The chart below shows that approximately 60 per cent of visitors to websites get there by using a search engine. The best way to promote an online tool such as a website is to use an online marketing technique (search engine, email messages, linking through to other websites).

Even though online marketing techniques are the most effective, offline-marketing techniques should not be overlooked. Include your URL (website address) on your business cards, on your brochures and so on. Also, make sure you allocate some marketing spend to online marketing efforts.

Following is a summary of the most successful methods to market your online presence and drive visitors to your website.

Search engines

For your website to be displayed in search results (e.g. Google, Yahoo, and Bing) you need to make sure the site has been found and indexed by the search engine. This will normally occur within two to three months of the site going live, as long as your site is linked to other sites on the web.

The result is a list of all the pages on your site the search engine has found. These pages are available for all web searchers looking for your product and/or service.

Also refer to the Resources section within this brochure for a list of country specific search engines.

The result is a list of all the pages on your site the search engine has found. These pages are available for all web searchers looking for your product and/or service.

A country-specific search engine may be useful to promote your website if you have secured a country-specific domain name, for example ‘.jp’ for Japan. You would register your site with Google Japan or the other Japanese search engines listed, making it easier for users in Japan to find your website.

Key phrases and meta-tags are important. Always place yourself ‘in the shoes of your end user’ and think what words or phrases they type into a search engine to find your product or service. Don’t guess! Talk to your customers, distributors, suppliers, and employees.

DigitalIQ tips

  • Use your key phrases in your web content (i.e. page headings, body text), the HTML Title tag and meta-tags (such as keyword and description).
  • Use anchor text links on your keywords. This will maximise linking opportunities within your own website.

 

Pay-per-click online advertising

Google adwords and Yahoo/Overture paid search are worth considering. You pay an advertising fee to have your online ad appear in a sponsored link area on a search engine results page when particular nominated keywords and phrases are searched on by users. Your company is charged only when the ad is clicked by the user. This is a good way to drive traffic to your website and to get your website on the first page of the search rankings. Refer to the Pay-per-click checklist.

Email marketing campaigns

The use of email is an excellent way to raise awareness of your company and its offerings. Links in emails can be used to direct existing and potential customers to a particular page on your website. It is a cost effective way to communicate in a targeted fashion with a large number of people.

Depending on volume the cost can be as low as 3–5 cents per email. When sending out an email to a list of potential customers be sure that you comply with the Spam Act 2003.

For further information on the Spam Act 2003 and best-practice guidelines for sending emails visit www.acma.gov.au

Hosted email campaigns can provide your company with reporting and analysis including the number of people who receive the email, the number who open the email, and the number who then clicked a URL in your email. Many online media and marketing companies offer hosted email services.

DigitalIQ tips

  • Conduct a search with the keywords ‘email marketing’ to find a list of providers.
  • Refer to the Email marketing checklist for pointers.

Links

Good links provide benefits that are two-fold. They are helpful in obtaining a high page ranking in search engines for your website and they also drive targeted traffic from those linked websites to your website.

Link popularity refers to the number of quality links that a search engine has found for your web page. The more links from sites that are highly regarded in your product or service area that are linking to your website the better.

DigitalIQ tips

  • All links are not the same, as those websites linking to your web pages have link popularity scores as well. The idea is for you to have web pages linking to your site that have high link popularity.
  • Avoid link farms and only link to websites that are in the same industry or are for products and services that are complementary to your own.
  • Internal links (e.g. linking from your home page to a product description page) are also valuable and help guide a customer through your sales funnel.

Blogs and social networking sites

Although not for everyone the use of blogs and/or participation in social networking can help to promote your business and further engagement with your customers.

Provide information and detail the offerings

When providing information and detailing the offerings be sure to keep in mind that an exporter website performs three essential tasks.

1. An exporter digital strategy establishes organisational credibility.  

Often with online export, the website is the first point of contact between a company and a prospective export customer. The website must make the visitor feel at ease and assured that your company is capable, reliable and worth doing business with.

The best way to do this is to provide information describing who you are and what you do.

Evidence of capability such as customer case-studies and testimonials (including domestic customers) can be effective.

Prospective export customers also like to see Security and Privacy statements on your website. It puts them at ease and encourages them to contact you via email, perhaps leave their email address, or complete transactions on your website.

2. An exporter website facilitates use

Your website design should make it easy for site visitors to find information and complete tasks such as purchasing a product or sending an enquiry. A well-designed website may display product information in the form of a catalogue, list sales support or distribution information, and allow the visitor to place an order or purchase a product.

DigitalIQ tips

 

  • You should have no hidden costs when providing pricing information on your website, and make sure to disclose all information regarding warranty, returns policy, and liabilities.
  • For markets where your language is not the main language, translating key pages (home page, product/service information, contact details) into the language of the user can enhance user utility and support proper search engine indexing.

Use a ‘human’ translator, as accuracy and cultural understanding is critical.

3. An exporter website encourages users to revisit and reuse it

A good way to do this is to constantly refresh the information, give fixed period product or service offers, provide free information, and use email newsletters containing your website address to direct users back to the website. Find ways to engage with the regional business community.