Web Presence Promotion

Web Presence Promotion

Stephen Burgess (Victoria University, Australia), Carmine Carmine Sellitto (Victoria University, Australia) and Stan Karanasios (Leeds University Business School and AIMTech Research Group, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-224-4.ch008
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Abstract

There are literally millions of businesses with a Web presence on the Web and more and more being added every day, all competing to attract customers. Building a Website without any promotion is likely to result in little traffic. Therefore a Webpresence must be well positioned to maximize its potential. The most sophisticated and captivating Website is ineffective if it cannot be found by customers. A Web presence that is effectively promoted can also provide competitive advantage. From this perspective the promotion of a Web presence is one of the most critical steps involved in its development. Despite this, this step is often one of the most neglected tasks by small businesses. The Web itself provides a number of different promotional channels for small businesses. Outside of the Web the use of traditional media can also play a vital role in promotion of a Web presence. In this chapter we suggest that online and offline methods should complement one another and by using both approaches a business is better placed to reap the maximum benefits from an investment into a Web presence. Although the purpose of this chapter is to discuss the promotion of the Web presence, the overarching objective of any Web presence and marketing plan of course is successful promotion of the business. In other words, by promoting the Web presence the business is also being promoted at the same time. Figure 1 illustrates the independencies between the offline and online promotion methods of marketing the Web presence and the business.
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Introduction

There are literally millions of businesses with a Web presence on the Web and more and more being added every day, all competing to attract customers. Building a Website without any promotion is likely to result in little traffic. Therefore a Web presence must be well positioned to maximize its potential. The most sophisticated and captivating Website is ineffective if it cannot be found by customers. A Web presence that is effectively promoted can also provide competitive advantage. From this perspective the promotion of a Web presence is one of the most critical steps involved in its development. Despite this, this step is often one of the most neglected tasks by small businesses.

The Web itself provides a number of different promotional channels for small businesses. Outside of the Web the use of traditional media can also play a vital role in promotion of a Web presence. In this chapter we suggest that online and offline methods should complement one another and by using both approaches a business is better placed to reap the maximum benefits from an investment into a Web presence.

Although the purpose of this chapter is to discuss the promotion of the Web presence, the overarching objective of any Web presence and marketing plan of course is successful promotion of the business. In other words, by promoting the Web presence the business is also being promoted at the same time. Figure 2 illustrates the independencies between the offline and online promotion methods of marketing the Web presence and the business.

Figure 2.

Promoting the web presence and the business (adapted from Karanasios, 2008)

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Approaches To Web Presence Promotion

The Web presents a number of useful channels to promote a Web presence. As a first step, a business should update existing forms of Web promotion to include the business e-mail and URL. This means updating online directories such as the Yellow Pages® and any other reference to the business.

One phenomenon that most businesses are probably aware of is the popularity amongst Internet users to search for information, business details and products using search engines. Search engines are a popular way to find a Website, with other popular means being links from other (third party) Websites and promotion of the Website through traditional media (such as television, radio, newspapers and billboards).

This means that being listed in search engines should generally be a priority for small business. However, it also emphasizes that a business should not ‘place all their eggs in one basket’ as a mixture of online and offline approaches are typically ideal. Understanding this, this chapter will discuss a range of Web presence promotional techniques.

Before choosing any medium for promotion, whether it is a search engine, portal, a directory or small advertisements, as a basic precedent the following points must be considered. When considering these points it is useful to reflect upon the original goals of the Web presence, which will aid a business to measure the advantages and drawbacks of each approach.

  • The initial and ongoing cost of the promotion

  • The reputation of the promotion provider

  • The effect the medium may have on the image of the business

  • The potential to engage new and existing markets

  • The presence of competitors.

This section begins by describing the most imperative task of promotion through search engines. It will describe and discuss various other levels of Web promotion. The final section of this chapter is devoted to e-mail newsletters as a Web means of promoting the Web presence and marketing the business to existing and potential customers.

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