How can a website help your business?

does not have a status.
admin's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/10/2010

I'd like to break the ice here on the JB2B Networking Group blog. This blog should be a place to share your knowledge and expertise - a way to spark conversation about your industry and the work that you do, and to educate the group. Many things you might take for granted about your business, others haven't a clue about enough to even ask the right questions. For example, when my wife and I bought our first home, there were many things about our mortgage, about real estate agents, the buying and selling process, and certain tax advantages that we simply had no idea about, and only learned after the fact, after we made a mistake or found out through chance. That sentence alone should be an invitation to Morgage Brokers, Bankers, Real Estate Agents, Lawyers, and Accountants to step in and write articles for this blog. After my wife's (thankfully parked) car was hit by a drunk driver, navigating the claims process and dealing with a mechanic - who us laymen simply trust - outside advice from an unbiased source would have been more than welcome. (Hello Insurance agents, adjusters, and auto mechanics!)

Step up, people! Share your wisdom! Get involved with the articles and post comments and questions. You all have a lot to offer, and if you're really experts, you probably don't even realize how much you know - and how little the rest of us don't!

Well, now that I've got that little pep talk out there, I'd like to share with you some tips about how a website can help your business that you may not know.

One of the most common questions I get asked by business owners, is how much a website will cost.The problem is, there will always be someone who can build a website cheaper, just like there's always a building contractor who can give a lower quote. But let's talk about what a website can do for your business, and what those goals are worth to you. Now decide if you want to hire someone who's capable of achieving those goals, or some rice farmer in East Asia who's learning web design on an Tandy TRS 80.

Be found

The simplest and most obvious goal of any website is just to "get found." People shouldn't struggle to find your website, and preferably, you should be easier to find in the search engines than your competition. Not all web designers know how to build a website that will allow search engines like Google and Bing to find you, and usually it takes a specialist Internet Marketer to run monthly campaigns to keep you up in search results. (I'm doing my best to stay away from the buzzwords.)

Generate quality leads from your website

Many business owners take the passive approach of wanting a website just to have a website. Like road sign or business card. But you can do better than that - get people to get in touch. You want people to contact you, and generate qualified leads.

ROI: Return On Investment

Probably the biggest hurdle for a small business owner to cough up a few thousand dollars for a website is the unknown about ROI. It's difficult to know what your website will do for you, especially that there are so many people who say they're qualified. But if your designer can demonstrate how to get your site found, and how you'll generate more leads, it should be simple math to figure out how long until your website pays for itself.

Boost credibility

If your website was built by your neighbor's niece's stylist's son who's "good with the computer," you might be better off not even having one at all. Just like dressing professionally, being clean and presentable, having business cards and a business phone number, having a well-designed website adds credibility to your business. Imagine you're your own customer. If you found two websites, and one looked terrible and was difficult to use, and the other was clean and professional, who would you contact? Does a badly designed website tell you a business owner is "cunning and thrifty" or "not a serious business person"? It may even send the terrible message that you simply don't care about your customer experience!

Expand your market

Say, I have a small brick and mortar operation selling "Jeff's Widgets." I only serve my local community of 4,023 inhabitants, because why would someone drive 27 miles to buy my widgets? Reaching a wider market in the real world is expensive. On the web, simply being present makes finding your widgets a click of the button! Even without any advertising, having your products online makes it available world-wide. (Although, a good website should always be coupled with a good marketing plan!)

FREE advertising

Once you have your own website, it's simple to devise FREE or low-cost marketing campaigns. Newsletters to direct people to your site can cost you absolutely nothing. Putting up your latest promotions and online-only coupons and deals can be done within minutes by yourself, if you have a Content Management System. Tell your existing customers, "hey, check out my website for special deals!" People aren't going to drive 7 miles to Jeff's Widgets every week just to see what's there, but if they get an email, and they like your service/product, it's only a click away!

