A Website is the first step in your marketing regime.
Many small businesses that I come across feel that they can get by without a website. In this day and age this is amazing. They often say that they have enough work on and they don’t need to attract any more business. This is fine but for those people wanting to save a few dollars and reckon they can get by with letterbox drops and a few scattered ads in local papers, they are seriously delusional. All and By this I mean every business out there needs a website. I don’t care about the type or size of the business. If you have an ACN or ABN number then you need to have a website. Even if it is a couple of pages, you still need to have a business profile online.
A good tip for people reading this and still unsure what they are going to do about their site design is try to go with a reputable company and definitely don’t do it yourself or get a relative to do it. Because a website is the foundation upon which you will build your marketing, it has to look half decent and has to be built using an open source content management system.
This is where a lot of businesses come unstuck and where the issues begin. So I seriously urge you to give me a call on 02 9360 8514 before you do anything or make any bad decisions from the beginning. Mistakes at the beginning are easy to do as there are a hell of a lot of web companies out there who are, lets just say looking for a quick buck and not really concerned about your businesses well being! For the uninitiated you can easily get ripped off and end up with a website that looks like a dogs breakfast and doesn’t work. Be really careful with your choices. Spend just that bit more to get the job done properly and to get a website that performs well.
The next area that is insanely competitive and probably the most difficult for businesses to get their head around is SEO or search engine optimisation. Think of it like the Yellow pages but an online version also known as Google. For any business this is the absolute, outright, unconditional place that you have to have your website. Forget anything else. This is the end game, the end of the road and the one and only place where your business has to be. Everyone and I mean anyone looking for a product or service will search on Google.
Doing adwords ( that is paid ads on Google) is a good start BUT if you are serious about getting more business then you need to be starting a SEO campaign. This begins now and I mean right now! A soon as you engage a web company to start your design they need to be looking at your search engine optimisation. If your web people are bad at SEO or outsource it, ditch them immediately.
Only and I am really going to emphasise this part of your marketing ONLY go with an agency that can demonstrate a clear and undisputable knowledge of web and SEO. The 2 areas are interrelated and if you are going to have any chance of success online you need to understand this. If they stuff up in any of these areas you are doomed.
If you think you can get one agency to do the web and another to do the SEO then this is a real bad move. On top of this watch out for the millions of extremely dodgy, shifty, cowboy style SEO operators out there who are so full of spin that the chances of you getting seriously ripped off in this department are quite high. This is not a joke, you can fall into their traps very quickly and you wont even know it.
The worst thing you can do in regards to your SEO is:
- believe the crap they tell you about page 1 guarantees
- believe them and sign a contract if they say they will work for free if they cannot rank a keyword – total lies and outrageous statements like this are going to kill your business.
SEO is the key to business growth – is basically your call as a business owner. If you choose to ignore what I am telling you, do so at your peril. If you want to do it properly and are a little unsure about the next steps again, I really urge you to give me a call here at Hopping Mad Designs.
Rips offs in SEO land are the norm and not the exception to the rule. The business landscape is full of businesses with good intention and high hopes who have been put through the ringer and totally scammed. All I can say is watch out!
The next option small businesses can turn to for exposure is the multitude of social media platforms. There are so many of them out there but I suggest focussing on Blogging and Facebook to start with. Most people will already have a personal Facebook account so just repeat the process but in your business name. In so far as blogging is concerned this is a massive area and if you are really wanting to dominate your online space then blogging constantly is going to have a huge positive benefit. Again, these points are quite delicate and need to be well thought out and planned in advance. Social media in an ad hoc manner will have no benefit and poorly worded blogs with little effort put in will actually have the reverse effect. Look at the effort I go to in my blog writing!
I wish it could be easier for small businesses, but the reality is that there are now no short cuts and there are no quick solutions to getting new business. I’m afraid that if you are going to have any chance of success nowadays you have to be in it for the long haul and you have to be on top of your online marketing. Do a couple of courses, speak to as many people as you can BUT start the process now. Learn how it works, see what everyone else is doing and then get in touch with a bloke like me who can help you implement this.