If You Build It, They Will Come
by Lisa Evenson

Okay, you have a web site. A smart, sassy, slick movie aligned 
with the high standards you've built into your offline site. 
Ambiance perfected, parts in place, t's crossed, and i's dotted. 
Now what? 

Although it's a marketing tool in itself, you'll need to market 
your web site. It's a strange oxymoron. But, similar to your 
offline shop or service, you now need to pull in visitors - not 
foot traffic, but eye traffic.

Marketers use the terms push and pull to differentiate web site 
from other, more direct forms of marketing. Push marketing 
tactics are put directly in front of your potential customer. 
We're inundated with push marketing techniques on a daily basis 
while watching television, listening to the radio, reading 
magazines, opening mail, and passing billboards. The popularity 
of the phrase 'Can you hear me, now?' attests to the success of
push marketing tactics.

Pull marketing requires action on the receiver's part. You 
discover the benefits of pull marketing when visiting web sites. 
You control when you go, where you go, if you'll wait for 
loading, where you'll navigate, and when you'll leave.

Pull marketing is most effective in retaining existing business 
and strengthening services, while push marketing is best in 
cultivating new customer interest. When combined, you'll grab 
the attention of a larger client demographic.

Web site promotion tools include:

Search Engine Submission
Search engines are automatically developed through spiders that 
crawl your site for relevant content. The first step in drawing 
targeted traffic to your web site is through URL submission to 
the major search engines. Major search engines include Excite, 
LookSmart, Alexa, AltaVista, Lycos, Northern Light, and AlltheWeb.

Search Engine Optimization
To receive heavy traffic from search engine listings, you'll 
need to appear in the first 1-3 pages of search results for 
popular search phrases. Achieving this is a full-time job in 
itself and can be compared to chasing a moving target. However, 
there are a few ways to improve your search engine rankings. 
First, develop quality inbound links, as the amount and relevancy 
of inbound links determine the status of your search engine 
placement. Second, use relevant title, key word, and description 
tags. Optimize your web site for one key phrase; using too many 
can dilute your rankings. A comprehensive key phrase research 
tool can be found at www.wordtracker.com. Finally, include rich, 
custom, web site content utilizing your chosen key words and 

Directory Submission 
Internet directories are developed manually through human 
editors. Internet directories often have stringent guidelines 
and frequently require annual submission fees ranging from $15 
to $300. The most popular directories are Yahoo! and the Open 
Directory Project (DMOZ) responsible for listings in AOL Search, 
DirectHit, HotBot, Google, Lycos, and Netscape Search. Industry 
specific directories are found by searching the phrase 'Industry 
Directory' in any search engine or directory; for instance, find 
restaurant directories by searching for 'restaurant directory' 
in Google or Yahoo! Other useful searches include 'addurl.html', 
'addlink.html', 'add URL', and 'add link', as well as the many 
variation of these terms. Due to submission quantities, search 
engine and directory listings can take up to six months to appear.

Publication and Banner Ads 
Publish Yellow Page or Magazine Ads in less space by simply
listing your web site address. With minimal display inches, your 
content and sales pitch will actually grow! Even static, paper 
ads will always be current. Banner ads, the online equivalent to 
display ads, allow a direct hot link to your web site. Place 
banner ads in strategic locations where your target audience 

Direct Marketing (paper or electronic) 
Targeted distribution of newsletters, mailers, and post cards 
lead customers into your web site to hear your full sales 
message. But, always keep your audience specific. Don't inundate 
people with information they don't need. Everything you send 
reflects your company; sending teenagers information on 
retirement savings wastes everyone's time.

Business Cards, Letterhead, Company Vehicles, and Signs 
Showcase your web site address next to your physical address and 
phone number, directing your customers toward your full, online 
sales pitch.

Email Signature 
Include a web site link on your email signature to make it easy 
for customers to click into your site.

Press Releases 
Public Relations is an often forgotten form of promotion. Submit 
a press release announcing the opening of your new web site to 
local newspapers, business associations, alumni publications, 
industry specific magazines, or national wires such as PR 
Newswire or Business Wire. Publicize business milestones in 
trade journals.

Article Submission 
Promote your new web site by writing and submitting articles for
electronic or paper publications. Require inclusion of your 
final credit paragraph that lists your web site address. If your 
article is published online, you'll receive a hot link directly
back to your site, not only increasing your traffic, but also 
improving your search engine rankings. Although considered a 
passive marketing tool, articles strengthen your credibility in 
the industry and can lead to buyer interest.

Print your web site address on giveaways like pens, hats, 
stickers, and post-it pads. Wherever your company giveaways go, 
so does your sales pitch!

Generate an Opt-in Email List 
Place a sign-up book in your shop and/or a sign-up button on 
your web site for customers interested in future promotions or 
news. Send newsletters, promotions, or noteworthy accomplishments 
to this list to generate web site traffic and repeat business.

Your web site address is a quick, one-line sales message. Instead 
of spending thousands on printing for small, frequently updated 
fliers, print generic pieces directing people to your web site. 
This is specifically beneficial to organizations with small, 
promotional mail runs.

So, give it time.  If you build it - and market it - they will 

Lisa Evenson earned her B.A. in English from California State 
University, San Bernardino. She’s taken additional MSA courses 
in finance, public relations and total quality management from 
Saint Michael’s College and business writing from Jones 
International University. Lisa is co-founder of Visual Content, 
http://www.visualcontent.com, offering custom, multimedia web 
and graphic design. Her career experience spans Investor 
Relations, Corporate Communications, and Marketing.