Let your employees focus on things that matter

As a small business owner of Jeff's Widgets, we have a lean staff. We are happy to answer any and all questions about our products and services. Our personal service is what sets us apart from our competition. However, there is simply no need to be fielding 12 calls a day asking how late we're open! That information should be online and easy to find. Time saved for your employees means employees can focus on the things that really matter. And it likely saves your customers' time, too, making them happier!

Empower your customers

Let your customers answer each other's questions! Set up a discussion board, or develop a group on one of the popular social media sites, where your customers and your staff can interact. Often times, they may come up with answers you didn't think of! It will save your employees more time from answering questions and will give your customers a feeling of community, developing brand loyalty and increasing exposure. It will also get them involved in your products more and provide them with a larger support group.

Elicit valuable customer input

After a customer leaves your store with a shiny new Widget, wouldn't you love to ask him how he likes this new model over the last one when he gets home? What other questions would you like to ask him? How would his answer change the way you do business? Sending out follow up emails to customers to fill out a survey form (for prizes, points or coupons) can gain you valuable information. Couple the survey with a small promo (say, 10% off the next purchase), will increase the odds they'll give you answers.

Save money on printing

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars printing expensive catalogs, brochures, and direct mail. Offering the information online and sending out emails can cost nothing! Oh, and think of all paper and trees you just saved. Good for the environment, and good for your pocket!

Now you have an idea of some goals for your website and how the web can really help your business. How much are these goals worth to you?

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have other ideas of what a website can do for your business? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Mike Fisher's picture

Great article! The importance of a website can easily be shrugged off but as more time passes, the importance of a website takes on new meaning to the educated business.  Explore new markets, test new marketing campaigns, find new partners, the possibilites are endless.  In 1998 I had an employee who actually yelled at me saying he did not see why I was so excited about the internet. Now, 12 years later, we have our images distributed in over 20 countries.  All possible by reaching the right business owners through the web.



We used to print catalogs in Taiwan and could only afford to put 400 images in a catalog.  Now, we have over 200,000 images online and available to be licensed with a credit card or a purchase order.



Back in 1994 we had to write code to create a web page, these days it is so much easier with software like Adobe's Dreamweaver, and content management systems that can cut development time of a website by months.



Creating a website is not the end of the story.  There needs to be a reason potential clients need your website.  It's all about content, information for your visitors that give them the reason to be at your site and to do business.  This is an everyday process, there is no end just a new vehicle to get the message out to your clients and find new ones.  The old rules still apply, it has just been amended by new ones.

Mike Fisher

312-725-0107

mfisher@seo-tv.net

Custom Medical Stock Photo, Inc.

http://www.cmsp.com/



SEO-TV Communications, Inc.

http://www.seo-tv.net/

Your-Profile-Picture.com

http://Your-Profile-Picture.c

Michael Greenberg's picture

Great insights into the benefits of a web site and using it to drive business.  I just started a business with a web site called www.imagetripping.com  Although I have a distinctive product, it is one thing to get traffic to your site playing with key words and tags, it is another thing to motivate buyers to purchase  your product once at the site.


Does anyone have insights into advertising on Google or other sites and how successful these have been?


Happy Chanukah all.


 


Mike  

Tevi Hirschhorn's picture

Often, the person who built your website will not be the same person who does Internet Marketing. In fact, there are some people within Internet Marketing who specialize in Search Engine Optimization and others who specialize in Pay Per Click.

Before engaging any internet marketing specialist, first decide what you want to get out of your website. Your business goals are imperitive to creating a successful online campaign. For example, Michael, your goal is to probably sell more products. Ideally, make it a specific goal: X images per month by March. Make it an attainable, realistic goal. For example, you may not physically be capable of selling a million dollars worth of merchandise, although that may be your desire.

When vetting an internet marketing specialist, ask them for their success stories, look up the very clients they're bragging about to make sure they really do come to the top of results. And definitely ask the specialist if they can give you a reference to contact so you can make sure they really deliver. There are plenty of thieves out there!

Internet marketing success is real. There are plenty of people who made literally millions on the web with successful campaigns. Formulating the best strategy balancing SEO, PPC, SEM, email marketing and combining it with your real word marketing strategy requires input from skilled and talented business folk - not just someone "who's good with computers." It also requires foresight on your, the business owner's, part.

