Special Feature Once You Build it, Get Them to Come Enticing Visitors to Your Web Site By Terry Nagi March 17, 2006 -- Buiilding a web site and assuming people will come rushing to view it without promoting it is like creating a beautiful direct mail piece and not mailing it. Without promotion you’re simply not going to get a lot of traffic to your site. To get it visited and used, you simply have to let your audience know it exists. If the number of hits are less than you'd like, here are a number of ideas that will generate additional traffic. * Put your URL on all stationery, business cards and don’t forget customer communications. If you don’t want to reprint stationery right now, add it as a pressure sensitive label. These communications normally reach all your clients and prospects many times a month. And the message is free. * Be sure to use these web address stickers on all your printed matter. With these stickers, make sure you invite people to visit. * Include your URL on your answering machine and voice messaging system. For those who call outside of normal hours, or end up being switched to voice mail, provide your web address as well as a possible reason why the caller would want to visit it right now. * Put in on your on-hold message as well. Instead of playing the local radio station with its music and news, get a computer-based on-hold message that describes your web site, and important features that should be of interest to the caller. * Include your URL on all sales materials. Initially it could be the sticker. Ultimately it should be part of the printed package. This includes direct mail, brochures, equipment lists, special mailings, etc. * Post notices of your site’s content in a printing news group. Search for and find those sites that carry important information on print or provide a dialogue opportunity. Determine if you can list your site in non-promotional ways. Provide a special information feature on your site including latest news, frequently asked questions, guidelines, etc. * Add links with your partners. If you partner with clearing houses, service bureaus, mailing houses, photographers, etc., ask them to add links to your site. At the same time, add their links to your site. * Add links to other interesting sites. Feature sites that would be of interest to your clients because they visited your URL. This could be the local weather site if you have visitors, a mapping site if you’re hard to find, connection to local tourists association if you have people staying overnight, etc. Add a section to your site that contains to these related businesses. Then contact the web masters of those sites to request a return link. * Start an e-mail newsletter showing up in your customer’s mailboxes every week, bi-weekly, or monthly, with important information, such as how to use your desktop better, what’s new in the digital world, etc. This can be even more valuable to your name recognition than your web site address. Send out a first issue and allow people to cancel if they wish. Also ask them for their opinion of the newsletter and what items they’d like to see included. Always provide the opportunity for the reader to return to your site for more information on any newsworthy item. * Host a giveaway. Announce a drawing for a free “something or other” once a month. Those who sign the guestbook are included. People who reregister every month, are eligible to win. * Use outdoor signage so people who drive by your plant and offices know your web site address. It is amazing how many people who have never heard of you, can simply by driving by, and the technically savvy print buyer might just contact you. * Encourage people to bookmark your site. Simply asking often results in it actually happening. Provide updated information every month to encourage people to point to your bookmark. * Add an on-line newsletter. In addition to your e-mail newsletter, leave it on-line for review by those not on your e-mail list. If possible, create a second newsletter, available only on your web site, that helps people make their print more productive and valuable. * Add a signature file to your e-mails. Then all e-mails sent out should not only include your web site location, but a statement of what’s new and exciting about it, for those who may come back to take a look. * Obtain alternate domain names. If your main web address is commercialprinting.com, add the name cpdirectmail.com to publicize your mailing facility, cpdesk.com to publicize your desktop capabilities, cpdigitalprint.com to publicize your digital printing capabilities, etc. Then list all these with appropriate search engines to make sure that a print buyer seeking a desktop provider doesn’t overlook you because you are known mainly as a printer. Even doing one of these will make your web site more valuable to you. Doing all of these will significantly increase the number of hits your web site produces and potentially bring you increased business.