Be Creative! Utilize your Website as a Marketing Machine

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Last week I received an email from my father and it was link to an online marketing campaign sponsored by ESPN and GMC. The campaign is called "Keys to Victory". It's an online contest that allows the website visitor to select the football team, who they think will win, for the upcoming Monday Night NFL game, register online, and be entered to potentially win a brand-new 2007 GMS Sierra pickup truck. I then noticed that ESPN also formed several other contests, in sponsorship with other companies, to help promote their products online - WOW, what a great concept.

What caught my eye about the GMC "Keys to Victory" campaign is that the contest website is extremely interactive and user-friendly. When you first come to the site, Joe Theismann appears on the screen and starts talking and moving around. He provides a short introduction about the contest and then brings you immediately to the main website where you are presented with various options, such as, hear Theismann's 2 minute trivia, scout some talent, draft a friend, or fire off your pick for the contest.

If you remember, AOL created something very similar a few months back called AOL Gold Rush. This innovative concept that these larger companies are starting to invest millions of dollars in is a great way for them to generate leads while promoting their products online. This idea is becoming more and more popular and many companies are beginning to dream up the next concept to use their website as a marketing machine.

Ok, I know what you're thinking - it's much easier for these companies to create and launch a product campaign of this scale because they have millions of dollars to invest in the contest's design, development and maintenance. Yes, you are correct and this is 100% true; however, the idea I want to get across is that these companies are effectively using their website as a marketing machine and we should be able to do the same with ours. I'm not suggesting you have to go out and create a completely interactive Flash-based contest to promote your products online, which breaks your bank; but what I am suggesting is that your website does not only have to be used for the display of content and information about your company... that's boring. Be creative! Utilize your website as a marketing machine and generate that buzz.

Here are a few ideas that may fit into your business:
Recommend or Offer Free Online Tools - Offering your customers with free resources and online tools to help them with their business is a great way to show your customers that you care and want to help them succeed. If you continue to add new tools and resources, your customers will be sure to come back and visit your website time and time again.

Create a company Blog or Community Forum - Educating your users on topics in your industry or providing them with the ability to interact with others on various issues is a great way to create a buzz and keep them coming back.
Create a Contest and offer FREE Products - Like with these other companies, a contest can be a great resource to create a buzz and generate new leads, while promoting your products or services online.

Allow your Customers to create a Profile on your Website - Depending on your business, this may or may not be a viable option for your company. But if you could find a way to make it work, allowing your customers to upload pictures, advertise their company and interact with others for free is another amazing way to generate new leads and keep your existing customers coming back.

As you can see, there are many ways to create a buzz for your business by using your website as a marketing machine. And as you're reading this article, you're probably thinking of some creative and innovative ways that might relate to your business better than the options I've provided above. If this is the case, great... go get started. If you're still struggling on coming up with ideas for your next website marketing campaign, don't worry. I recommend asking some fellow colleagues to help get your started or even better; ask one of your existing customers who you have a close working relationship with. Sometimes customers are the best resource for us business owners considering they are the ones who expect from us and we are naturally the ones who are embedded deep within our business that sometimes we can't see over the fence.

I hope this article has provided you with a few ideas to get the ball rolling and to realize that your website can be used as a marketing machine to help create a buzz for your business. I know none of these solutions are the cure-all but as with anything for your business, you must continually think of the next big idea, the next way to market your business and the next way to increase your sales... otherwise, you're in the wrong business.

Be creative! Utilize your website as a marketing machine.
And best of luck to YOU!

Daryl H. Bryant is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Horizons, helps his clients achieve online success through search engine marketing and customized website solutions.

 

 

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