Marketers in 2009 experienced a brutal year. Trade show attendance is down due to limited corporate travel; some trade publications simply closed up shop because of decreased ad revenues. Sales were harder to come by and often, optimal margins were not realized due to desperation in competing companies driving bids down.
There is a shift in the landscape of marketing, however, that has been gradually happening since websites came into vogue in 1995. Traditional or “off line” marketing in venues like trade shows or print advertising is being supplemented by “on line” promotion. Savvy marketers are using their website as a sales tool. To do so, they are providing their clients all the information they need to make a purchasing decision, including pricing, product specs and corporate methodology. For lead generation, password protected, downloadable, free information is given away to capture opt in email addresses. This tactic forms an unspoken bond of trust between the prospect and the company.
For the cost of one print ad design and insertion, a corporate website could be optimized for search engines. Optimization of a website will not fully replace all of the marketing tactics at your disposal, but it will provide the best measurable return for the money. It will help browsers to easily stumble across your website when doing a search related to your services. Your primary focus should be on the website content. Does it effectively sell your products and services? Is it easy to navigate? Does it compel anyone to act? Will it allow you to capture prospect names? Would someone be compelled to call you after finding your site upon randomly searching Google, Yahoo or Bing?