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Here are 10 inexpensive ways to build your business with your website (yes some call it internet marketing). Some cost a little bit of money and all are worth it. If you currently have a website take note of the things you can do to turbocharge it. If you don’t have a website, print out this list and take it to your webmaster to discuss. Let’s get to it! (in no particular order):

1. Get your website found in Google. Search around Google for your competitors. if you find junky sites you have a great opportunity. If you run a local business, build a solid website and search engine optimize it (SEO) for local searches (such as “boston catering companies”). SEO is one of best investments you can make on your site and enables your site to rank higher in Google when someone searches for your services. You will pull in new leads, boost your sales and kick some competitive butt!

2. Build a mailing list. Collect email address from every source possible. Put a sign up box on your website, sort through your database and get your client and prospect lists out, if you have a storefront put a pad on your counter and tell customers to sign up for your specials mailing list. Email is cheap and proactive. You don’t wait for customers to come to you… you fire out emails to them. And as a bonus email is viral. One of your customers might forward that massage special to a friend in need!

3. Start a blog on your website that offers information about your company.. sort of a PR online approach and also offers helpful advice about your types of products or services. If you were a wine shop you could post the 4 cases of red wine you just got in, and if you are really smart you can set the blog up to automatically email your customer list. 1st come 1st serve!

4. Track the effectiveness of your print or direct mail advertising. Taking an ad out in your newspaper or sending out postcards? Build a landing page with a unique address and measure how many visitors come to that page from your ad. it might look like this: www.yourwebsite.com/bostonglobe. Better yet put a link on that landing page to encourage visitors to provide an email address so they can download a brochure, case study, recipe, whitepaper or fill out a form for a freebie from you. Start the conversation with your prospects!

5. Advertise your website address on voicemail. When clients/prospects call in do they hear your website address mentioned on your voicemail? i know a landscaping company that landed a contract without even talking to a prospective customer. The client noted their website address, checked them out online and left a 2nd message on their voicemail saying they would like to go ahead!

6. Advertise your website address in your email signature. Every email you send out should have a clickable link that takes recipients to your website so they can check out your business. Keep it simple and don’t worry about adding fancy graphics. Better yet… add a one sentence description or tagline underneath your website address. It’s amazing how many emails come into my box with no email signature!

7. Track what pages visitors are going to on your website. You should easily be able to see how popular different pages are on your website. This will tell you what pages visitors on your website are gravitating towards. Make sure those popular pages reflect your message appropriately. Perhaps you will find out that your [About us] page is getting hammered. Well… are you providing lots of information on your businesses background, experience, clients, testimonials, and why customers do business with you? FYI the [About us] page is usually the 2nd or 3rd most viewed page on business websites. Yeah prospective clients want to know who you are!

8. Make sure you have the ability to easily update your site (preferably without the need for software). Why do I bring this up? To keep the information on your website fresh. Your business, pricing, services, products, staff, news, goals, and promotions change. That’s right your business changes, shouldn’t your website reflect those changes? Think about the last time you went to a website and it looked out of date. What did you do? Curse and click away I bet. When you have the ability to easily update your website you can create that wow impression when visitors come simply by publishing whats new on your website… and today you need to show prospective clients that you are technologically and trend savvy.

9. Meet the press. If you participate in any kind of public relations (PR) you must, absolutely, positively, have to have an up to date website to show off your business. Newspapers will publish website addresses and I am astounded by how many articles that cover interviews with business owners do not print the website address simply because the company did not have one! If anyone is interested in more information on a company they will want go to visit your website.

10. Promote your website in Social Media (like HubPages, Facebook, etc.). What is social media? It’s your 2000+ website online community… a place to network, share wisdoms, and get recommendations… a space that is now bigger than Google search… a space that is becoming the new way for word of mouth to travel. Start by looking at the big social media sites and search for smaller ones that are targeted to your client base. Where do your clients hang out? Go there and help them!

Bottom line: you don’t have to spend much money on your website to build your business (and internet marketing is just a fancy term for promoting your business online).

 
Website metrics: How to understand your website’s performance PDF Print Email
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:44

You must understand how your website is treating your visitors. Here is your first step to enlightenment!

If somebody asked you today how your website is performing, would you have any idea? Would it be helpful to know what is working on the site and what’s not working on the site? Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Would it be helpful to know if visitors are getting to your home page and then just going away? Or, would it be helpful to know which pages on your site were viewed the most times? In other words, which pages on your website visitors found interesting.

And the reverse: Would it be good to know which pages visitors didn’t pay attention to at all, and were maybe even getting in the way? Or how about this: Let’s say you pay your webmaster to make some changes on your website. Would it be helpful to know if those changes made a difference?

Now to run a successful website, you have to know the good and the bad. Installing website metrics onto your website is the way to do that.

And guess what? You can do it for free. My favorite tool is ‘Google Analytics’. ‘Google Analytics’ gives you a great top-level view of your information and helps you make decisions on what to do next with your website.

So here’s how to get it. Go to google.com/analytics/home. Or you can just search for ‘Google Analytics.’ You’ll get a snippet of code that you’ll hand off to your webmaster, and they will install it on all your pages, and after about a week of tracking you’ll have the answers to the questions that I posed above.

Website metrics will tell a story about your website. It will help you understand what’s going on and will give you the clues to help you make better decisions down the road, and that will help your business.

Comments?

 
2 things every website must do PDF Print Email
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:35

I love to ask business owners how their website is doing, and I get some really nice responses. Most of the time I get, “Um, gee, I really don’t know.” And sometimes they do know and they tell me that their website’s not doing anything for them. And more than a handful of times, they tell me not to even go and look at their website because it’s too horrible.

If you think about it, most people today use Google to find things, whether they’re looking for printing services or an accountant. Maybe, they need their carpets cleaned or they want to stay in a nice bed and breakfast. Or maybe setup a corporate catering function. If they’re not already plugged into a service or a company, they use Google to find it.

And if you’re not getting any connection through your website, that means that those prospective customers are going to your competitors. That’s right; they’re going to your competitors.

Now, how do you build a successful website? There are two things you have to do. One is you have to get people to your website. And each website does draw some visitor traffic, just because of the text, the content you have on the site. And there are visitors that search by your company name to find you.

But you also need to make your website Google friendly so that when people are searching for services that you provide, they find you. Now, try to find your business in Google. It’s an interesting experience.

Second thing you have to do to build a successful website is to get a visitor to act when they land on your website: to do something; to contact you; to fill out a request for quote form; to download a brochure or a data sheet; to subscribe to your newsletter.

And each contact should offer up their email address in order to connect with you or to download that item. There are many ways to inspire a site visitor to contact your business. And you should use as many as you can.

So ask yourself, is your website building your business?

Have a random thought, comment? Ask me :)

 
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