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10 Effective Ways to create Awareness of Your Business (and your website)

In all small business, it is enormously important to make sure that your target audience is aware of your services and products whenever they need them. Ideally, they will think of your business automatically when the need arises. This is achievable when a lead generation process is used in conjunction with a strategic sale funnel.

The moment where a customer becomes aware of your business and what it has to offer, the lead generation process begins to take place. All leads created here are vitally important as they “pull” the customer into your system for nurturing further down your sales funnel.

To kick things off and make your prospective customers aware of what you have, here’s ten effective “tools” that you can use:

Facebook Ads

Advertising on the #1 social media platform, Facebook, is great for targeting the exact audience you want as you can use the Facebook Ad tool to select the personal traits and interests of potential customers. With a budgeting level that you specify, it is also cost effective for any growing business.

Networking

Build trust and awareness of your business by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, offering your services to non-profit organisations and participating in community groups such as Rotary and Lions. Get your name out there!

Traditional Advertising – Radio and Print

If your target audience is likely to read your local newspapers and listen to local radio, don’t hesitate to use these traditional methods to promote your brand. Be sure to track any results (from marketing point to customer) to ensure that your marketing budget is not being wasted.

Social Media

Be visible on at least two social media platforms to cast a broad net over your target audience online. As a guide, Facebook is great for “business to consumer” promotions, LinkedIn works for “Business To Business” awareness and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is emerging as a powerful tool for all audience levels.

Content Marketing

The most authoritative way to establish trust and industry leadership is through the creation of powerful content for your website. Blog posts, videos, podcasts and demonstrations can quickly prove that you know your industry and what your clientele needs from you.

Direct Mail

If you can determine a specific market that is screaming out for your services or products, why not physically contact them with a direct mail campaign, specifically designed for that market alone.

Good SEO on Website

Make your potential customers aware of your business through the application of good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices on your website. Ensure that you are “loved” by Google through using effective key words and descriptions on your site along with fresh content and quality inbound links.

Google AdWords

Along with effective SEO practices, you can also engage Google with a paid, structured AdWords campaign designed to target your specific customer demographic.

Partnerships

Partnership programs work with businesses that complement each other and can be done in a very subtle, effective way. For example, a mechanic, upon the completion of a routine service, could leave a small promotion flyer on the dashboard from the local Car Detailer. The detailer could do the exact same in return.

Referral Programs

Join with other local businesses to create a referral program where businesses refer their client base onto the services of others in return for discounts or other reciprocal arrangements.

In addition to these ten tips, there are literally dozens of different tools that you can use to make your target audience aware of your business and its products/services. The trick is to determine which methods are going to be the most effective in gaining the attention of your ideal client and utilising them to your advantage on a consistent basis.

Five Tips to get your new site noticed by Google

A common misconception that I come across with new clients, launching their very first site, is that websites instantly appear on Google after the launch.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case – it can take up to two weeks or more for your site to appear anywhere in the search rankings. Google dictates this “flexible” timeline. Once notified of the new site’s existence, the “GoogleBots” need time to visit and “run” it through their search algorithm which determines where the site will appear in rankings. Luckily, there are a few small things that you can do to speed up the process and make your site “Googlebot-friendly” and all of them can be done by you – the website owner.

#1 – Create a site map

In short, a site map makes your website more accessible for the GoogleBots that “crawl” the web. A small file that sits on your server, the map informs search engines which pages are available for crawling and provides them with a simple “roadmap” of how the pages are structured.

To make a site map for your WordPress site, download and install the Google XML Sitemap plugin. Once installed, the plugin will automatically create a site map that is readily available to any bots from any search engine – with no more input required from you.

#2 – Use an SEO* plugin

Another tip for those website owners using the WordPress framework is to download and install either the All-in-One SEO or Yoast SEO plugins. These plugins are designed specifically to set up your website for search engines.

They allow you to tweak the keywords, titles and content of your site and, most importantly, the plugins will let you know where your site needs attention in regard to SEO. They also help with linkages between your site and your social media presences (Facebook, etc.)

* Search Engine Optimisation

#3 – Sign up with Google Search Console

Having your site registered with Google Search Console is a must. Not only do the SEO plugins above insist on it, registration is also the fastest way to get Google to notice your site!

The Console helps website owners monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site’s presence in Google Search results. With the provided tools, a site owner can also request the re-indexing of new or updated content as the site grows – keeping their Google listing fresh and up to date!

#4 – Create inbound and outbound links

One of the simplest ways to win favour with Google is to have your website address shared and displayed on established websites. These older sites are already listed with Google and as the GoogleBots regularly visit them, they will pick up the new site address when they next sweep through. This prompts Google to “check out” the new site.

