August 22, 2011

Marketing via Website, Blogging, and Video Media

In my previous post, I shared tips from conferences on using social media for marketing. This post will continue tip sharing with how to design your website and maintain a blog as part of your marketing campaign.
 
A company website should be viewed as a marketing brochure to engage and interest visitors, as well as communicate what you do. Good website design should include at a minimum: easy for potential customers to navigate via menus or tabs, great introductory page (a.k.a. home page), have product and/or service pages, and provide your contact data (including social networks). For authors, the product pages would be a landing page per book – perhaps an HTML version of the marketing flyer. A good place to start is to check out what your competitor’s websites look like. Do not copy them, but instead use the ideas you find for good design that fits your business and avoid duplicating the bad examples. The experts I have talked with do not recommend having a lot of “flash” because all browsers may not work with it and it often does not translate to smart phones and other devices well. Concentrate on professional and well designed rather than flashy. Visitors may think a flashy site is cool when they first see it but if it is not easy to cancel the streaming video/images or navigate once past the intro, and then they are not likely to return. Always test your website on multiple platforms to be sure you are not missing out on potential viewers. If you are trying to design it yourself instead of hiring a professional website designer, you might want to check out these articles: 8 Tips for Designing a Great Website, Magic with Meta Tags and SEO, and 10 SEO Techniques All Top Web Sites Should Use.  Plus this SEO Tutorial has really good information for beginners.

Some people have said blogs are dying due to use of social networks for getting data out in short bursts rather than long text. However, the experts say that social networks are excellent conduits for sharing blog post links because people still want good content. Good content drives people to the blog and great content keeps them coming back. I was told years ago that blogs should be updated either monthly or weekly, just let the audience know what the schedule is. Now the experts are saying that posts should occur 2-3 times per week. And that the post writer needs to hold conversations with their readers by replying to all comments whether or not a question is asked! Also, blog posts should also include images and video with the text content to make them more interesting. Also, the images and video need to be labeled so search engines can find them as well as your content. One thing that all the experts agreed upon was that you should not start a blog if you will not stick with it. It is better to not start a blog than have an abandoned or rarely updated blog showing in web searches. If you are still not sure whether or not to build a blog, check out this article: Will Your Business Benefit From a Blog? Your website site provider may have a blog tool as well as a site creator. If it does not, it is very easy to start a blog and link to it using either of these free tools: WordPress or Blogger.
The experts also recommended using YouTube to not only get related videos for your blog, but to also create personal videos for your website. They suggested having your own YouTube channel containing amateur (made by a friend with a digital video camera) or professionally-made (by a videographer) video clips of presentations to show expertise. Load these videos on YouTube and then share the YouTube channel on your site and/or embed links to play videos where appropriate on website or in blog posts. They also mentioned creating professional book trailers for authors or product presentation slide shows. (FYI: A free on-line tool that may help with making these shows, recording narration, and getting them into video is SlideShare. You can also link directly to your SlideShare shows from a LinkedIn profile.)

If you have other social media tools you find useful for your business, please let us know about them by putting them in the comments for this post. Check back next month for another marketing method.

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