Articles and Publications
Web Site Welcome Mats
Some strategies to enhance your site's appeal, and attract more visitors to it
What good is a Web site if nobody visits it? The number of massage sites is staggering. A recent search [in 2001] found 3,270 documents under "Massage Therapy," 4,000 documents under "Massage," and 1,458 under "Massage Therapist." You need to make your site stand out.
Getting people to your site is only the first step. You need to inspire them to linger. It does you relatively little good to have overflowing traffic at your site if it's boring or difficult to navigate. Your home page is the best page for building rapport and establishing credibility. Encourage visitors to spend time at your site, and return regularly by designing attractive pages that have appealing, readable (12 point or larger) typeface; incorporate simple graphic elements with ample white space; load quickly (you may need to forgo those cute, but often annoying animated icons); has a clear table of contents on the home page; and provides easy access to other pages without needing to first return to the home page.
Make Your Site Inviting
- If you decide to design your own Web site, refer to the Composer feature on Netscape Navigator. More advanced tools such as macromedia's Dreamweaver make building and maintaining a web site much easier.
- Create a section for electronic news releases and media materials (be sure to update them with announcements about workshops, open houses and specials).
- Highlight new health and wellness developments and research findings.
- Design a Q & A section where people can e-mail you questions and you post answers on the site. Also allow them the option of a private response.
- Update information on a regular basis so people return frequently: include a Tip of the Week (or Month); hold contests; and sprinkle quotes, anecdotes, and trivia facts. Then store past information in an "Archive" section that people can access.
- Create a quarterly or even monthly newsletter.
- Offer links to other sites that would potentially interest your clients.
- Offer printable desktop items such as inspirational posters and stretching guides (be sure to get copyright permission if you do not do the design work).
- Post success stories and testimonials (again, get permission first).
- Offer discount incentives for online purchasing of products and gift certificates.
- Promote online appointment scheduling by offering package deals.
- Provide a way for visitors to give you feedback (e.g., a "Contact Me" form, a guest book, a direct e-mail link, or a survey).
- Purchase a digital camera so you can take pictures at events and directly upload them to your site.
- Include a reference list of your favorite health-related books (plus you can link with Amazon.com and get a rebate if a visitor from your site buys a book).
- Print your Web site address on all your promotional materials (e.g., business cards, brochures, fliers, newsletters).
- Send out a special mailing to your client list announcing your Web site.
- Send press releases to local media about your Web site.
- Notify your Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau about your site.
- Post your address with regional Web site directories and city sites (usually the listing is free but a charge is assessed if you want a direct link to your site).
- Link your site to other massage-related sites (contact the Webmaster or site manager to ascertain if linking is an option).
- Crosslink (provide reciprocal links) your site with affiliated sites. For example, if you specialize in working with fibromyalgia, link up with some of the online fibromyalgia support groups and resource organizations).
- Advertise on the Web classified sections.
- Purchase advertising on sites that you feel would be a likely source of people to visit your site.
- Join newsgroups, chat rooms, forums, and list serves. You are not allowed to directly promote yourself, but you can list your Web site address as part of your signature line. Check out yack media services for a chat room directory, and Yahoo! Groups for creating your own list serve (by the way, there are several bodywork-oriented groups already there).
- Send broadcast E-mails to specific target markets inviting them to visit your
Web site. These are mostly used when announcing a new site, additional services,
special promotions, and upcoming events. Broadcast E-mails can also notify people
that you have information on your site that is of benefit to them (e.g., a
specific article or tips).
Use broadcast e-mails judiciously. If they are not substantive, they will be viewed as junk mail!
- Deliver E-newsletters to clients and prospects.
Visit the following sites for online marketing tips
- WebPromote.com "the intelligent internet marketing resource"
- whatsnextonline.com "What's Next Online Marketing: Building online business sales"
- Website 101: "Small Business Internet Tutorial for e-commerce Entrepeneurs"
- The Inernet Marketing Center [Ed: (Apr-2019) Since 2012 the IMC is defunct.]