One of my clients asked me a very crucial question when looking at their company’s overall marketing strategies:
“Will a website be enough for me to launch my company and attract new customers?”
With the increased availability of online marketing tools including search engine optimization and social media, it is more likely that users starting new businesses are able to attract higher traffic levels to their web pages.
HOWEVER, it is important to keep in mind that many audience groups continue to refer to the “traditional” communications tools such as newspapers, banners and radio broadcasting. Focusing efforts on online marketing only may result in companies missing out on a major chunk of the market and potential customers.
Although a website is an important component of marketing a product/service, it cannot be done in isolation.
When developing a marketing campaign for a new business, product or service, an entrepreneur usually asks three important questions:
Who are my target customers and how can I attract them?
What unique services do I have compared to my primary competitors? What makes me different?
How do I feel about changing/adapting a particular business strategy or structure?
However, a fourth question businesses should also consider, especially when starting an online website, is:
Have my targeted clients even heard of my company?
Having a powerful online presence will lose its value if customers do not know who you are and are not incented to visit your webpages. Even with the availability of highly sophisticated IT and search engine tools, ‘word of mouth’ still plays a pivotal role in our current industry, as do traditional marketing outlets and communication channels. Emerging businesses are likely to research companies before actually looking to create some form of relationship with the seller.
Let us take Best Buy Canada (http://www.bestbuy.ca) as an example. Best Buy has a very sophisticated webpage that provides comprehensive customer service and support to its varying customers. At present, it is safe to assume Best Buy generates significant sales as a result of its powerful online presence and effective e-commerce efforts. However, this success has only been attainable because customers are aware of the Best Buy brand, and this, correspondingly, has helped develop a loyalty to the company with users who are readily able to visit their online pages for more information.
The idea is simple – How will the market define you? Do you have a unique trait that sets you apart from your competitors? What will your clients and customers know you as which makes you different?
Following the example above, Best Buy has continuously implemented a powerful brand name that emphasizes their non-commission staff whose primary objective is to support you in your purchasing decision.
This sets Best Buy apart from their primary competitors who all work on commission.
A website can help to get your company going and expand your market reach virtually. However, businesses must also look to other vehicles to help build a powerful brand name, raise awareness, promote their product/service and attract a larger group of potential clients in the market.
Radi Hindawi is a Digital Enterprise Specialist graduate from the University of Toronto’s Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. Radi has leveraged his academic background and professional experiences in web development, online communications and digital marketing to found a digital media company and manage a successfully growing blog. For more information, please visit www.radihindawi.com
The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.