Last month, this column presented a suggestion that it may be in your best, long-term interest to think twice before posting your unsolicited product or service information in forums or newsgroups as a primary marketing technique. Further, it suggested that you might want to focus instead on presenting your shop or you as a metalworking or machining expert.
"But, AJ, if we follow that advice, then how can we get into the game now?"
Long-term, meaningful exposure of your shop on the Web lies in planting access to your Web site in front of your audience, at the point of greatest interest. And keeping up with it.
Here are some ideas to begin positioning your shop's site most effectively for the "long haul."
List your URL and E-mail everywhere. That means on your stationery, your business cards, and even in your answering machine message.
Search engine registration. Relying on someone else to list your shop's site on a search engine means you'll have little control over which categories your shop will be presented in. Instead, look into the major search sites, determine where you want your shop to be categorized, and register it yourself. Yes, it takes more time, but you'll attract more of your audience in the long run because you're listed accurately where you want to be.
Link to your site. You're a job shop. Search the Web for directories that list job shops and get your Web site listed on them. Some examples of excellent job shop directories on the Web are the Job Shop Network and the Manufacturer's Information Net. Both of these sites are accessible from www.mmsonline.com/links.html. There are others out there. Find the ones that best suit your shop's needs and get listed on them.
Now, strategically link to your site. Hey, don't stop there. Your shop has capabilities that separate it from others. Maybe it's EDM, or Swiss machining, or plasma or water-jet. Find the sites on the Web that attract folks interested in those specific processes. Associations (www.mmsonline.com/assoc.html), for example. Ask them to link to your shop. Even if they don't have an area that links to shops with your capabilities, ask anyway. You may convince them to start one.
Or maybe they'll say no. Either way, you're in control. And that's the key to your shop's successful Web exposure. MMS