Final Thoughts

 

 

About 1.5 years ago I started to create a small document with answers to the most common 'website and marketing' questions I was asked by other small business people.

During the process of researching the answers the small document grew into the ReachMORE Marketing Campaign - Getting Online 101. I hope that you have found this useful - I guess if you are still reading my hope has been realized. :)

 

So What Did We Cover In Going Online 101?

In a perfect world you would tell me. Oh well, maybe I'll do a quick summary anyways.

 

Think like your customer(s)

If you only take away one tip from this course, the ability to put on various customer hats and see your products and services through their eyes would be my 1st pick.

A couple of years ago, while working with a client, I discovered that 'website template' was not understood as well as 'website design'. Changing a single word increased the visitor comprehension level dramatically.

 

Pick A Name They Will Remember

Pick a business name that explains what you do (features), or even better highlights how it will improve your customers' lives (benefits) or even better both (benefits before features).

Toys R US

Websites 4 Small Business

Fast Real Estate Solutions

We Buy Ugly Houses

Any problem understanding what the above company names do? After you create that killer business name, ask yourself to identify the benefit(s). If they don't jump out at you, consider another name.

 

Protect Your Real Estate

Your domain name(s) should reflect your company name. Once you have found that killer business name protect it by registering as many alternate domain names as your budget allows. (websites4 smallbusiness.ca, websites for smallbusiness.ca, websites 4 smallbusiness.me, websites for smallbusiness.me, etc)

Domain names are cheap (starting @ $10-$30/year). Also you can re-evaluate each year to see if all the domains you have registered are necessary.

 

Specialize Your Website(s) If It Makes Sense

You will probably only register one business, but what if your business activities are not necessarily compatible from a marketing stand point?

TheRevCarmen.com is all about marrying happy couples. As well as marrying couples, Carmen also acts as a funeral celebrant. Can you see how these two activities may not work well on the same website?

If you go to a high end department store (hint: department store) you are likely to find ladies perfume near jewelry but NOT near sports equipment.

 

Be Creative Think Outside The Pizza Box

In Domain Names - Marketing & Pizza we played with the idea of creating a pizza website that catered to pizza lovers.

This alternative website didn't try to sell anything to anybody.

It just tried to be a helpful friend. It was sponsored by your actual pizza business and linked to your online ordering website but its intent was not to sell pizza but capture mind-share.

 

Be Creative Think Outside The Domain Name

http://www. monitor.us/  Is a website that monitors websites. They used the TLD (Top Level Domain) .us to create a memorable website that monitors websites.

http://del.icio.us, now https:// delicious.com/ started out as the domain icio.us, which really makes no sense until you add the sub-domain del to the whole deal.

If you can't find that perfect, short & concise domain name - how about an alternative name using sub-domains?

 

Keep Your Cards Close To Your Chest Until You Are Ready To Strike

Napoleon Hill in his epic book "Think & Grow Rich" talks about keeping your game plan to yourself. There are a number of reasons for this pragmatic approach.

In the world of domain names we have speculators.

Can you blame them? The person that registered pizza.com in the '90s just sold it for over a couple of million dollars!

How many of the 'whois' searching websites that find available domains are also squatting sites?

Are they tapping into your creative genius to register popular domains right from under your feet?

If you have been searching for available domains don't be surprised if the best ones you are searching for have been registered within 24h of searching.

ALWAYS search either command line whois or from your trusted domain provider. Refer to Domain Names - Who Is whois for more information.

 

Own Your Resources

At Websites 4 SmallBusiness.ca we always recommend that customers own/manage their own domain names.

Of course we will register, on your behalf, one or more domain names.

On Your Behalf.

As a matter of fact a lot of our customers are so focused on their core business, they delegate this aspect of their business to us.

We manage many of our customers domains, but they always retain ownership.

If, when you get down to the brass tacs, some other company owns your domain name, how much control do you really have?

 

Everybody Needs To Live Somewhere - Your Website Is No Different

I like titles that say it all - explain the obvious with a spirit of efficiency that needs no explanation.

The fact of the matter is that your domain is just a name. A domain name will get you no where unless you have some real estate to hang that domain name on.

In practical terms your website needs to live somewhere.

It could live on your brother-in-laws computer that he has temporarily set up in your basement just a short 3 years ago!

It could but it shouldn't.

You see the problem with hosting your business website on your (soon to be ex) brother-in-laws computer is it's JUST NOT RELIABLE!

For those of you that have never been in a controlled computer room, they are pretty impressive:

  • They are very cold.
  • They are managed 247 by shifts of technicians
  • They have UPS backup (Uninterruptable Power Supplies)
  • They have huge environmental control systems that set the humidity at an ideal value for electronic equipment
  • They provide all this starting at $8.25/month

If you want to minimize down time on your website, find a reliable hosting provider that charges a reasonable price. If you wish to further reduce hassles consider a turn-key solution where your hosting is provided by your website developer.

