When you are running a profit-oriented business, if you are not getting clients, better still, if you are not selling or enjoying good sales, certainly you are on your way out of business. Even if you have all the 4Ms- Men, Materials, Machine and Money- there is no guarantee that your product or service will sell appreciably and at a profit. The marketing function of an enterprise is a series of activities that are geared towards selling of your products or services. If you are in business and you want to sell, you need to do marketing. What is marketing? It is all activities concerned about satisfying consumer needs at affordable cost to the consumer, and at least at a sustainable level of profit to the organization. The goal of satisfaction of consumer needs is pursued through the following marketing functions- market research, product creation, product development, advertisement, promotion, pricing, and distribution/availability. For each product or service, effort is made to achieve a suitable balance among the various elements of this marketing mix.
Business enterprises are now taking advantage of the Web to showcase their products and services, present their company profile, and how to contact them on their web site for the world to see. This is online advertising which is creation of awareness. Some of them conduct market research through their site by asking people to submit their opinions on their products and services in specially created forms and e-questionnaire. In this way, they identify clients (referred to as consumers in the marketing definition above) needs. When you have developed and hosted your site, it is still unknown to the world in the real sense of it and it is not yet reaching out to so many people even as it is on internet. So, you have to do marketing for the it, both conventional and internet marketing to enable you create awareness for it and achieve the principal goal of experiencing visibility by your organization. The focus of this article is internet marketing. As you create awareness for your site, you are also marketing your products and services and other things you want to present on the site. How do you create awareness for your web site, that is, advertise your site? This is by directing traffic to your site. The whole gamut of activities involved in getting visits to a site can be summarized as directing traffic to web site. In one word, after hosting your site, the next thing is to direct traffic to it.
There are various ways of directing traffic to a site. Some are the following-
- Submission of site for search engine listing- This is a very popular way of directing traffic to site. When you submit your web site URL to popular search engines like Google and Yahoo, your site is enlisted and becomes accessible through certain query results although the ranking (the position) will be low initially. Gradually, people will get to know of your site.
- Submission of site to web directory for listing- Web directory provides a catalogue of organizations by listing their sites by category and subcategory. A lot people search directories when looking for information. Listing your site in directories will surely enhance creation of awareness for it.
- Submission of articles to web article publishers- Popular web article publishers like EzineArticles do a lot in helping to direct traffic to web site. This is another choice avenue for getting information by many people. When you submit your article with your site URL in your short profile, readers of your article might visit your site and by so doing, you start getting traffic to your web site.
- Social media site presence- Social networking sites create a forum for communication and interaction between several people regardless of the distance between them. When you create an account and include your site URL in your profile in popular social media sites, you are creating awareness for your site to your numerous followers and others. Business pages like Facebook page and Company page in LinkedIn when created also enhance directing of traffic to your web site as more and more followers join. They are an extension of your corporate site providing a medium of advertisement for it via social interaction
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- When your site has been enlisted in a search engine, the next thing is to raise its ranking so that people can quickly come across your site link after submitting a search query because a long list of web sites is usually displayed in search results. You look for an SEO professional to optimize your site for you so that the ranking can go up. It usually takes some time to achieve remarkable increase in ranking.
- Advert placement- Placing an advert of a site on other web sites certainly helps in promoting the directing of traffic to a site. A good example is Google AdSense advert that publishes your site advert on many web sites as soon as the publishing site registers for the service with Google. When visitors click on the advert, they are taken to your web site immediately.
By the time you apply a combination of these techniques or all of them, traffic will certainly be going to your site and your organization will be reaching out to more and more people on the internet through visits and revisits. You can monitor the level of traffic to your site daily, monthly etc by various means such as Google Analytics report and site statistics report offered by your site control panel. To get Google Analytics report, you need to have an account with Google. Another way of monitoring traffic to your site is by putting a program in your site which can retrieve the IP address of any visitor and store it together with the date in your site’s database. This way, you are in a position to know how people are visiting your site daily.
After a successful marketing of your site by creating awareness for it through traffic driving, what your web site has to offer can be known to a large audience. Your site would have been positioned to do some of what conventional marketing does like advertising your products and services in print and electronic media to reach out to people at large. Web site is really a marketing tool and should be accorded such recognition especially those conservative ones who only believe in conventional marketing.