Feel free to contact me privately if you'd like any referrals.

 

Regards,

Tevi

Tevi Hirschhorn
Director, Internet Operations
Jewish B2B Networking Group

Mike Fisher's picture

Michael,

I have unique insights into marketing on the web.  First of all, Google does not really tell anybody the rules of the game.  There is a lot of guessing our there and there is much experimentation.  Some posts on SEO sites will tell you that Google does not really look at keywords anymore but the title and frequency of keywords is more important.  Others talk about  keyword density but talk also talk about focused keywords to optimize the page.  There is so much more like the length of time you paid on your domain.  Did you buy it for ten years?  No just a year?  Are you serious about your business?  As a human you would say sure I am.  As a computer looking back at your whois record may say well, if the domain is due for renewal in a year, it must not be "releavant".   Therein lies the key, relevancy.



SEO is a multiforked approach on many levels.  From keyword association and well structured domains to DNS records being correct to creating content, social site posts and yes we have only scratched the surface.  My site has at least 3400 inbound links and on another reporting site it says over 5000.  Still Alexa only counts Alexa users.  There is quite a fractured view out there but it is possible to find yourself on the second or third page wihin a month if you do enough work.  Six months for sure.  The real work is getting into the number 1 slot on page one of organic SERPs and not have to pay Google or Yahoo outrageous sums.  I know, we used to spend over $2000 a month on paid positioning.  You don't need to spend that kind of money.  You may as well buy a good print ad in a magazine with the right demographics for your product.

I run mail servers, linux servers and have been on the web since '86.  If you want to know more let me know.  Check out my sites, cmsp.com, art-ontv.com, seo-tv.net and more in the works.

 

Mike Fisher

312-725-0107

mfisher@seo-tv.net

Custom Medical Stock Photo, Inc.

http://www.cmsp.com/



SEO-TV Communications, Inc.

http://www.seo-tv.net/

Your-Profile-Picture.com

http://Your-Profile-Picture.c

Anne Diaz's picture

A wll optimized website can truly help your business a lot especially if you know how to get most out of it. You should know the effective ways to promote it so it could have a broader audience who could see your content. Well anyway, if ever you'll be sued for DUI case, you can seek for help from drunk driving lawyer Miami based.

Anne Diaz's picture

You can get lots of resources online on how to optimize a blog. :)

keenee's picture

If website plays an important role to grow a business. In these days people do the marketing of their business online which helps in worldwide visibility.

Wordpress Theme Customization

keenee's picture

Today, in the present world everyone wants to explore their business worldwide. For that,  Websites are the best way to get the wordwide visibility. But hosting your business on the internet via website you can explore your business. SEO in Liverpool

renisyafitri's picture

Thanks to the information, hopefully keywords into the first position in gogole.. Amiiin..

Bakteri apa yang menyebabkan infeksi ginjal

renisyafitri's picture

Thanks for the information, Very useful

Obat batu ginjal herbal

renisyafitri's picture

Thanks for the information, Very useful

Obat linu sendi lutut

renisyafitri's picture

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim  .. ya allah I just hope this could be the key words that 1 in google .. Help me ya allah ;')

Obat Penyumbatan Pembuluh Darah Di Leher

renisyafitri's picture

Bismillah.. Hopefully these keywords can be directly to the first page 1 .. Amiiin ;')

Obat pelancar haid herbal terbaik

renisyafitri's picture

But here i miss you, and i hope you come back again

Obat kelenjar ludah yang membengkak

renisyafitri's picture
rizkyherbal's picture
renisyafitri's picture

if you can dream it, you can do it

Obat asam lambung saat puasa

renisyafitri's picture

Thanks for the information, Very useful

Obat cervical syndrome

Jullijohnson's picture

Ritewik worked with all the major players in the game, especially the banks. He's super helpful, and his agency will help anyone get better ranked on lead generation company. Tell Me Your Goal has given me some very simple and valuable to-do lists for my website, which was great…