If you build it they will come….
When it comes to websites, this is true, but only to a certain extent. The results you get from your website depend on many factors and building a website is only the first step, and not a panacea to bring buyers to your door.

A website is just another marketing tool, and although it’s the primary marketing tool for most companies today, every business is different. Your website marketing strategy should depend on many factors and one-size-fits-all doesn’t apply to websites.

Developing a website marketing strategy for your product or service
Here are some of the questions to answer before developing a website marketing strategy:
1. Is your business local or national?
2. Are your products or services inexpensive and simple to buy or expensive and complicated?
3. Is your product or service something that people would search for on the Web or something they would most likely get a referral for?
4. What is the competition like for your product or service? Are there many other companies in your space or is your product or service specialized and unique, filling a certain niche?

Local or National
If your product or service is generally sold locally, search engine optimization (SEO) is easier to accomplish. People will tend to search for your business using the name of your town or state, which narrows the field significantly. Be sure to register your site with Google Local Business. It’s free to register and searches for your company the include your city will bring up your site and contact information.

For national products, bringing traffic to your site can be more challenging, and depending on the nature of your product, a search engine optimization program may be required to boost traffic.

Simple and inexpensive or complicated and costly?
For products and services that are simple to understand and easy to buy on the web with no human interaction, search engine optimization is very important. If you can drive people to your site and give them the right information when they get there, you will most likely garner sales from your website. In this case, a comprehensive search engine optimization program could be very beneficial.

If your products or services are more complicated, search engine optimization is also important, but in a different way. If your product/service is specific and your market is relatively small, search engine optimization will be easier to accomplish. A well-designed, search engine-friendly website may be all you need to drive traffic to your site.

Web sales or referrals?
Even if your product/service is inexpensive and simple to buy, it might not be something that people tend to search for on the Web. Some things people just feel more comfortable getting a referral for. Things like massages, local restaurants, or more expensive products/services like contractors and lawyers, people like to ask for referrals first, and then they may go to the website to learn more about the company they were referred to. In this situation, make sure your website has all the information they need to sell them when they get there and that it’s easy to find. Search engine optimization is still important, but not the focus of your website marketing program.

Competitive market or niche product?
If the marketplace you compete in is extremely competitive and people tend to buy your product or service on the web, search engine optimization should be the focus of your website marketing strategy. However, if you have a niche product that is very specialized, a search engine-friendly website may be sufficient in conjunction with a few simple traffic-building tactics.

Developing a website marketing strategy you can afford
These are some general guidelines in developing a website marketing strategy for your company. Although search engine optimization is important to all types of websites, in some cases, it’s more important than others.

Once you’ve determined what the focus of your website marketing strategy should be, the next step is implementing a program you can afford. Search engine optimization programs can cost thousands of dollars and if your product or service warrants it, it’s well worth the investment. However if this isn’t in your budget, there are inexpensive ways to drive traffic to your site. It’s always best to start with a well-designed, search-engine-friendly website, but if your website is a few years old and you don’t have the budget to revamp it, you can still drive traffic to your site with a paid search engine optimization program like Google Adwords. Learn more about the basics types of search engine optimization.