I’ve been asked this question many times now, I’ll go through the usual culprits and misconceptions and try to explain them in relation to improving customer acquisition.
I don’t need a domain name
Whether you’re a limited company or not, your company name is important. It’s your brand and how people recognise you when talking about you to others. A domain name is just as important when communicating electronically, there is nothing worse than receiving an email from a business with a generic email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, it looks unprofessional and doesn’t inspire confidence. A domain name such as a .co.uk can be purchased for as little as £3.75 per year.
I don’t need a website
To get new and retain customers you need to be professional, competent and cost effective. When you visit a potential client for the first time, the majority will check you out on the Internet either before or after you visit. All you need to start off with is splash page giving an overview of your company, your contact details and where you are.
That’s just part the story though. How much do you spend on sales? Your website, if designed with appropriate content and advertised correctly is a salesperson that sells your company electronically for you 24 hours a day! They don’t need a car, a salary and never stop for coffee breaks or sleep.
It should obviously never be your only sales channel (unless you’re a web only business) and cannot replace a face-to-face salesperson, it can though provide an important stream of business.
I won’t be able to handle the incoming surge of potential clients
Unfortunately this won’t happen, there’s a lot of competition on the Internet and unless you’re lucky enough to be in a sparsely populated, high demand marketplace you’ll need to put some effort into marketing your business online. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be deluged with new customers, you won’t. You’ll be lucky to get 2-3 visitors a day unless you’ve marketed it.
Internet marketing is also called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short. Good web developers and marketing companies can help you put a strategy together and price it to fit most budgets. The fact is, unless you market your business somehow, no one will know it even exists.
I don’t need Search Engine Optimisation
Good for you, then you have a business that sells itself and doesn’t need marketing. For the rest of us we need to market our services and tell people we exist and what we can do for them.
A good SEO campaign will target the correct audience and drive new customers to your business, a bad one will consume your budget without providing any new sales. Without SEO though it’s like having a website and not telling anyone it exists, people will only be able to find you if they know your website address.
SEO campaigns can be run in many different ways, from basic search engine submission to dynamic content on your website (such as newsletters) to monthly targeted campaigns. Either way it’s important to consider SEO and put some money aside for it as part of your normal marketing budget.
I don’t update my website on a regular basis
Static websites will be devalued by most search engines overtime as their data goes out-of-date and competitors put more appropriate data on their sites. You should consider how you intend to keep customers involved and knowledgeable of your business so they don’t forget you.
An easy way to do this is to add some sort of dynamic content to your site such as a news section, a blog area or by publishing newsletters. The fact is that unless you continue to tell your customers that you still exist and that you’re still there to service their needs, they are fickle and will move on to try someone else. This is especially relevant if you are in a business where you sell irregularly to your customers.
Adding some type of dynamic content to your website is very easy and quick if you have a Content Management System (CMS) based website (all our websites are CMS based), it’s as simple as typing the content into what looks like a word processor and publishing it. If the content is relevant, your customers will continue to keep reading it and won’t forget about you.
Social networking isn’t for my business
750+ million people say you’re wrong!
First of all a few facts (as of 2011): –
- Facebook has over 750 million active users
- Linked-in has over 100 million active users
- Twitter has over 200 million active users
- Google+ was new in July 2011 but is growing at a rate of approx 5 million users per week
With those types of numbers (they’re daily active by the way!) and the fact that with a well-built website, it is extremely easy to interact with these potential customers, you simply need something to tell them! Social networking is a very hot topic at the moment, it’s so hot that Google has decided it can’t miss out on it anymore and is developing its own social and business specific platforms.
If you do nothing more than advertise yourself (for free) with maybe a newsletter each month, you will see a dramatic increase in your traffic and therefore potential new customers.
But which ones should you use? There’s no hard and fast rule for this but in general, Facebook is for best for consumer bases businesses and Linked-in for B2B. Twitter is useful for quick updates to both marketplaces and Google+ is definitely something to watch out for this year.
As a final note, don’t think that any of the networks aren’t relevant to you though. Even if you’re B2B, you can still use Facebook for example to drive users to your site which will intern increase your generic search engine rankings.
All the above can be setup and run very cost effectively, why would you not want to do it? Especially as you can put as much effort into it as you see fit – the more you put in, the more you get out is the moral here.
Give us a call on +44 (0)1438 365810 to talk about your requirements, our website packages start from as little as £35 per month.