March Masthead
Welcome to the third issue of "Marketing Matters," a free monthly e-newsletter with tips and ideas for marketing your business. Our last issue was dedicated to printing and print brokering. This month we address websites, web design and website marketing. This is part one of a three part series. Next month we'll tackle search engine optimization and its importance to your business website presence.
 Why is a Website Important
 to Your Business?

If you don't believe in the web, have not jumped into the game, or are just overwhelmed with the hype and want it to go away...then consider the following:
  • Neilsen studies estimate that over 50-million people in North America access the Internet, and nearly 6-million of these people have already purchased a product using the Internet.
  • Online spending on business-to-business marketing will grow by 8% during the coming year, according to a new report from market-based strategy consultancy, AMR International.
  • Despite the overall decline in advertising, online advertising spending grew by 11.5% in quarter four of 2009, the report revealed.
  • The majority of marketing professionals polled in the survey plan to increase their spending on content marketing initiatives in 2010 and are planning to allocate an all time high of 33% of their overall budget to Internet marketing efforts.
So, what does all this mean to your business?
Simply stated, if you have an online presence, you are in a growing community of businesses that is riding high on an ever-increasing marketing platform. If you do not have an online presence, you are missing a terrific sales and promotional opportunity, and your competitors would like you to keep it that way.
Mechanics of a website
1. Domain name (
2. Intuitive design with text, photos and other imagery
3. Programming to make the site visible on the Internet
4. Interactive a form to gather client data
5. An online storefront to generate immediate sales
6. A marketing strategy to direct customers to your website
7. A hosting company
      a. Provides you with the space to host your website
      b. Provides you with email addresses
      c. Provides you with a means of measuring response
          and site effectiveness
So how do you develop a website?
There are numerous resources for website development. You can build a website yourself with such programs as Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Creative Suite, The HTML Editor and Visual Site Designer, to name a few. Or you can use an online web template service and load your graphics into a pre-formatted website shell for very little cost.
If you're interested in a custom website, and you do not have the ability or time to devote to it yourself, then the best alternative is to hire a professional web design firm.
The advantage of working with a design firm is that you will have a business partner to help you with every aspect of your site. A design firm will establish your brand (or keep it intact), assist you with writing, design, programming, email set-up, storefront creation, and optimization to get your site noticed.
A design firm can make changes to your site as needed, or they can develop a backend content management system that allows you to make changes yourself. They can also provide monthly website statistics to help you understand how well your site is performing.

Content Management Systems

A web-based content management system provides you with the ability to add content, text, photos, news items, calendar events, newsletters, and product specials to your website. You will be able to manage the site yourself through a password protected administration area, without any special software or programming knowledge. The cost to build a content management system into your website is initially more expensive, but saves you money in the long run.

Should you take the leap?
The real question is how can your business continue to exist without taking the leap? With search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, to name a few, customers are turning to the web to get information and to buy products and services. Spending for advertising with the Yellow Pages, newspapers, direct mail, TV and Radio is down nationwide. Web and Internet marketing is on the rise, so it's prudent to invest your marketing dollars in this growing arena.

Some key website benefits
  • Online presence
  • Positioning on major search engines
  • Online brochures
  • Online sales
  • Collect client data
  • Announce specials
If your business has not developed a website, or your website is outdated, not working properly or not being seen by the search engines, then it's time for a change. In today's marketplace, a website is a golden opportunity to make your presence known and to make sales. When it comes to websites, marketing matters, so don't miss out!

 Case Studies

Case Study 1
Client:  Coastal International Security, Inc. (CIS)

Project:  Website Redesign

CIS website

CIS provides security services to many of the major government installations in the US and abroad, including NASA, The Reagan Building, The White House Executive Offices, DEA, etc. The site had to portray CIS as the best in the business. It needed to speak to federal, state and local government as well as  large corporations. It needed to outline CIS' services, offer an employee training program option, an employee log-in area, and encourage sales. The site required complete content management, so administration could update it themselves.
"Brand Design used their expertise to hit all our goals. We now have a beautifully designed website and it is fully content managed and functional for our employees and clients. They incorporated our strategic philosophy and brand. It has specially designed areas for training, employees, news events and links to our partners. It's a very dynamic website. A great job!"
Barry Walls - CIS Administration

Case Study 2
Client:  Hottle and Associates
Project:  New Website

Hottle website

Hottle and Associates is an independent insurance agency offering insurance, consulting and risk management services. Located in Warrenton, Hottle and Associates serves businesses, organizations, families and individuals with insurance products that range from homeowner's, auto, life, health and umbrella protection to property, workers compensation, general liability, group health and various casualty and specialty types of protection.
"I started my business two years ago and I literally started from scratch. I needed a complete brand for my company. My business required marketing materials, a logo, a slogan and I knew that a website was a must. Fortunately a friend recommended Brand Design. Brand Design met with me to discuss my needs and they created my new look. I wanted a clean, easy to read and intuitive website, and that's what they provided. I am very proud of our website. It has been great for my business. I have continued to recommend businesses to Brand Design, because they do a superb job."
Priscilla Hottle - President

 About Brand Design

Brand Design is a local advertising agency specializing in a variety of creative services including printing and mailing, web design, branding, logo and corporate identity, trade shows, promotions, advertising, direct mail, radio, TV and PR.

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