A Publication of WTVP

Relationships sell, websites don’t.

By now, you know how vital the Internet is in marketing your products or services. Where having a website may have once been a luxury, it’s become imperative for any successful business today. What’s more, research indicates that Internet use is growing among all generations, with some online activities popular among all age groups—such as accessing health information, purchasing products and/or services, making travel reservations and downloading materials of interest. Your website is an important part of your marketing mix, but just having one will not assure a boost in sales or loyalty to your organization.

Don’t Overwhelm
It’s important to implement online marketing strategies to increase your site’s visibility and make connections with prospective customers. There are a variety of tactics you can use, including search engine optimization and search engine marketing. However, one key method we recommend is to use a landing page, or microsite, to make an initial connection.

Your primary website serves a purpose for those seeking to learn more about your business or organization, but a specific landing page or campaign microsite can be more effective at boiling down the relevant information a prospect is seeking. The idea is to promote a specific product, service, program, event, etc., and direct users to that detailed page on the Web so they can take action. This way, they don’t get weighed down by the content and navigation of your primary website.
Start with an objective of what you want your customers to do once they get to the landing page, and then backfill your promotional strategy to get them there. You have a variety of online tactics to choose from:

McDaniels Marketing has seen many industry changes in its 45-year history. Founded in 1966 by Eugene Walter (E.W.) McDaniels, the company was originally named E.W. McDaniels & Company Advertising. It first operated out of Eugene’s home, before moving to its current location, 11 Olt Avenue in Pekin, in 1971.

Since then, the agency has achieved many milestones and continually upgraded its services to help clients maintain their competitive edge. Last year, the company shortened its name to McDaniels Marketing to focus on core strengths and align all four of its brands under a common name. Three key divisions are now part of the McDaniels Marketing umbrella—healthcare marketing, interactive (formerly ie-media), and promotional products.

McDaniels Marketing serves clients throughout the Midwest by strategically planning and executing award-winning marketing tactics. The company works in a variety of industries, including agriculture, financial, governmental and recycling, and has client service offices in Bloomington and Rockford, Illinois, as well as the Quad Cities.

Encourage Interaction
Today’s Web users are busy, with short attention spans. They need information quickly and want to get it on their own timetable. So make it easy! Find ways to encourage interaction on your site by giving them the opportunity to complete a survey, register for a prize, sign up for an e-newsletter or post a comment.

Remember that today’s savvy consumers seek information through friends, other websites, social media and public forums. A website is a great research tool for them, but don’t forget to interact with them first. A landing page will help introduce a product or service, and your call to action will lead them to your full website. Utilize links and videos, and remember to incorporate social media and customized forms to build the relationship even more.

Connect With Customers Through a Story
People love reading stories about other people. TripAdvisor makes better use of storytelling to help direct or sell people on a potential hotel or destination than anyone else. This blog-style site sets the bar on integrating real, user-generated content alongside promotional content from property owners. People need to be able to apply the information they read about your business or organization, and reading a story about someone who has had a great experience works wonders for converting traffic into real business and loyal followers.

Close the Deal
Storytelling can also encourage people to “turn the pages” on your site by following the trail of links you leave for them. Be sure to ask them to interact and invite them to share your information with others. By spreading your message through a variety of marketing channels and links, you will encourage greater interaction with your customers and build the kind of relationships that “close the deal.” Relationships sell, websites don’t. iBi

Randy McDaniels is president and owner of McDaniels Marketing.