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Your Web Marketing
online world is still very new, and constantly evolving.
You may be thinking about outsourcing your Web promotion
to an expert who is immersed in this world as their
full-time occupation, rather than trying to acquire
this knowledge, and cope with the pace of change in-house.
So, what should you look for in a consultant, and
what guarantees can you expect?
Choosing The Consultant
consultant should ask a lot of questions about your
business and your objectives. They need to be very
clear about the strategic and specific goals of your
site. Do you want as many visitors as possible (as
in: We get millions of hits on our Web site),
or are you more interested in attracting qualified
leads for your association? Are you selling products?
Are you looking for new members, sign-ups for your
newsletter or events, media coverage, etc.
Its possible that there could be different markets
for each of your objectives. The consultant needs
to demonstrate that they clearly understand the demographics
of the audience you want to attract. This includes
whether your markets are currently online, whether
they are comfortable using e-mail, etc. Its
also important to clarify any restrictions on your
marketing - for example, if you are only targeting
The key to effective Web marketing is to have a comprehensive,
integrated plan that focuses on where your markets
hang out online. Its absolutely
not enough to concentrate your efforts on search engines
- thats a passive rather than an active approach.
You want to reach out to your potential visitors,
not wait for them to come to you. And, you want to
ensure that your off-line marketing includes your
Web site - up to a third of your traffic can now come
from real-world sources.
So, the consultant should propose to you a wide-ranging
plan (assuming thats appropriate for your goals)
Paid (bid for
Review sites and
Linking with other
e-zine sponsorships (depending on your budget)
your real-world marketing
Effective Web marketing must also include an e-mail
strategy. The consultant should include in their proposal
some ideas for targeted, personalised (and fully opt-in)
e-mail. This requires a contact database that you
can use to select out the different audiences that
you might have for these messages. The consultant
should also be able to help you create this, if required.
And finally, the consultant should explain how they
propose to evaluate the success of any marketing campaign
against your goals and objectives. Marketing is an
ongoing process, during which youll learn a
lot about your site and about your visitors. This
knowledge should be analysed and used to tweak your
site and refine your business strategies. A good consultant
will be able to work with you to achieve this.
Guarantees Can You Expect?
Lets be very clear - there is a distinction,
which often gets blurred, between sales and marketing.
The job of a marketing consultant is to bring qualified
traffic to your site (or in other words, into your
storefront). Completing the sale is then a separate
Marketing is also a very grey area, in which its
difficult to provide cast-iron guarantees of results.
This is particularly true in the area of search engine
optimisation, since the search engines are so unpredictable.
In my opinion, if a consultant promises you top
ten placement you should be very wary - its
possible that they are using tactics that could be
classified as Spam - soon if not now.
But obviously you do want to check that the consultant
has a good track record, and that they can provide
references from other clients. I believe that good
Web knowledge and proven online marketing tactics
are as important as an in-depth familiarity with your
In setting your contract with the consultant, its
important to have a mutual comfort level with your
goals, expectations and budget. There are many opportunities
for free promotion online, but if youre prepared
to spend some money, you can potentially build your
traffic faster. Since building awareness of a site
takes time, perhaps a minimum six-month period would
be advisable, but with appropriate get-out clauses
for both parties.
Good Web marketing is a team effort! Hire a consultant
who you feel very comfortable with, who asks lots
of questions to really understand your business and
your goals, and who seems genuinely interested in
promoting you. But then be prepared to work with them
- respect and consider their suggestions, and allow
them to be creative in their approach.
© Copyright Philippa Gamse, 2001. All rights
Philippa Gamse, "CyberSpeaker"SM.
Professional Speaker and Business Strategy Consultant.
Philippa's clients come from a wide range of
industries, government, small business and associations
in N. America and Europe. They include P&O
Cruises (UK) Ltd., Novartis Pharmaceuticals,
RE/MAX, the American Society of Association
Executives, the National Tour Association, and
the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. Philippa
is frequently interviewed by national media
in the USA for her expertise in successful eBusiness
strategies and emerging trends.
This article also appears at Phillippa's website:
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