Website and Home Page Content-
When we talk about websites, the first thing to consider is that there is no one way to design a website that works. To further my example, Google's website has about as simplistic a home page as you will find on the Internet and yet, it is the top ranked website in the World. Therefore, the belief that your website home page needs to look like a catalog with every from soup to nuts listed on that first page to drive traffic is not true. On the other hand, the home page on Yahoo, the number 4 ranked website (according to Alexa) has about as much information as any business should ever want to present on one page. Therefore, the answer to what your website's home page should like look is somewhere between Google and Yahoo. Additionally, as you think about your website you need to account for the new 4G phones, smart phones and other high-speed mobile devices that are now being introduced across America. These mobile devices will help increase the number of daily searches due to inexpensive Internet access through near broadband quality speed that will also drive e-Commerce solutions for small businesses as well since consumers will be connect virtually 24/7 like they are with cell phones now.
By now, nearly everyone in business has been contacted by one or more firms professing to have the answer as to the type of website design that will work best on the Internet. The only problem is that most of the Companies calling you don't have a successful website themselves, so how do they know what will work for your business? Furthermore, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms typically only provide some of the services that you will need to be successful on the Internet. Unfortunately, modifying your website and organizing and/or incorporating a few keywords on your site will not likely result in generating lots of traffic for your website and/or becoming profitable. If traffic alone were the key to success then why not just hire some high school kid to stand at a busy intersection during commute times with a sign that says "CALL MY BUSINESS NOW.COM.?" While that will have some value, it certainly won't generate enough traffic to keep you in business long term. Therefore, you need much more than just traffic. You will need the right kind of traffic and you also need that traffic to turn into paying customers.
This is the one topic that will likely make or break your small business whether you have a marketing campaign on the Internet and/or promote your business offline. Many small business owners know what they have to sell and even have some idea of who will buy from them. However, very few business owners know which products or services have the most profit potential and/or how to develop them and this is why most small businesses eventually fail within 5 years. This article would be of little use to you if we did not use some real examples. Therefore, as part of this series, we will offer at least one Customer Case Study as an example to demonstrate that these strategies have been proven and why you might consider applying them to your business too.
Mr. Metro Plumber (named changed) is a 30 year-old family owned business with over $5 Million in annual sales. The Company employs over 20 FT people and is located in one of the top 10 US metro markets. He did traditional advertising with Yellow Pages, Newspapers, Coupons, Radio, Cable TV, had a well designed website and used a local SEO firm, but was not happy with the results. When we met Mr. Metro Plumber, he told us that he had all the business he could handle and that his company was well known throughout the area. However, as we got to talking he complained about how some of his technicians were driving over an hour one-way to call on customers for $65 service calls. It seems that Mr. Metro Plumber was caught up in the "low price" game to get into people's homes. While this might be a good strategy for a new business with limited overhead, it is not the best strategy for an established 30 year-old Company.
During our meeting, I mentioned that I had noticed that Mr. Metro Plumber had a small showroom on the first floor that showcased Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures. I then asked him if that was something new to his business and he said that the showroom was 3 years old and was used for customers interested in remodeling. I then asked him what those jobs were worth and he told me that they ranged from $5,000 for small Bathroom Remodeling Jobs to over $100,000 for custom Kitchens. I then asked him how many of his customers were using his services for Bathroom and Kitchen Remodeling and he said very few. By now, you probably know where this is going, but let's continue anyway.
I asked Mr. Metro Plumber, if he had ever considered focusing more of his efforts on marketing remodeling jobs instead of the common everyday plumbing service calls, which he clearly had established with regular customers over the course of 30 years in business. I then pointed out that if he was successful in securing just one job per month (at an agreed average of $15,000 per job) per technician that his revenue would increase by at least 20% in the first year and that his overall profit would nearly double. More importantly, Mr. Metro Plumber would not need to spend one cent more in marketing than he already was spending. All he had to do was change the way he promoted his business and then redistribute how some of his marketing dollars were used.
Now this article is not intended to go into the specifics of what we did for Mr. Metro Plumber, but it is designed to show you how you need to rethink how you too can increase business by identifying profitable niches within your business and then develop ways to drive "qualified" traffic to your business that can translate into paying customers. However, we will give you some ideas of where to look. The first thing to consider is that a 30 year old business should have a good repeat customer base to work with that they can market to. Additionally, the messages delivered in any kind of advertising should include promoting profitable niches. As it applies to the Internet, you need to decide how best to attract customers to drive traffic to your website and then how you can convert them into paying customers. There are dozens of ways this can be achieved and no one way will work for all businesses.
Below are some of the ways to reach your customers via Internet Marketing:
- Keywords and Phrases (on and offsite)
- Website Promotions
- Email Campaigns
- Local Online News Publishers and Directories
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
As you begin to develop and/or expand your presence on the Internet for your business consider this: Google, the other major search engines, local and/or other sources can be effective marketing tools, but until you first understand how you can make money through developing successful and profitable niches for your business, neither Google, an SEO firm or anyone else will be able to help you make money on the Internet. Think Steve Martin in the old 1979 Movie "The Jerk." Just because he was listed in the White Pages of a Telephone Directory didn't make him somebody, it just made him another face in the crowd. To rise above the crowd you will need more than just a website. Therefore, implementing several Internet based solutions over the next 12-24 months will be critical to the long term success for virtually every small and local business in America.
Internet Marketing by LocalNet360
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Rudy Camp holds a BSBA in Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing. He spent 25 years in the Telecom and multimedia Yellow Pages Publishing Industry in sales, training, management and Senior Officer Capacities including having served as CEO of a multi-state Directory Publisher with over 30,000 customers. He is the founder/CEO of LocalNet360 and the company currently serves local and national clients with Internet Marketing solutions. Additionally, Mr. Camp participates as part of an independent consulting team that assists investors and business groups with business plan development including historical and projected financial data, research and analysis and other services used in venture capital and private equity funding transactions.