This can mean a single call for all website issues, a big plus if you choose this route because you did not want to deal with technical issues.

 

Content Is King

Would you buy a product or service from a website that looked pretty but made no actual sense when you tried to figure out the details? Sure pretty pictures are likely to catch your eye but if you are trying to solve a specific problem and the website doesn't build confidence that it actually understands the problem, never mind trying to solve it, you're likely to move on in search of your answer.

Does your content address specific problem(s) and offer a path to a solution that is quick, easily, painless, affordable,....? Something Like:

PROBLEM.. ..SOLUTION.. ..BENEFITS.. ..FEATURES (proof of benefits)

 

Turn Cold Calls Into Warm Leads

Who likes cold calling?

How about calling a prospect after they sent you an email asking you to please call them?

And how would you feel about it if the email described the problem with enough detail that you knew you have a solution for them?

You see it gets easier the more we feel like we are helping solve a problem and the less we feel like we are selling.

This applies to both sides of the buyer/seller equation.

It's not a coincidence that good professional sales people often refer to themselves as 'solution providers' rather than 'sales people'.

 
How To Generate Warm Leads?

Once you have identified your customer's problem, move them painlessly to the next step with a custom capture form that asks the right questions needed to solve their problem. Not only does this help you, it builds confidence with your prospect that you understand the problem - provided your form does ask the right questions.

Your prospect may not want to provide much information at this point, beyond the specifics of the problem, so keep your questions concise and to the point.

 

Use Multimedia When Appropriate

Slide Shows, Flash Players, YouTube Videos, SoundCloud Audio, etc are forms of multimedia that can be used to enhance your message.

Remember your focus should be on your main message, the solution you offer. Use Multimedia in any form that will enhance your message - but don't over do it!

Inappropriate Overuse Of Multimedia

 

Blog, Blog, Blog,...

Do you have something to say beyond your standard product and service offerings? Can you add value to your industry by sharing your words of wisdom? Will anyone care or read your writings?

One thing is for sure, if you don't try it you will never know. On the other hand if you had some really great stuff to share and you did something like add a comments section to the end of your blog, you would find out right away what's on your visitors minds!

Do you think having real time feedback from your visitors would help you perfect your message?

 

Search & Site Map Help Visitors Find What They Are Looking For

If you have more than one page of content you should have a search function on your webpage. Mobile users will appreciate the search at the top your page, especially if you have a long page.

You can also put search boxes elsewhere, for instance, you can put a search on the bottom as well. If visitors can not find what they are looking for they may try and search before they go somewhere else. Other visitors may go directly to the search and not look at your webpage until they have found something that interests them.

Site Maps are another tool that should be available to your visitors. Some people will prefer to use a site map instead of a search - cover your bases, have both.

Search engines expect you to have a site map registered in your webmaster tools.

Failure to implement search engine recommendations can hurt your search rankings.

 

Selling Stuff Online

The are a growing number of options that allow you to sell your wares online. From Paypal buttons to Websites with shopping cars and Shopping Carts with websites to turnkey payment solutions that take a cut out of each transaction, there are many options to consider.

Selling products online can increase your profit margins with low cost delivery and with 24x7 availability, your website can make money while you sleep!

 

Branding Your Way To Success

Now that you have your main messages perfected it's time to put it altogether with a logo and website design that will ultimately become part of your company brand.

Having a unique branding can help your business stand out from the crowd. A unique brand can attract attention and garner mindshare from your audience.

Branding need not be limited to a logo, website design and company byline. The next time you hear a commercial on radio or TV notice how many companies are using a 'sound signature' as part of their branding efforts.

Most people will remember the Intel sound, if not this video of Intel shooting live developers out of canons into massive wind chimes may jog your memory:

www.youtube.com/ watch?v= Dt9maknsGJ0

If you wish to drill into the details of the Intel sound note but note this website should be helpful.

intelfreepress.com/ news/intel- bong-chime -jingle-sound -mark-history /8390/

Try this link to read up further on sound branding.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_trademark

 

What Is Your Main Message(s)?

It always comes back to this, what are you trying to accomplish? Not just in business but specifically with your website.

My guess is your are going to try and convince someone that doesn't know you to do something - pick up the phone and call, buy online, send an email, like you on facebook, go to a physical store and buy a product,...some action or next step in your sales process.

The key word is process.

If your sales process is a clearly defined set up logical steps then implementing your main message on your website should be a fairly straight forward task. On the other hand if your business processes are muddled, foggy and undocumented there is a good chance your website will reflect this underlying disorganization.

If that's the case get out a blank piece of paper and write down exactly what you expect your perfect customer to do when they find your website. Then think about the conversation you would have with that customer if they were sitting in front of you.

What would you say to them?

What are their likely objections/questions?

How will you overcome these objections? In what order should you address them? Write a script if you need to and test it out on willing victims! Test, modify, test.

 

Motivate Your Customers To Action

If you have a really good solution to a real customer problem, you are likely 1/3 of the way to your goal. Your visitor still has to decide on you over someone else AND they have to act.

