Forget social media. Forget Flash-based banner ads. Laugh contemptuously at Google Adwords. Every purchase decision now includes a visit to your website.

So treat your own website as your principal advertising medium. Clients who wouldn’t dream of writing their own ads or designing their own brochures are nevertheless writing all the copy that appears on their websites. This is entirely wrong: more effort should be expended on the website than anything else in the marketing mix.

Messages need to be simple and focused; the user interface needs to be clear and logical; and there should be an escalating level of detail the deeper the visitor digs.

Websites have become the canvas on which most of a company’s marketing takes place. It simply isn’t enough to reproduce a brochure on screen; the website must do the same job that ads, mailers, brochures, directories and catalogues all used to do.

And if the website fails to perform, then a competitor with a more effective web presence is just a click away.

None of this means that you should abandon traditional marketing activities. Ads, PR, mailers etc all drive prospects to your website; and all can communicate the sort of convincing sales messages that are utterly beyond pay-per-click.

But what the website also brings is an astonishing degree of measurability; we now have the power to test all marketing activity in the real world, to see which routes are genuinely cost-effective.

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