Once you see your website as more than an online marketing brochure, but as a vital tool that impacts your operational strategy as well as your sales strategy, your next question should be, “How do I get people to visit my website?”

Traditional marketing efforts, including print, radio, television and outdoor advertising, are all vaialbe options, provided they direct people back to your site. Also, encouraging sales people to use your site as a tool should be part of your strategy. Still, there are other ways to drive people to your site, including e-mail marketing and online directories. But perhaps the most effective of internet methods is SEO, or search engine optimization.

To explain why SEO is so effective, let’s compare it to traditional advertising options (such as print, radio, television, and outdoor signs) in two very important ways. The first is looking at who your traditional advertising channels reach.

Chances are the majority of the people hearing your radio spots, reading your newspaper ads, watching your television commercials, or seeing your billboards are not even your customers. So the majority of your ad dollars are being spent reaching people you don’t even need to reach. And for those few potential customers who are exposed to these traditional ads, chances are they don’t need you the moment they see or hear your ad. So you are spending money in the hopes that they’ll think of you three weeks later when they actually need you. It’s no wonder businesses go crazy wondering what their marketing dollars are getting them!

But search engine marketing changes all of that. We discussed in a previous blog the sheer number of searches currently taking place. With an effective search engine optimization strategy in place, you can begin guiding the searches you want (be it based on industry, geography, specific product name or category, etc) to your site. And the best part is people who come across your site through search engines are actually looking for your products or services that instant!

The second advantage SEO has over traditional advertising is the ability to track and analyze the effectiveness of your campaign with the flexability to adjust it accordingly. The old saying, “half of my ad dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half,” does not apply to SEO.

We can research who is currently searching for what in search engines and which of your competitors they find. We can also see how many people are finding your site, how they’re finding it, what they’re doing once they are on your site, and how much money they’re spending which of your products.

Imagine if a billboard could tell you percisley the number of people who looked at your billboard, whether or not they became your customers as a result of the billboard, what about that billboard attracted them to your business, and how much money they spent with you simply because of that billboard?

Well that is exactly what we can do with an effective SEO strategy. Is it any wonder businesses are now moving huge chunks of their traditional ad budgets over to the internet?

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