Website and web marketing tips for new businessesWritten by Helmut Watterott
Most start-up businesses suffer from the same problem which is “how do I market myself effectively online ?” This problem arises for start ups with and without financial backing, and can be just as disruptive for both if not achieved. The key to effective online marketing is the idea that you don’t need a marketing degree to be successful, you just need to have a good business plan and be a little savvy in the following departments; Online Advertising and Websites.
Having a good business plan is very important to the success of the business, not only because it helps you gain funding but also because it gives you and your business direction. You can format your visions and your market very effectively by having the information on paper. You can also make projections which can be kept as reference to your success in the future. Speak to you local Business Gateway or equivalent for advice on business plan writing.
Online Advertising doesn’t have to be daunting, it is what it is, websites and online directories in which you are included. Unfortunately a lot of the online directories are very flooded and it would be difficult for someone to find your business without typing in your business name into the search bar. The best solution for this problem is if you have some money, speak to someone at the directory and ask for specifics and guarantees i.e. If someone searches for “Florist” in “Paisley” for £50 a month, I want to always be displayed on the front page. Unfortunately too often this is never clarified and many businesses pay a lot of money to these directories and find that similar businesses in nearby cities have a higher ranking in their town than they do. If none such guarantees can be given, the best thing to do is take out an unpaid listing so that people who already know about you can easily find your business if they have lost your contact details.
For other online advertising methods, i.e. inclusion on websites, make sure that you ask for the website’s statistics on their unique visitors per month. This will help you make a decision onto what type of advert to take out and whether the cost they are asking for is justified. Understandably this can be difficult if you have nothing to compare the statistics to, so to get around that ask for advertising costs and statistics from a few similar websites.
Having a website gives your business a constant viewing potential. For example, once your website is up and the domain name and hosting are still running, anyone at any time can access your business online. Having a website however doesn't guarantee a surge in sales. You need to invest in a website to make it work. The best way to do this is through both traditional advertising and search engine optimization. Basically you need to tell people about your website to make it work and invest in people finding you when they search for a particular service.
Furthermore a website allows people viewing your website a greater understanding of what you provide. On a website you can describe your services and add images to give your potential clients a visual aid when deciding who they will use for a particular service. It is therefore very important to make sure what is included on your website is up to date, free of spelling and grammatical errors and has good quality images, as always first impressions are usually what makes the difference of getting a sale or not. A website is also great because it gives your clients various methods of contacting you i.e. telephone or email.
Nowadays more and more people are moving to the web to obtain a range of services. One example of this is using the web to buy groceries and goods online. It is more convenient for people to use the web for these services as it means it can be done at any time of the day which is important for people who work during the day and miss the chance to visit a premises. As mentioned above to run an online shop or booking service you need to invest in it to make it a success!
Website are also one of the cheapest marketing tools out there already and if used properly can have the highest return on investment of any of your marketing spends.
It is all to common for struggling, or new businesses to neglect their web presence, either by having no website, a very poor website or not driving your target audience to your website. Other common factors are a friend of a friend designing your website, or you having a bash at it yourself. Web Hosting Scotland takes websites very seriously because if built properly, it can provide the corner stone of your entire marketing, PR and advertising plan. Would you really want something this important to your business neglected?
We have many articles available that will advise you how best to manage, build and promote your website and ultimately your business. We are also just a support ticket away for more specific or tailored advice and support, so please don't hesitate to contact us.
In our opinion the free web hosting or web design packages out there seem to aid in the dumbing down of a good website. It becomes way to easy to just throw together some content, pictures and a quick logo. We feel this is more detrimental to your business than you might think because your competition has probably created a much more professional image online.
We understand why businesses choose these cheap options, we all have to look after our budgets. Considering all the expenses a business might have, being cheep on your website is probably the falsest economy of all. As much as good websites retain visitors, bad ones repel them. When we talk about neglecting your website we also include the quality of the content, look and feel, images and photos used, colour, logo, promotion and general running of the site.
Web Hosting Scotland can help you by providing you with a lot of free information and advice and underpinning that with affordable, quality web hosting, good contemporary web design and development and all the support you need for you to make a success of your website.