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Maximising marketing. By Richard Sergeant

26th Jun 2007
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Richard Sergeant looks at how to get the most from your marketing initiatives by combining online and offline activity

Maximising marketing is about how to get your website to work for you, and have it deliver real value to your business - without creating a mass of extra work.

Before we look at some practical examples, let’s start with two basic principles:

  • There is no difference between online and offline marketing
    There’s just marketing. The only difference between the two is the medium of the delivery…and a certain degree of fear (get over it!)
  • Any activity offline can be replicated or supported online
    Your website should be dynamic - And if we impose a definition of dynamic as being something that makes an active contribution, we'll see some progress.

So what could your website do for you?

All firms engage in marketing in one form or another (even those that say they don’t!), be it:

  • brochures;
  • seminars;
  • budget reports;
  • tax cards;
  • signs outside your office;
  • merchandise (pens, pads, mousemats, umbrellas);
  • networking and association events;
  • informal meetings;
  • articles written for the local paper;
  • sponsorship of the local rugby team;
  • charitable activities;
  • public speaking… the list goes on.

Your site should be playing an active role in every single one. Anything that you do offline can be bolstered and supported online.

In essence, are you making sure that you are maximising the effectiveness, and the value of the marketing you are already engaged with and could well have already spent money on, via your website?

Let’s look at some examples, and outline a simple approach that you can use to see how your site can be used to maximise your marketing.

Take a sheet of paper or make a table in Excel or Word with two columns. In the first column write down all the aspects of marketing and business development that the firm is engaged in - be as broad and thorough as possible. Think about the collateral you produce or buy in - include everything, right down to to the monthly informal lunches you organise with your referral sources or business partners. On the right hand side outline how your website could play a part in helping to maximise the opportunities that these activities create or could create.

For example:

A lot of time effort and energy is often spent on producing new brochures and sometimes it is easy to forget that your website needs to be updated to compliment it too.

You will have already sweated and laboured on working on new text and positioning statements or strap lines for the new printed material – so are you making sure you are using them as widely as possible?

  • Ensure that the list of services that you offer and the service descriptions are consistent.
  • Introduce strap lines and key headings to relevant areas of the site
  • Consider offering the brochure as a PDF download, and asking visitors to give basic information before you give them access. Most people will not object to a simple form which requests name, company and email/telephone. This form should generate an email which you can use to follow up.
  • Alternatively offer to send a copy via the post and provide an easy way for them to do this.
  • Make sure the site reflect any new or service specific branding e.g. Financial Services

Seminars or events
Think how you currently promote events, and reutilise all the details on your site.

You are probably already creating collateral for events - for example, a letter, a mailshot, maybe even a designed mini brochure. You may also be producing notes, brochures or handouts for the sessions itself. In other words you already have material ready to use online.

  • Set up a page a page for events which can be easily located, for example, via a button on your navigation which says “events”, or a link from somewhere on your home page. Copy and paste the event details to the top part of the page. At the bottom of the page have a blank form into which users can enter their details and use to book their place online.
  • Reuse your mailshot letter to provide the basic text for an email to your list of clients and contacts with a short summary of the event and a link back to your events page.
  • If you have frequent events, consider having a central events page and a series of subpages linked to details of each event.
  • Depending on your content management system, it may be possible to set an expiry date for items on the page - so you don’t even have to remember to take events off after they have taken place.

Post event, have any handouts or speaker notes available for download, or create a dedicated page. Or post an overview of the event for visitors to see.

Let’s say you sponsor the local sports team. You are already paying money to appear on the hoardings and to be in the program each week. But do you appear on its website?

  • Ensure you have a logo and a link back to your site.
  • Don’t link to your home page but a separate “landing page” which carries the club logo and a specific message which recognised where the user will have come from. For example, “Welcome supporters of …, we are proud sponsors of this great team and are here to support businesses and individuals in the local area. Here are three areas where we may be able to help you.” Include links to specific service orientated pages that you would like to push.
  • Put a “Proud supporters of…” strap-line prominently across your site
  • Perhaps, include a review of the last match (good and bad) to keep users coming back on a regular basis.

I have given just three examples of how to combine onsite and offsite activity. But once you start you’ll see that your website could, and should, support all your business development activities!

The important things to remember are:

  • You do not have to do a lot of extra work. You should simply be utilising material that has already been produced for other purposes.
  • Capitalise fully on existing activities.
  • You should be able to control your website, do not let it control you. If it is difficult to make minor text changes, add additional pages, and post your own content, change your supplier (we’d be happy to help!)
  • Take ownership or delegate – Empower someone or some people with the responsibility and ability to make sure the site is supporting your the marketing activities.

Make your site dynamic! Make it work for you!

Richard Sergeant is the Client Relationship Manager for PracticeWEB which has been providing content rich, unique designed, secure websites for accountants to UK practices since 1999.

Previous Articles:
Making do is not enough: A website to match your business ambitions


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