That's right even if you have the best product/service for them and you already proved it, you won't make a sale if they do not act. Sometimes customers need adequate motivation.

Personal Note: The other day I had a Tree Specialist looking at the tree in my front yard. I knew it needed some work but I was not overly motivated to deal with it - other things on my mind. The Arborist was able to change my motivation with a single sentence. "I don't think that limb will hit your house but with a strong wind it could take out your eaves trough."

Remember AIDA? 
  1. Attention
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action
Remember The Motivation Sequence?
  1. Get Attention
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Position your product ss the solution
  4. Proof
  5. Action
Review Your Main Message(s)
  1. Can you identify the AIDA elements in your sales presentation?
  2. Are they in the correct order?
  3. Are you missing steps?
  4. Are some of the steps a little weak?
  5. Did you forget the call to action?
 

Missing Information? = Missed Sales!

If you've done everything perfectly up 'till now, you have a perfect customer in the perfect frame of mind just waiting to buy your perfect product or service or follow the next step in your perfect sales process!

So how do they do that?

If you want them to phone, is your phone number readily available on your website or is is buried somewhere no one can find? Did you post store hours to let customers know when they can call?

Is your email address easy to find and did you set expectations on how long it will take for you to respond?

A Contact Page is a good place to centralize all of your contact info but putting quick contact info and the top and or bottom of your pages can make it easier for customers to reach out to you.

Social media links can also make it easier to share your messages and increase visibility.

Your contact information is the 3rd essential bit of info you need on your website:qqq

Essential Website Elements
Page/Section Function/Purpose
Home Problem(s) You Solve
About Why You?
Contact Ways To Contact You
 

How Is Your Website Measuring Up?

Every successful plan requires a method to accurately track progress.

If your goal is to able to finish a 10K run, you will likely complete much less than 10K on your 1st day. If you keep at it each day and go a little further you will eventually realize your goal.

You'll know you're ready for the contest because you have been keeping track of how far you go on each successive attempt. If you didn't measure your progress, you'd really be shooting in the dark as to when you would be ready,...

So how's that website doing? You did everything you're supposed to but still no knocks at the door?

Is anyone even visiting your website? Who? How would you know?

If you have installed some sort of analytical software on your website you would have answers to these questions. In the topic If It's Not Measured, It Won't Happen we covered the Top Analytical Packages to measure visitor traffic on your website.

Installing Google Analytics is one of the steps in registering your site with Google's webmaster tools so this is something you will want to do as soon as you are ready to promote your website.

Make sure you filter out your own IP address in the Analytics Software so you can separate your traffic from actual visitor traffic. If you have others also working on the website you will want to filter out their IP addresses as well.

 

Webmaster Tools - Necessary Steps For Promoting Your Website

Register your website with Google's & Bing's Webmaster tools. Complete all required steps to maximize your ranking potential.

DuckDuckGo doesn't have a method to submit a website. This link indicates they get results from Bing.
StartPage does not maintain a database - so nowhere to submit it to. This link indicates they get results from Google.

Other search engines may have the option to register your website - too many search engines to cover in this small space but it wouldn't hurt to take a few moments and investigate the other search engines available.There are some very specific and evolving search engines that you may benefit from if you register your website.

The following links should get you started.

google.ca/ search?q= list+of+ search+ engines

en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/List_of_ search_engines

thesearchenginelist .com/

Register your website with Google's & Bing's Webmaster tools. Complete all required steps to maximize your ranking potential.

or put another way,...

Register your website with Google's & Bing's Webmaster tools. Complete all required steps to maximize your ranking potential.

One last thing, don't forget to register your website with Google's & Bing's Webmaster tools. Complete all required steps to maximize your ranking potential.

 

SEO & Usability, An Ongoing Effort In Website Optimization

There is no magic trick to Search Engine Optimization. Anyone promising to put you at the #1 link, especially if you received their 'offer' through email spam, is likely going to cause more harm to your rankings than good.

In Getting into SEO & Usability we covered some of the many steps required to build SEO into your website from the ground up and on a continual basis.

If you did read that article you will be, for example, naming all of your images with search engines in mind. You will do this automatically the 1st time as it will become part of your best practices.

As you become more sophisticated in your website marketing you will seek out more advanced topics on SEO and incorporate these new ideas into your best practices.qqq

SEO v.s. Usability
SEO Search Engines
Usability Humans Searching

 

Because you understand that Usability is something different than SEO and equally important, you will refine your sales process and incorporate it seamlessly into your website with usability in mind.

THEN

You'll test. Test & Measure. With willing victims (friends & family) and website testing sites (anonymous users).

Test & Measure. Test & Refine. Repeat.

Or you'll just pay someone to do all that stuff.

 

This Is The End

This is the end of "Going Online 101: Putting Your Small Business Online, The 1st Few Steps." hope you enjoyed your visit. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the presentation!

 

 

 

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