Many people believe that big business has a massive advantage in terms of marketing spend and advertising budgets, and in some cases this is true. But the internet has leveled the playing field dramatically, and now small businesses have the opportunity to compete like never before.
To do so requires smart thinking, and not necessarily big spending.
Here are some questions that I often hear asked when I recommend traditional business have an online presence, and my answers:
- Do I have to have a website? Probably.
- Does it cost tens of thousands of dollars to build a business website? No way Jose.
- If I have a website, will people visit it? Not necessarily
- Do I have to update my website? A big yes – but see below.
- Do you have to get involved in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn….. all of those social media platforms that take time – time that you need to spend actually running your business? Yes, and no.
So, that’s the nutshell version. Let’s look at some of these Q&As in more detail.
Your Business’ Online Presence
Most marketers will agree that every business should have a website, regardless of whether they manage transactions online, or not.
The reason is that the internet is what people are using to find information about your products and services. You can tell yourself that it isn’t so, if it justifies your complacency, but if yours is a plumbing business, a cafe, medical or legal practice, fitness center or computer store – your clients and customers, or their families, are using search engines like Google to find you.
How Much Does A Website Cost To Build?
Simple question, not so simple answer. It really depends on what you want your website to do, I can have a professional website built for you for under $600, with you adding the content, or I can write the content and add it to the site for you for less than $1200 – this for a neat, optimized site with up to 10 pages/posts written for you. Bingo!
However, if you want a custom-designed website, with, for instance e-commerce, shopping cart capabilities, then you will need to dig a little deeper into your pockets.
What About Social Media?
Many business owners find the thought of becoming involved in social media challenging – its hard enough running a business without such distractions. However, when managed well, social media can be a great boon to a business – and its important to realize that you don’t have to get involved in everything, all at one time.
It is worth considering where your prospects, clients and customers hang out online.
- If your’s is a business to business (B2B) enterprise, then having a personal and corporate presence on LinkedIn should be top of your list.
- If yours is primarily a business to consumer (B2C) setup, then having a Facebook Page will be very worthwhile.
- Should your product or service lend itself to video promotion/how-to demonstrations, then you should consider YouTube (which is now the second biggest search engine after Google – people go to YouTube and type in “How to ……….” every minute of every day.
- Pinterest is a photo/image based social media platform that is ideal for businesses with physical products.
All of these mediums need to be approached with a strategy in mind, and fortunately there are experts in these areas to advise you if necessary. If you are going to venture into DIY social media, then I suggest you look at the other companies are using it, and emulate the ones that have managed to engage their audiences. Choose one at the outset, and work from there.
Managing Website Content and Social Media Content
Many of my clients engage me to write their business website copy, the blog posts that complement the ones they do themselves, and their social media posts. Together we decide on a strategy that might include leveraging written content to create video and audio content as well. Often I recommend colleagues who are experts in niches such as SEO, video production, and social media marketing.
Of course, there is nothing to prevent you from writing and recording your own content, but if writing is not something you enjoy, and you’d rather keep your own hands off your website, outsourcing these tasks is best for you. I can certainly help you with your website copy, and other written content.
The main thing to remember is that when you look at your online presence, you should be able to see it constantly grow – in terms of content, interaction and search engine rankings. It is not a set-and-forget undertaking.
If you need help to establish an online presence, for a very reasonable price, I’d be happy to hear from you.