I ask this question to my prospective clients. The number one response is “everyone has one.” Not the ideal business way of thinking. A website is not just a fancy business card that most small businesses see it as. You build it and let it get old and dusty. Nope – a website is a fluid marketing money stream. Yes! If done right, your website will make you money. Not directly – but over time, it will establish you and your business as an expert. That is the point of Internet Marketing.
Search and click
Shed away all your regular views on marketing and understand how people on the web find things. They search and click links. That is it! You could put a billboard up on the most popular roads and spend tens of thousands of dollars and get no one. A cheaper way would be to become the expert in your industry, which you could easily start doing today by writing 300 to 500 words a week. These short articles are called posts. When you write them on topics that concern your prospective clients that is where the magic happens. If you write a post once a week with information or tips in your industry then the search engines (think Google) will see you as the expert.
This is what marketers refer to as inbound marketing and thousands of small businesses are using this technique. It is low-cost but needs a lot of preparation and elbow grease.
Your Celebrity Restaurant
Your small business need a website to tell the world what you do and how well you do it. Why do celebrities open restaurants? Restaurants are one of the most riskiest businesses around. On any given day, something can go wrong and the doors will close forever. Celebrities use their popularity and put their name on a restaurant. Do you really think they are their cooking in the back? Well, maybe Bobby Flay. But not Ashton Kutcher who owns Dolce restaurant in Hollywood. You have to create yourself as a celebrity in your field. Might sound hard and it is, but with the internet it’s extremely possible.
Think of your website as your restaurant on the Internet, a place for everyone to come to and see your menu. You might have some listings in newspapers like Facebook but everyone who wants to order has to step inside your website.
Talk to your customers directly
Like a good restaurant you need a good host or hostess. Your website must invite people with content and easy ways to contact and connect with you or your employees. This is where social media like Facebook and twitter come in. The hostess greats everyone at the door and comes around to make sure everything is great. This is what your website should feel like and with the proper integration with Facebook and Twitter, it does.
As I mentioned before, if you write posts each week this will give your customers a reason to come and visit. Keeping the menu fresh.
The boring old stuff
Most small business websites will just sit around and collect dust. Most business owners do not want to invest the time to promote their business online. If you pay someone to do this, you will not have the voice that your clients need. You will have the typical things on your website, mission statements, what you do, contact information and maybe a map. In today’s information junkie world, you must provide more. Don’t take my word for it look at this article from Entrepreneur.com – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/65204 –
List five topics within your line of business that you normally talk to your customers. For restaurant example, it could be about food or the culture if it’s an ethnic restaurant. These topics will become your categories for your very own blog. As I mentioned earlier about posts, if you put a blog on your business website you will quickly expand your website. One post a week will create over fifty posts in a year. Each post is a page. That means in three years time your website will have one-hundred-fifty pages. Looking at this from a search engine point of view, that means each of these pages are entrances to your website.
After three years of blogging each week you will have one-hundred-fifty entrances to your business website. THis is what creates you and your business as an expert. Search engines and directories love blogs. All you need is one article a week. Again, begin to think about the topics that your clients need to know about, and write them out now!
Good luck, as always leave a comment below, Twitter or Facebook me. You can always contact me with any questions. I am here to help you with your online business struggles.