knees can be quite different and there are a number of different tools and mechanisms available to you in order to make the most effective use of capturing such business.

For instance, if you have a customer who already knows your business or your products, then they are most likely more interested in finding out where they can buy that product, rather than reading about it. In this situation, a store locator or access to a location map page such as Google places played a very important role. Where people are looking for validation of your business or products, information contained in social media pages may be more relevant to such customers.

We can now see that the traditional website that tried to service all of your market needs is no longer quite so relevant. Businesses are now recognising that they need to develop a more integrated digital marketing strategy that draws on a range of different web tools and services that together deliver to the wide range of needs of your different market segments and where they may be at in the purchase life cycle.

Building a Sales Funnel

The concept of building a sales funnel as illustrated below is not new.

All businesses understand that there is a constant need to feed and fill the sales funnel in order to deliver ongoing sales revenue to your business. A good practice to develop your business is to examine all of your marketing and media vehicles identifying how they feel your sales funnel subject to the needs of your market in line with where they may be at in the Sales Life Cycle or Buying Cycle. You should then look at this information identifying which digital/web tools you are using (if at all) to feed your own sales funnel and how they integrate with your website. An important aspect of examining the use of these tools is insuring that you are directing your consumers or market to the right place within your website. Sending everyone simply to your homepage is not an appropriate strategy.

It is important to understand that the customer wishing to purchase products because they have already made a purchase decision should be directed to the page that allows them to purchase products online rather than sending them to a page that simply provide more information about products which they already know. This principle has worked well for many businesses where they have built special "landing pages" that attract market interest and then direct them to the relevant area within your website based on the different landing page content. Each landing page has been designed with a specific outcome will purpose in mind and have already prequalified your clients needs and interests thus directing them to the most relevant area within your website without wasting their time or distracting them from their real purpose.

In building your sales funnel matrix identifying the different market segments, there needs and where they are at in the buying cycle, this will help you identify the most appropriate tools that you can make use of to more effectively attract new customers and convert to sales. Remember, a conversion factor applies at each level of the buying cycle within your sales funnel and it is your purpose to achieve the highest possible conversion factor at each level. How would you utilise the different web tools and integrate them with your website as well as which tools you use at each stage buying cycle will have a direct impact on the level of success of your digital marketing campaign.

So is the website dead as a marketing method? Certainly not. In fact the role of the website for any business has become even more important than ever. As your competitors come to realise this, which they are, it is now not so critical that you have a website, but how effectively your website delivers to the total integrated digital marketing strategy of your business.

To obtain the most effective results from the use of websites or the Internet for your business it is critical that you understand all the different tools available, how each tool can be best applied to your business and your marketing objectives and of course your different market segments. The next stage is to understand how you can best harness all the tools together as an integrated solution delivering to your market needs. Once implemented, it is absolutely imperative that you then monitor, analyse and refine your marketing strategies and the use of these individual tools.

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