Online marketing is more than just having a website that shows your company logo and talks about what you do. Online marketing is a complete strategy to connect with people who want what you can do. And it can be very profitable if you do it well.

Start your online marketing strategy by asking yourself these questions. Your answers will help you build an online marketing program that will serve you well for many years.

1. Who do you want to attract to your website?

Like any marketing plan you need to know who you are targeting. Who are your best customers? Who wants and needs what you offer? You should already know this but it’s good to review and fine tune.

Knowing who you want to attract to your website will help you build the right website with the right content to attract the right people.

2. What will they be looking for?

A major reason people go online is to get help. They want answers. They might start with Google or Yahoo but you want them to end their search at your website.

So you need to know what they are looking for. If you already have customers then you should know what they want. How does your product or service help them? If you’re not sure, ask them.

3. How can you help them accomplish what they want?

If you know your customers and you understand what they’re trying to accomplish, you can provide these answers with your website. This is how you attract new potential customers. So think about how you can provide answers to people’s questions.

Maybe you write short articles that provide solutions to their problems. Maybe you have an “advice column” on your website. You could encourage customers to ask questions and you answer them. Some websites provide technical information or other resources that help people. Others provide forums or communities to share ideas.

Decide how you might package the information your customers are looking for and how it could be delivered using the Internet. Remember to do it in a way that helps Google direct them to your website.

Next Steps

Next, you want to build (or fine-tune) your website. Make it user-friendly and helpful. Provide enough information so people know you are a knowledgeable and trustworthy resource. Help them understand how your product or service might help them meet their goals.

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Here are a few tips to make sure your website attracts the right people and converts them into qualified leads and new customers.

Make it easy and convenient for people to contact you

Have a contact form they can use to send you a message. Create a link to this contact form on every page so it’s easy to find. And make sure someone responds to these inquiries right away. Also, put your phone number on every web page so people don’t have to hunt for it.

contact signTell people who you are

People want to do business with real people. If your website says nothing about the people behind your business, you’ll lose some visitors. Have an “About” page that tells who you are and what you do.

Give some history or share a funny story that helps them know more about your company. List the names of the people who own or manage your company. Make it personal and detailed and you’ll find more people will contact you to do business.

Use your website to help people

Remember, you attract people to your website by helping them. Google will send you the right people if you have the right content on your website. Focus on providing tools, information and connections that will help people.

In the 21st Century, marketing is all about helping. Customers know they have many choices. And they won’t be sold by pushy sales pitches. They want to do business with people who are in business to help them. Your website can be a valuable first step in bringing these people to your business.