I don’t know about where you live but the little guys, the independents, have all but disappeared in my local town. The majority of the smaller family run stores that offered the personal touch have nearly all been swallowed up by chain stores and supermarkets that sell absolutely anything and everything.
It is depressing when you see how many out of town supermarkets and retail parks there are now. Every city and major town is virtually a carbon copy of each other, with the same chain of coffee shops, the same clothing retailers, the same chains of DIY and garden care companies and the same electrical outlets.
The small businesses seem to fighting a losing battle and the lifeblood is being sucked out of them.
The exciting news is the Internet gives you, the small business, a new level playing field where you really can become a giant on the Internet very easily and get your share of the big profits.
Increasingly people are looking online for information. These are local people – People in your area. Your potential customers.
Don’t just take our word for it. Look at the statistics in any publication and you will see the trend increasing year on year that the majority of people research products and services online using their mobiles and tablets but here is the twist – they still buy OFFLINE!
That means that your business should be taking full advantage of the Internet and getting a slice of the action. If you don’t, then your competitors will.
Read on to find out how you can do it and become an online giant…..
Getting Started Online
One of the reasons so many local businesses put off promoting their business on the Internet is because it can be so overwhelming. There are so many ways that you can market your business online that you might not know where to start.
Quite a number of local businesses dabble in online marketing and then give up after a few weeks because they don’t get the results that they expect.
Although the internet is not a magic wand that instantly makes you rich overnight, you WILL see great results very quickly IF you know what you are doing.
It‘s true, not all marketing techniques are suitable for all business types but here are some things that literally any business, no matter what sector you are in, can start to implement to help give you a giant sized presence on the internet (and breathe a sigh of relief as they won’t break the bank either).
Your website does not need to be an expensive all singing, all dancing work of art BUT it should be search engine friendly and updated regularly.
For many small businesses, designing a functional but profitable website can be extremely daunting, so they tend to leave the whole design in the hands of their website designer.
This can turn out to be a very expensive mistake for your business. Web designers can make some stunning looking websites complete with every bell and whistle imaginable.
However if you owned a car dealership, it is doubtful that you would trust your car mechanic to have complete control of your marketing campaigns. While he might be a very good car mechanic, it is pretty unlikely he would also be an expert in marketing. Leave it all up him and pretty soon you would be out of business.
That is in effect what you would be doing if you allowed your web designer to have complete control of your website.
Yes, they might have good design skills but in most cases they know very little about marketing. There are very few web designers who totally understand how to optimise sites for the search engines, or how to write compelling sales copy or information that effectively pre-sells your products and services.
You really don’t want a website designer who just concentrates on how pretty they can make your site and how they can add a wide range of lovely looking but utterly pointless gimmicks on your site.
So rather than give your web designer free reign, here are some tips that will put you in total control and end up with a website that makes you a healthy profit.
- Be very clear about what you want. You want a website that works 24/7 and earns its keep, so you need to be clear on exactly what you want each web page to do and who is its target audience. So when thinking about the function of each page of your website, decide in advance what its purpose is.
For example, will it be used purely as an online brochure for your customers to show off your product or service or will you want to sell products on there too? Will you want your page to collect visitor’s names and addresses or do you just want your site to let people know how they can contact you? Will you have a blog where you can keep customers updated or will you be sending a newsletter out?
- Have your offer and call to action clearly visible on your website. Don’t hide this information away. If you want them to buy from you, make sure the Buy button can be clearly seen. If you want your visitor to call you, then tell them how they can contact you, with your telephone number or email address clearly visible on the page.
- When you write your web copy information for your site, write it with the reader in mind. Always remember to clarify what YOU can do for THEM. It will make it very boring if the site is all about you and how great you think you are. Nothing turns a visitor away fast enough than the words “we do this…” or “we are…” Remember it is not about YOU, it is about the customer, so show them that you are the business that provides exactly what they need.
In summary, make sure you have some input into your website. Even if you don’t have a technical bone in your body, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have full control over your online business.