Repeat after me...
"I don't need a website, I need web marketing."
Say it again. Again. Again... You get the point? The difference may not be clear to you yet.
The difference between a website and web marketing, is like the difference between tactics and strategy. Your web marketing efforts should entail a strategy of some kind, with your website being one of the tactics you are employing as part of the overall strategy. Confused? That's ok! Let's get unconfused...
Think of it this way. A website is one tool in the web marketing toolbox. Unfortunately, that tool is no longer enough to do the job on it's own. It needs some complimentary tools to be effective. At minimum, you need prospects to find your website when they are looking for the solution you offer to their problems. At minimum, you need to be available in the main "feeding grounds" for solutions that your prospects use.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Guess what. People use Google a lot. So much so, that you had better implement some form of search engine optimization strategy to be sure that you show up when potential buyers search for relevant keywords and phrases. If you don't rank, you may as well not have a website. It's a sad reality, but it's just a fact in this day and age.
How do you find solutions to your problems online? Yep, you search. So do your future clients. If you've done your job, they'll find you when they do.
When I talk about an SEO strategy, I'm not talking about having your web developer install some plugins that they call optimizing your site. No, I'm talking about competitive research, actual keyword analysis and hands on adjustment of some of the key content areas on your site. If your developer says, "Oh yeah, we do SEO. We will install this, that or the other plugin and you will be good to go.", don't hire them. It's not that simple. Period.
PPC - Search Engine Advertising
PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising is a must if you don't currently rank for keywords and phrases that are important to reaching your business objectives (e.g., increased sales). If you sell polka dotted fanny packs, and you don't rank in search engines when someone searches for polka dotted fanny packs, you are missing tons of sales opportunities. That means you need to invest in search engine advertising until you rank organically through SEO. You can't afford NOT to be there when your prospects are looking for you.
As the name implies, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and ends up on your website's landing page. This is another area where we see far too many businesses get bad results because they have someone get them started with PPC that has no real experience setting it up correctly. If done correctly, PPC can be very profitable and much less expensive than most business owners think.
If You Aren't In Search Results You Are Dead
Or at least your website will be. Even if you have the best solution to your target audience's problems, you have to be visible for them to buy your solution like hotcakes. A website is no longer enough. You have to have an ongoing effort to drive visitors to your site. Once there, your site needs to be on point with what the prospect is looking for or they are on to the next thing. The bottom line is, without consistent, high quality traffic your website is like an island in the middle of no where. Let's face it, your prospects aren't going to send out a search and rescue team to find your solutions.