Promote a New Small Business Website – Part 2

Here is the table on different types of marketing and how they should be used: You have to keep it relevant and practical. People probably wont join the “Company X’s Colonic Irrigation Fan Page” but they may still add you as a Facebook friend under your personal name if they have used your service, instead of company name.

 

Description Work / Sales Timescale Value for money
SEO, Linkbuilding – This is about getting your website to come up when potential clients search for your products or services on Google or one of the other search engines. This is where most sites get most of their traffic from. Yes, potentially a lot of work from new clients who may have never heard of you and could then recommend you to their own friends / family / contacts. This is a slow burner. 3 – 6 months for low competition search terms. Years for more competitive markets. Usually the more business to be gained the more work to get to the top. However a good consultant will help you identify gaps in the market and quick wins. For most companies this form of marketing has the best return on investment. The long wait stops many competitors from investing. This makes it more worthwhile. If done properly you will retain high rankings and continue to get work for 3-5+ years! Making it a great ROI in the long run and not much use to new businesses in the short term.
Google Adwords Yes, lots of work and very quickly if set up and managed correctly. Once your advertising is set up and switched on Google will usually approve yours ads within minutes and you will have new enquiries or online sales within days. This is the quickest form of marketing. Moderate value for money 6/10. Much better if you go on to get repeat business or extra business through word of mouth marketing from these new clients. Like any industry there are cowboys out there and there are people who try to set this type of advertising up themselves. The difference being a poorly set up campaign may bring in no work at all. A well set up campaign will bring work in at a very competitive price per lead / sale.
Paid Directories – Usually companies that were previously producing phone books until people stopped using them Usually not much these tend to now work very well. As soon as your listing goes live Usually these sites charge too much and don’t get enough traffic. A lot of them also get their traffic through SEO and paid Google Ads so you are effectively using a “middle man” that sends visitors to a page that also lists your local competitors
Local Search (on Google) – this is closely related to SEO / Linkbuilding. Have a look to see if a map comes up when you search for your services on Google. Yes some (search for your product and see if a map and local listings appear) you are looking at 3 months to a year max to get a ranking for a range of local terms. “” Good long term value for money.
Social Networking on a relevant platform i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube. A lot of people may not agree with this because social networking is a “buzz word” at the moment it is typically not much good for new businesses. People don’t buy from you just because you are on their friends list. They wont search their friends list when they are next looking for a plumber or someone to buy a car from or whatever. The real value in social networking is using it to: build brand awareness, get more from existing clients and encouraging existing clients and contacts to recommend you. Long term given that it is based around repeat business from existing clients so the business happens when the client needs your service or product. Moderate. Works well for companies that respond well to brand awareness. If people use your product or service at least several times a year or more. Think M&S, Coke cola, WKD, Starbucks.  Companies that already have brand awareness. Works less well for services that are used very infrequently. If there are a group of people or companies that refer work to you on a regular basis then target them. E.g. target builders if you are a plastering sub contractor.
E-Mail Marketing More likely to bring work when emailing offers to existing / previous clients. When targeting existing clients it will be quickly or not at all. People usually respond within a few days of receiving an email or not at all. Some campaigns may involve a series of emails. A series of emails can also have a brand building effect. Most campaigns don’t make much initially if targeting new business. If the clients you do get then come back for repeat business then it starts to pay of.It’s hard to make email marketing work. Some industries have no choice if their product is new and no one is searching for it. Typically it needs to be part of a larger company and is better utilised by making special offers or promoting new services to existing clients. Your email should stand on its own merit without people having to go on to your website except to actually buy online.
Blogging – Blogging can achieve three very beneficial marketing goals. 1)      Position you as an industry expert. 2)      Provide added value to existing customers through lots of useful info. 3)      Bring in lots of traffic through search engines from potential clients searching for info. A good example is this guide. Potential clients of mine will find it and read it then make a decision about using a particular service which I may offer. At this point they are then in a position to buy which they weren’t prior to finding the info. This post is geared towards point 3 above. Could you do something similar on your website? Think of questions potential clients may have. They may do but most don’t. Not a quick win. There is only room for a few thought leaders in any one industry. In some industries consumers just aren’t interested. Be honest with yourself, is someone going to read your latest post on what is happening in the vacuum cleaner / hoover industry! Blog posts can easily be sent to existing clients on a regular basis through emails and social networking sites leading to repeat business. Takes a long time and a lot of effort to stand out from the noise and develop a following. The task is too big for a lot of companies and time would be better spent on other types of marketing. As an industry expert you can typically charge more then competitors and you are more likely to have work referred in your direction by word of mouth from consumers and companies that have some sort of synergy with you. Also some of the extra visitors to your site that read the article may go on to enquiry. A single blog post won’t bring in masses of business but if you post on a regular basis the posts between them will pull in hundreds and eventually thousands of visitors. It is harder to quantify the value for money of this. The only cost is your time so if you have enough of it then it gets 7/10 if done properly.
Viral Marketing – funny youtube videos sometimes get an astronomical number of views. If the video is commercial or not very funny or shocking it usually doesn’t do so well. So usually it is within the umbrella of brand building / brand awareness. “” same as social networking “” there is the odd success story but they are hard to emulate as you can’t copy their idea once it has already been done. Very little for most companies that don’t already have good brand awareness.Can be successful for some new, innovative / trendy companies.

To summarise the table, if you can afford it then I would recommend Google Adwords to get business in quickly. If you can’t afford to buy the work in and if too many new clients really ties up your cash flow then you may have to go for a more affordable form of marketing and work towards the long term gains like blogging and SEO / linkbuilding.

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