Should your business have a Website, Blog, Social Media page or email marketer?
So you may have asked yourself this question already, but have you found the right answer yet? With so many options available these days for you to begin developing an online presence, it can be confusing to know just where to start. And considering that each and every business is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
A good place to begin is firstly to think about who you want to target and why you would chose one of the three options above, in the first place!
There are many reasons that you may consider one or more of the options above; the 19 million Australians that use the internet is a good reason; the rise in the public purchasing goods online; the cost saving in marketing via ‘viral’ means compared to good old fashioned print/radio/TV advertising; and the 500 million Facebook users, or the 100 million plus twitter tweeters or, more importantly for your business, the fact that the majority of Australians using the internet have at one time or another purchased something online AND plan to do so again in future.
Whatever the reason you have been pulled in the direction of considering an online presence, it’s hard to ignore the figures and the potential audience you could be speaking to, all without leaving your office!
So let’s break down for you some of the options you have and what sort of investment in time and or cash you need to be able to commit.
|• Ranging from as little as $500 to thousands of dollars plus ongoing maintenance/SEO costs involved.
|• Moderate investment of time to keep up to date.
Websites are fantastic tools to showcase, promote and sell your product or service, but they do require cash funds or for you to be tech-savvy if you want to DIY. There are some fabulous websites out there that have all the bells and whistles in the world of IT.
As a small to medium size business, it is worth it? Well that depends on how much money you are willing to spend and how much return for investment you need, to make it worth your while. You can have a website built for as little as $500, depending on the functionality you want on your site. Most website developers will provide you with a Content Management System (CMS) so that you will be able to update the information on your site, which is important for you to do, so an investment in some personal time is also required by you.
|• Low to no-cost option
|• Moderate to high investment of time to add content and gain following
Another option is for you to start a blog. There are plenty of easy DIY platforms that are as simple as Microsoft Word to use these days, and you can even use templates that look like a website. While it is possible to have a blog with your own unique domain name, there is a small yearly cost involved to register the domain. Blog platforms such as Wordpress have some nifty features such as adding plug-ins or widgets, which allow you to add custom content such as a Social Media Share buttons, custom contact forms and many more. This can be a great option for your business if you have a bit of an idea about website templates and platforms such as Wordpress. If you are not too fussed on the website address for your blog it can be a no cost way of starting your online presence quickly, without having to pay developers to create the site for you. This option does come with certain limitations, true, however it is a great way to get started. The trick is always posting new content news or articles on your blog. If the blog sits there and does nothing, those who have read your blog probably won’t ever return to it. So while you can use this option if funds are an issue, you still need to be able to commit your time to creating the blog and then filling it with relevant and interesting content about your business.
The above two options are certainly viable on their own, but how are you going to get people to visit your website without paying for things like Google Ads or outlaying over $100/mth for a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plan? Websites and blogs are great tools (and some are already SEO’d), but if no one looks at your site or buys something from it, then it’s really just an online brochure and has little value to your bottom line. How can you remedy this you ask?
|• Great way to help drive traffic to a website or Blog
|• Low to No-cost option
|• Daily updates and activity required to build fan base
|• Lots of features such as Apps & iFrames for customisation, Places and much more
Social Media Pages:
This is where Social Media plays a part. Social Media sites like Facebook or Twitter have the ability for you to directly market your blog or website to the world, though it does require a bit of time to build your fan base. It also requires an understanding of how to talk to this audience as it’s not like your regular marketing or advertising conversations. Make your posts relevant to your audience (IE your potential or existing customers), of interest and most importantly, more casual in tone. You can post links to your website/blog regularly as the content is updated or changed and the larger your fan base, the more hits you may attract to your website which equals more sales!.
Social Media users in Australia spend a whopping 7hrs average on Social Media sites PER DAY! This gives you an opportunity to reach a lot of people on a frequent basis and keep your product top of mind. Though don’t expect immediate results in sales, this method of marketing your business requires patience and innovation. When you are using a Facebook fan page for your business, you have access to Insights which gives you a breakdown on your fans by sex, age and location. It allows you to understand your audience and adjust your approach accordingly, which is a handy tool to have at your fingertips.
Though Facebook requires an investment in time, there is little cost (or none if you so choose) to use it. There are options such as Facebook Ads, which are charged on a per click basis meaning you are charged by Facebook according to how many clicks the ad attracts. You also have the option of running competitions (in accordance with Facebook’s terms & conditions regarding sweepstakes and competitions) which can build your fan base faster and build loyalty in those fans, when the competitions are done correctly. It can also provide you a method of gaining valuable information about what people like about your products or brand, by asking your fans questions.
One thing I do like about Facebook is that it can feed into Twitter automatically, so you post something on Facebook and it appears on your Twitter feed too. This can reduce the amount of time you spend on Twitter to just finding people to follow and hoping they will follow you too plus, if your Facebook posts are interesting, it does half the job for you. Not all Twitter users use Facebook and vice versa, so using these two platforms in tandem can help to widen your reach.
Overall using Facebook and Twitter are free (unless you choose paid features like ads) though in order to be successful in this arena, you do need to be dedicated to spending time each and every day to build your fan base and friends list, then keeping regular and interesting content posted on your pages. The other great thing about these pages is that you keep this activity on your Facebook and Twitter pages and not in your email inbox, god knows that’s full enough as it is!
|• Minimal cost
|• Time investment to set up databases and custom templates
|• Best results when working in tandem with website/blog or Facebook
Email Marketing has come to the fore in the past 12mths in a big way. These days there is so much information available online about your favourite products, brands, activities and topics of interest. One way to keep up to date on all your favourite stuff is to subscribe to your favourite sites. Then weekly or monthly those sites send you a newsletter/email that contains the highlights and links to read further on those topics. It also allows brands to market deals and specials directly to your inbox. By having a sign-up form on your website/blog and even on your Facebook page you are able to build an email database of your fans that you can email en masse by using an email marketing platform. They are low-to-no-cost depending on how many subscribers you have (if you have more than 500 subscribers you could be looking at a maximum of $20/mth, which is totally worth it); they have the option to build a template for the emails you send, so that you can align your emails to the same look and feel of your website; you can personalise your emails to each and every subscriber easily without creating a mountain of work for yourself; and you can track how many people open the email, what links they click on, if they unsubscribe, or forward the email to a friend!
This type of tool allows you to comply with Anti-Spam laws, it increases your efficiency in regards to communications and gives you data, which enables you to analyse what you do well and where you may need to improve.
Even if you have little in the way of an available budget to build your online presence, there are so many tools in today’s online environment for you to ensure you don’t miss out on potential customers. Yes it requires time, but the pay off in the long run is a lot cheaper than paying an advertising or marketing agency to run campaigns for you or spending ridiculous amounts of cash on print or TV advertising. Or worse, not doing anything to promote your business at all! Especially if you are a small-to-medium size business on a shoe string, you can still have a big impact in the online arena and grow your business successfully, all from your computer.
So if you do not have the cash, all you need is to have the time and the ability to get resourceful. You can still create a formidable online presence without breaking the bank or your back. If you’re not in the game, how can you win?
Call our office today on 0755343500 (press option 1 on the menu for Rachael) for more information and handy hints that can make this process that little bit easier. Rachael will be happy to discuss your situation with you and make some suggestions about options for you to explore, that will point you in the right direction!
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