VIA Idea #3 Building a Website – The Team Approach

You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to do the work of an electrician or ask an architect to install the plumbing. Each performs the tasks they were trained for, to produce a finished home. So it is with building a website.

Realistically, very few people are proficient in each aspect that launching a website requires: copywriter, designer, programmer, and marketer. Each component is equally important: the copywriter, or content developer, thinks about purpose and audience to craft a compelling message that humans and search engines will understand. The designer uses CSS, graphics, images, and navigation to present the information in a logical and memorable way.

The programmer writes CGIs, Flash applications or Ajax Web 2.0 applications He or she also creates databases that allow interaction, data mining and transaction history. Data mining allows you to track your prospect and customer information so you can send timely notices to them. Your programmer may also work with XML, handle database administration, and connect sites to existing databases.

The marketer sees a website as a powerful tool in the tool pouch, looking at it as one part of the overall business stategy. That strategy includes customer relations management, sales promotion and public relations. The marketer also works to bring people to the website with blogs, social networks, paid searches and a myriad of other actions that increase traffic. A marketer will watch the pageviews and tracking to validate the effectiveness of Web design work.

If we’ve convinced you that a friend’s cousin’s son is not your best bet for such an important part of your business, let’s talk about the goals VIA Marketing’s Web development team can help you with. Visit www.viamarketing.com to see a few of our client’s websites.

VIA Idea #2: LinkedIn for Opportunity

If you value professional networking, you’ll join LinkedIn. Numbers alone make a strong case: according to Nielsen Online, LinkedIn grew 320 percent from March 2007 to March 2008. LinkedIn reports 43 million members in more than 170 industries in 200 countries. The LinkedIn blog claims this site is growing at the rate of one new member per second!

Because of the power of referrals, we need to connect with one another more than ever. Who among us hasn’t, at sometime or another, gotten the job because of someone we know?

Here are 10 reasons to use LinkedIn:

1. Increase your visibility by creating a user-friendly virtual business card.
2. Improve your connectability by posting a complete professional bio.
3. Advance yourself, your website and your blog up the Google PageRank ladder. People are searching for you; LinkedIn comes up high in page rankings.
4. Scope out the competition, customers, partners and others.
5. Ask for advice. With LinkedInAnswers, you can ask business-related questions to your network and to the entire network.
6. Gauge the health of a company—note employee turnover and if key people have recently left.
7. Track startup companies that may be potential clients or competitors.
8. Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks. Find out about the person who used to have the job you’ve applied for or learn about a department’s manager.
9. Increase the relevancy of your job search. Find companies that need your specific skills and learn about the company before you apply.
10. Make a job interview go smoother by learning about the person you’re meeting. Maybe you went to the same school or both enjoy skiing.

Social networking values relationship building over transactions. It takes some time and effort to build up that network. And, as with nearly anything, the more effort you expend, the greater the reward. But, even a little time invested in LinkedIn can pay handsomely.

Learn more at www.linkedin.com

VIA Idea #1: Invest in Paid Search as Part of Your Marketing Plan

Internet searching is so commonplace that Webster lists “Google” as a verb.  People ask search engines questions; they seek information and even how to spell a word.  Your prospects are searching for companies that can provide what they need.  They are looking for you.

There are two types of listings that show up as a result of a search.  The natural listing is the wider portion to the left side of the page.  Paid listings are the ads on the top and the right side of the page. 

Research found that 20 percent of searchers click on the paid ads when looking for retail sites.  And most importantly, 3 percent of those bought something. In comparison, a direct mailer that nets a three percent response is considered excellent. 

They also found visitors from both the paid and the natural listings spend an average of six minutes on a website.  It’s because they are looking at something that is relevant.

Here’s how it works:
you set the monthly budget for paid searches and can cancel at any time. Your ads drive people to your website, where they’ll find more information about you.  You will be capturing the attention of a prospect at the time they need your product or service.  Paid searches are available on Google, Google partner sites, Yahoo, Facebook and other sites. What a wonderful world!

Email us today for help in setting up paid ads or to assist with your entire marketing plan. We’ll show you how to track the results and tweak the words.

Statistics found in Advertising Age and compiled recently by Compete (a unit of TMS Media).