In return, the new site should link back to the established website. This is known as a reciprocal link.

#5 – Set up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free online service offered by Google that gives you insights into how site visitors find and use your website. It allows you to track many important statistics and, being from the search giant themselves, it can help pinpoint where your site is successful in terms of search rankings and where it isn’t.

Using the data provided from Google Analytics, you will be able to target your site visitors with what they want, evaluate the traffic flowing through your website and identify which content is most popular with visitors. You will also be able to view the bounce rate of your site to see if what you are offering is keeping your site visitors interested.

This is all valuable that you can use to make adjustments and climb the all-important search rankings.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it is Google that determines when and where your site will appear in search results. The five tips above will give you back some of the control and allow you to “tinker” with the SEO options for your site. With time, patience and many minor adjustments, you should gradually start to see improvements in your rankings as your site starts “clawing” its way onto page one of search results – which is the ultimate goal.

How can my regional small business benefit from a website?

In the small coastal town of Ingham, where Tropical Coast Web Design is based, most of the small businesses have been happily operating in the same way with the same customers for many years.

Regional Small Business

However, it is evident that the town’s small businesses are struggling in 2019. There are numerous empty shops on the main street and business confidence appears to be down with little “outside” business coming to town.

Introducing my business to the community in 2018, I began attending the local Chamber of Commerce meetings and talking to local business owners. A common theme that I found was that some businesses saw online competitors as a major threat – which is fair enough – they were losing business online. However, several that I spoke to needed clarification on how their own website could help them level the playing field and play “toe to toe” with the big guys.

Here’s a few ways that a small business in a regional town can benefit from an online presence:

Greater Visibility

Most customers under 50 are internet-savvy and that number is growing daily. We now have a whole generation of prospective customers who don’t know anything but life with the internet. I can guarantee it – your customers are looking for you online. And if they don’t find you, they will find your competitors.

In short – get online. Your customers demand it.

24/7 Service to Customers

With the advent of the internet (and faster connections), customers expect businesses to be available all day, every day to help us with our questions and enquiries. Luckily, with a clever website with though-out content, this doesn’t mean that you have physically monitor the site 24 hours a day. If required , your customers should be able to access how-to guides, FAQs and product information via your site. They should also be able to send you enquiries that can be answered during business hours.

Makes Sales while you sleep

This one is a no-brainer. Setting up your business with an online-store (or even just an online order form) means that you can take sales any time of the day – even when all your staff are at home and fast asleep. Even service-based businesses without online stores can take bookings and payments 24/7 through their websites (PayPal has made this very easy to access).

Get in front of your customers otherwise your competitors will be.

In a small town, people prefer to “go with a local”, even if this means a slight increase in price. If a home-grown store can supply orders via their website, most locals would choose this path over an online order with one of the “big guys”. However, if that store is not online and customers can’t find their prices to compare with the larger chains, they will most likely miss out.

For some small businesses who recognise that they need a website to remain competitive, a perceived roadblock is often the price. Bigger city firms can charge an arm and a leg to create you a site, but often that amount of money is just not available. Luckily, your marketing budget doesn’t need to be sacrificed to create an effective site that brings you sales.

Shop around (look for a free quote link on any designer’s website) and find someone who is producing work that you like – look at their online portfolio – at an affordable price.

Tropical Coast Web Design prides itself on creating effective sites at affordable prices. We are a small professional team which allows us to keep our costs down, which we pass onto you.

Get in touch today – we’d love to help get your regional small business online.

 

Sales Funnel Phase One – Awareness

Phase One - AwarenessIn the initial moments where a customer becomes aware of your business and what it has to offer, the all-important lead generation process begin to take place.

Any leads created here are vitally important as they “pull” the customer into the system for nurturing further down the funnel. Without this “pull”, the remainder of the funnel will be ineffective.

With the advent of digital marketing, creating a awareness of your business is not as hard as it used to be. Here’s some “tools” that you can use to generate awareness of your business:

Facebook Ads

Advertising on the #1 social media platform, Facebook, is great for targeting the exact audience you want as you can use the Facebook Ad tool to select the personal traits and interests of potential customers. With a budgeting level that you specify, it is also cost effective for any growing business.

Networking

Build trust and awareness of your business by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, offering your services to non-profit organisations and participating in community groups such as Rotary and Lions.  Get your name out there!

Traditional Advertising – Radio and Print

If your target audience is likely to read your local newspapers and listen to local radio, don’t hesitate to use these traditional methods to promote your brand. Be sure to track any results (from marketing point to customer) to ensure that your marketing budget is not being wasted.

