Keep in mind that you want to have fresh content, and that periodic updates and maintenance will have to be performed on your website. You don’t want a website that is obsolete or contains erroneous information. "It’s important that these costs are identified and agreed upon up front with the website design companies to eliminate any surprises in the future," reminds Shaffer.
Tell people about it
Once you have your online presence, you have to shout it from the hills so people know where to find it. Get the message out there where people can see it. With that in mind, make sure to include your website address:
- On your business cards, rental contracts, brochures, ads, mailings - any printed materials
- On your delivery trucks
- On your equipment with decals
- In your e-mail signature, so it goes out with every e-mail you send
- On your front door
The best, but consequently most costly, way to market your website is to pay search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, to direct people to your site.
"Suppose you own a party rental store in Kalamazoo and a potential customer wants to rent a tent along with tables, chairs and other items," says Shaffer. "If your prospect goes onto Google and types in ‘party rental,’ ‘table rental,’ ‘chair rental,’ etc., you can instruct Google to display a link to your website at the top or side of the search results page along with a short description of your business.
"If your prospect clicks on the link, they will be redirected to your site," he continues. "Since the web knows geographically approximately where your potential customer is accessing the web, you can arrange with the search engine to only display your advertising link if the prospect is close to Kalamazoo."
How will you know if all your marketing efforts are working? Depending on the hosting company you use, you’ll have access to different site analysis tools, such as hit counters.
"Using these tools will allow you to see how many people are visiting your site on a daily basis," says Dick Detmer, rental business consultant. "It’s also important to analyze the effectiveness of the other advertising channels that send prospects to your website. You could have a top-notch website, but if nobody goes there, it won’t matter."