The days of the static website are long over. But even today many companies, for fear of the technology or costs associated with a state of the art web presence continue to lean on out dated tools and practices when it comes to marketing their products and services on the web. If you are not actively engaging your customers with a Living Web Presence a large percentage of the money you are spending on your current website is going to waste. Today’s web users understand what is possible in the world of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blogs, Interactive News sites, Forums and More. If your site does not grab your customer’s attention with interactive features, you’re missing out on the opportunity to spread your marketing message.
It still boggles the mind the number of hours each week the some users spend on the web on sites like My Space, Facebook, Twitter and others. These are people who are looking to contribute to the web conversation, to have their voice heard. Your website can leverage these kinds of people and driver visitors to your site by creating an online community where all voices can be heard. As long as they are focused and managed to stay on a topic relative to your business, offering interactive features like forums, galleries and blogs gives your visitors a chance to be heard. It can be as simple as posting or answering a question on one of your products in a help or new users forum, posting photos of how they have used your product in a gallery of user photos, commenting on a news story, or granting some “super users” that you feel are knowledge experts on a topic the ability to blog on your site. Bloggers can be your employees, long time customers or even experts in your field.
Just like in the brick and mortar world, 90% of selling is getting customers in the door (or in this case to your homepage). Add this kind of user generated content to your own content kept fresh and interesting through the use of a WCM (Web Content Management) system and you will give users a reason to keep returning and spread the word about your site.