Social Media

Be visible on at least two social media platforms to cast a broad net over your target audience online. As a guide, Facebook is great for “business to consumer” promotions, LinkedIn works for “Business to Business” awareness and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is emerging as a powerful tool for all audience levels.

Phase One - AwarenessContent Marketing

The most authoritative way to establish trust and industry leadership is through the creation of powerful content for your website. Blog posts, videos, podcasts and demonstrations can quickly prove that you know your industry and what your clientele needs from you.

Direct Mail

If you can determine a specific market that is screaming out for your services or products, why not physically contact them with a direct mail campaign, specifically designed for that market alone.

Good SEO on Website

Make your potential customers aware of your business through the application of good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices on your website. Ensure that you are “loved” by Google through using effective key words and descriptions on your site along with fresh content and quality inbound links.

Google AdWords

Along with effective SEO practices, you can also engage Google with a paid, structured AdWords campaign designed to target your specific customer demographic.

Partnerships

Partnership programs work with businesses that complement each other and can be done in a very subtle, effective way. For example, a mechanic, upon the completion of a routine service, could leave a small promotion flyer on the dashboard from the local Car Detailer. The detailer could do the exact same in return.

Referral Programs

Join with other local businesses to create a referral program where businesses refer their client base onto the services of others in return for discounts or other reciprocal arrangements.

There are literally dozens of ways that you can make your target audience aware of your business and the products and services it has to offer. The trick is decided which methods are going to be the most effective in gaining the attention of your ideal client.

In our next blog post, we’ll move onto the next phase in the marketing funnel – Conversion – where we take the potential customers who are now aware of your business and begin to convert them from prospects to actual customers.

Avoid the Pitfalls of a Dodgy Web Developer.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Checking out your competitors is a must for any small business working online, even in our field of web development. By following businesses in the same marketplace as yours, you can keep an awareness of your competition’s offerings and keep abreast of changes in your industry.

Recently, whilst developing a new pricing structure for Rusty Mango Design, I have observed that there are a few unscrupulous practices that some web developers are engaging in. The products and services that they are offering are not exactly what their clients are paying big bucks for. These operators are the equivalent of the dodgy used-car salesman.

Luckily, by following a few simple tips, you can avoid the pitfalls of working with one of these so-called “web developers”.

Watch out for cheap templates being sold as “custom” website design.

The most common trait of a dodgy web designer is the practice of purchasing and using cheap templates and passing it off as their own work.

Purchases these themes from sites such as Themeforest might be fine for some however, as themes can often be bought for less than $60, it seems very wrong that a “web developer” can charges hundreds of dollars for work that they aren’t doing. These operators generally have no knowledge of website coding and, beyond adding pretty pictures, will not be able to modify or customise the site.

The major downside to this – your site will end up looking exactly like thousands of others who use the same theme.  

Rusty Mango Design uses a base theme for our websites called “Rusty Mango Responsive”.  As you can guess by the name, we developed the theme ourselves and it provides a solid foundation from which we build our customised websites, tailored made and coded to our client’s individual requirements. You can’t buy our theme online.

Shop around for the best Price VS Services.

Don’t accept exorbitant fees for website development simply because “that’s what it costs these days”. A web design doesn’t have to break the bank and eat your entire marketing budget. Most developers offer a free quoting service via their websites so use these to your advantage and compare what can be done and what at what price.

With the number of designers competing for your business, you no longer have to pay big city prices for a website but on the other hand, don’t expect to get a customised site for $99 – it just ain’t going to happen.

Use a Local Developer

The most effective websites are the result of clear communication between the business and the developer. Goals are clearly laid out at the beginning of the design and constant adjustments are made in consultation along the way.

This communication can take many forms but it is important that it is ongoing. I’ve heard stories of web developers being very communicative during the initial discussion of a design but once the quote has been approved and site is developed, they aren’t heard from again. After launch support is important – without it the site becomes stale and the business loses out in the long run.

Using a local web developer can avoid the pitfalls of lost communication. You can visit the developer, be an active participant in the design process of your site and, when it’s all online, receive training, support and assistance to keep the site fresh and performing optimally.

Best of all, if you don’t hear from them – you can turn up on their door step ????

Finally,

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Always insist on a Pre-Design Agreement or Detailed Quote.

NEVER hire a web developer who hasn’t clearly laid an exact description of the work they are going to do for you and the service they are going to provide afterwards. This may be in the form of a signed contract or, if you work with Rusty Mango, a detailed quote that describes exactly what is going to be done and for how much.

Be sure that any changes to this document are also documented using Change Orders and keep a close track whether these changes tie in with the initial quote. Without this proper documentation, a dodgy web developer can possibly rip you off for thousands of dollars.

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