Alpha Software is focused on enabling developers to create robust, data-driven business applications that run on any PC, Tablet or Smartphone in the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If you build it, will they come?

OK, so we all know (I hope) that the latest and greatest version of Alpha Five ever -- that would be version 8 -- makes building commercial Web sites easy.

Now, instead of having to learn Java or PHP or dot-whatever, you can visually build world-class online stores, e-commerce services, Web applications, on-demand solutions, and so on.

And build you did.

That's when Web developers and businesses discover that creating their own Web application is only half the battle. In Web development, "if you build it" doesn't guarantee "they will come."

So now that you've gone through all the work of building your (what I'm sure is a sophisticated/exciting/rapid/secure/powerful/innovative/breakthrough) site with Alpha Five, how do you drive the traffic there?

In 2006, I was invited to the Online Marketing Summit's annual conference in Boston (for those interested, this year's conference will be taking place in San Diego).

One topic discussed throughout the conference was the use of blogging and podcasting (i.e., social media) as important e-marketing techniques.

My opinion: While blogging and podcasting are attractive marketing mediums, they don't live up to the promises conference speakers associated with them.

Worse, the speakers failed to emphasize the importance of good ol' fashioned, meat-and-potatoes marketing.

I've devoted much of my career to planning and executing marketing campaigns for clients. I've seen firsthand how results are generated by classic pull techniques, such as SEO and PPC, and supported by good public relations and advertising campaigns.

In addition, push techniques -- such as opt-in e-mail marketing and even direct mail -- also continue to prove their worth.

Before you run off and chase a blog or podcast, consider laying the groundwork with push- and pull-marketing basics to rev up your new site's traffic.

Moreover, don't overlook the value of the world's oldest marketing technique: network, network, network. Find the right venues and the right audiences, present and press the flesh, and then let word-of-mouth marketing work for you.

Then think about blogging.

Blogging and podcasting have a place in the online marketing puzzle, and I almost always recommend clients allocate some of their marketing budget for them. But blogs and podcasts can't do it alone.

So ... if you build it, and THEN you market it -- with push, pull, and social media --- they will come.

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