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Articles

The Web's role in the Marketing Mix

article by: Kelsy Flewitt

Most of us know that it's essential for almost all businesses to have a website, whether it's a basic site with static content about the business or a full fledged e-commerce site. What most businesses struggle with is how to make their website an effective tool in the marketing mix.

Like any marketing piece a website needs to be integrated cohesively with the rest of the marketing plan. The first step in doing this is, ensuring that your website address (domain) is present wherever your contact information is listed: on your business card, advertisements and email signatures. Also getting rid of email addresses that don't extend your brand is a good idea (hotmail, gmail). Now that people are aware of the site don't confuse them when they visit by having brand design elements that don't match your other marketing pieces. Ensure the same colours, designs, graphics and logos are used throughout all marketing.

The next step in integration is ensuring the content on your site is a part of the communication loop your target audience will be following. For example, a promotion you are advertising in print media should push the customer to the website for more details and the website details should push the customer to the business location for pick-up. Once the customer is in the store they should be told to check back to the website for another piece of information that pushes them through the communication loop once again.

Your website has the potential to be the most inexpensive and yet the most effective tool in your marketing toolbox, as long as long as you make the most of it. Making the most of your website can be as simple as having current information available. Any information on the site that is dated over a month old will make customers wonder if you know what you're doing. Not to mention, having consistent updates will encourage customers to visit the site more often which will strengthen your search engine listings.

Making the most of your site could also mean creating a supplemental web presence through social networking sites. By understanding and using Blogging, Facebook, YouTube and Digg, you can add another communication and traffic driving tier to your marketing mix. Social networking allows customers to interact informally with your business and is an excellent market research tool. Social networking sites also provide a good way to 'soft launch' other marketing mix pieces. An example of this would be if you had a new product to launch, test it out or provide information about it on your Facebook page or Blog and ask for feedback.

Making your site an effective part of the marketing mix is relatively simple; it just takes the know-how, integration, maintenance and bit of creativity. For more information on the topics covered in this article please contact us!

Kelsy Flewitt is a 14 Theories Inc. Project Manager kelsy.flewitt@14theories.com