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How To Market On The Web

February 23, 2010

I just attended the first Webinar presented by the ICFA in association with Casual Living entitled "What Works Online: How to Market Your Store on the Web" hosted by Penny Schneck, Electronic Sales Manager for Reed Business. This was a very informative webinar, containing lots of critical content, such as why should a business go online, how to choose a web development firm, best practices in website design, online marketing, multi-channel marketing, PHP vs .Net, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, social media, blogging, tracking results, and lots more.

The webinar streamed live at 2:00 PM EST and 11:00 AM PST and lasted approximately one hour. The good news for those of you who missed out, the ICFA will be posting it online in a few days.

Penny started by showing some very new and very pertinent data, 71% of the United States population is online, the largest segment is in the 18-49 age range and this unit is well educated and earns $100,000.00 a year and up, obviously the casual furniture industry’s target market.

Clearly this information supports the need for a casual furniture retailer and manufacturer to have a website. This site can simply be for branding and can contain product information, or the site could be for ecommerce. Data shows that if a consumer researches a product they are more likely to purchase when they enter the retail store.

Penny showed a few websites as examples of Best Practices: Telescope Casual Furniture, Sunbrella, and Crate & Barrel. She stated that the Search feature should always be in the top right hand corner of the site, a Site Map should be included and you should always ask for e-mail addresses for future correspondence. She mentioned that "Bread Crumbs" are very helpful to the consumer, since it shows the trail of pages that they came through to get where they are, this enables them to click quickly back for a quick return.

One of the most important subjects discussed was SEO, Search Engine Optimization. It is important to have the proper metatags, titles and key words, links into and out of the site are helpful, and fresh content in the form of a blog or newsletter will improve SEO. There are a few types of search engine optimization, one is organic and the other is pay per click.

Along with the business website it is important to consider email marketing campaigns and social media. This multi-channel approach is truly the best method to market your store on the web. The website can increase store sales, offer promotions, list events, and locate your store. In your brick and mortar store you should have your website on all packaging and store materials. 

Social media drives traffic back to your website and to your store, it is a complement to your website and allows you to engage in dialogue with your customer base. Penny stated that 69% of online shoppers regularly use social media, she suggested to start off with a business page on Facebook and Twitter, but most important is to establish a Blog.

I have engaged in all of these online marketing tools, you can find me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OutdoorInteriors on Twitter http://twitter.com/outdoorinterior and my Blog on Casual Living http://www.casualliving.com/blogger/3022.html Please click on the links and Become a Fan on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter and write a comment on my Blog, Outside Views

I have found these online marketing tools to be very successful. It has connected me with people across the US that are interested in Outdoor Living, Design, and Casual Furniture.

If you have any questions on how to get started or anything else pertaining to establishing a social media network, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond.

These are my Outside Views…Marcia Blake