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Utilize the Power of the Internet in Your Marketing
by Kathleen Gage

Are you looking for an incredible Internet presence? Many people reading this may already have a web presence. Others have no site at all. Although not absolutely necessary, in most cases having a web site is an expected aspect of doing business. With the right use of a site, you can give incredible benefit to your customers and prospects.

Before you start, decide how will you be using your web site. To provide company information? To promote or sell products and services? To build your contacts? How your web site works with your marketing efforts will determine how elaborate it will be and how much money and time you invest in it.

Present a Professional Image on the Internet 

Many businesses mistakenly attempt to save money by creating their site themselves. Not having a professional design your site can be detrimental to your company. You need someone who can create a site that reflects your company's image, products and services. Your web site is a part of your overall marketing strategy and needs to complement other marketing efforts. You may have an employee on your staff who has the experience to design your web site. On the other hand, if an employee has limited or little experience with web sites, you may want to consider contracting a professional web designer. There are plenty of companies who sell extremely high end products with a web site that looks like it was developed during their spare time. If your site image does not match your product or service image, some customers may not take you seriously.

Building Your Contacts 

Encourage visitors to your site to leave their contact information - including their email address. This is all part of a good master marketing strategy. Some methods for collecting information is to offer an ezine (electronic newsletter), ebooks (electronic downloadable book), tip sheets, signups for free workshops, and a "for further information" request form to name just a few.

Promote Your Company

Share Your Expertise One method that works extremely well in promoting your company through your web site is by using article distribution. It is one of the best ways to reach untold numbers of people and position you as an expert within your industry and market. In a matter of minutes you can distribute your articles to literally dozens of newsletters editors looking for articles. 'How To' and short `tip' articles of just a few hundred words or even a couple of paragraphs are very popular.

Two primary types of article distribution are passive and active. Passive distribution is where you post articles on your site and encourage people to download them for other sites, company newsletters, trade journals, magazines or newspapers. Be sure to include a statement that if someone uses your article, they give you full credit when it is published. It's all very fine to have your articles all over the place, but if they don't lead people back to your site, where they can see your company and leave their contact information, all your work may be for naught.

Active distribution means to aggressively pursue opportunities to have your articles published elsewhere. One way to do that is put a message at the end of all outgoing emails with a link to the articles on your site. Additionally, there are countless sites looking for good articles. Simply go to a search engine like Google or Yahoo! and input the words "online newsletters" and watch what happens.

Topics for your articles need to be consistent with your products and services. Many people do not feel confident in their writing ability. If this is your situation, either have someone on staff write the articles or hire a ghost writer. A ghost writer writes your articles using information you provide and you get credit for the article. This practice is more common than many people realize. Remember to put your contact information somewhere in the article. You want people to visit your site and see what you offer.

No matter what your strategy for using a web site, your success lies in how systematic your approach is. With proper planning you can gain incredible return that will pay off handsomely.

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Kathleen Gage is a business advisor, keynote speaker, and trainer that helps others gain the visibility to stay in their customer's minds. Get Gage's  4 day online marketing course by visiting www.kathleengage.com

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