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Online Marketing

Embracing New Media To Help The High Street

The next time you take a walk down your locak High Street it’s worth recognising the fact that you are witnessing something of a miracle.

In these difficult times for “brick and mortar” businesses the continued existence of city and town centres as vibrant shopping areas owes much to tbe tenacity, drive, enthusiasm and sheer doggedness of the business owners involved.

Town centres are just shopping and retail areas, they form a vital hub in the lives of our towns and a living link with the past, to an era when there wasn’t much choice, long before mass ownership of private vehicles and the term of “out of town” mean the countryside, not a large cinema and retail park!

But even the most committed of “real” businesses nowadays need to embrace the digital world and utilise and leverage the marketing benefits it can bring.

From the local grovery store who offers online delivery to the hairdresser who promotes her special offers via facebook, the good news is that business owners are fighting back and claiming their space in the online world.

One such is Mark Davies, of Chiropractors Rayleigh in Essex who has found that having a strong online presence has been vital to his business. “I know myself that when I’m looking for something the first thing I do is get my phone out and serach Google, ” says Mark. “There cama a point when I had a lightbulb moment and realised that I needed to be at the top of those searches.

Putting flyers through doors, or having ads in thge local paper were producing miniumal returns, and I was fed up with a “throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will stick” approach to marketing.

“Entering the online world was a bit like taking my car to the garage – your feel out of your area of expertise and are almost anticipating the sharp intake of breath and being told that it will cost more than you had thought. The truth is that there are good companies out there to help local businesses like mine, including government initiatives, it just takes a bit of sifting to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

After the post credit-crash dip in local retail there has been something of a “tentative” revival, and for local businesses to thrive they need to embrace all marketing avenues, particularly those that are low cost with possible high returns.

A business can build a website cheaply by using services provided by companies such as weebly or godaddy. A Facebook page can be constructed in less than an hour and can pay huge dividends, particularly if your business targets younger, mobile and internet savvy customers.

Google and Facebook both offer online help to enable you to start advertising with them, and a quick search online will reveal the source of vouchers which enable you receive a free advertising allownace on both of these platforms.

The High Street may be changing, and operators there may have many challenges, but by utilising mobile and internet marketing they can demonstrate that there is still life in the old, (and beloved), dog yet.

Useful Resources: BBC News – Running A Business

 

 

Why Local Trades Owners Need To Be Net Savvy

There’s no doubt about it that word-of-mouth recommendation is the best advert for your business. A good word from a trusted friend goes a long way in convincing any of us to watch a movie, visit a restaurant or use a local business.

Word Of Mouth Recommendation Is Important
Word Of Mouth Recommendation Is The Best Advertisement

Nowadays online recommendations play a huge part in where customers spend their money.

I recently wanted to buy a new television and spend at least three hours reading reviews on various models before deciding on my chosen unit.

Potential customers of your services are able to do the same, which places a higher tarrif on providing excellent customer service – and in dealing quickly and politely with complaints.

Local tradespeople need to take particular note and understand the power of the web to give business and to take it away.

Business owners need to educate staff on the importance of all aspects of their behavious and interaction with the public, lest a bad online review stop the phones from ringing. The converse is also the case, but it is hard to recover from bad reviews.

Fortunately there exist many online reputation management resources which can be freely found by any Google search. Some companies will also give you a free assessment of your online status. I have not personally used any of these so I cannot comment on any particular firm.

Finding business online can offer a short-cut for new businesses, or an established company moving location.

Kevin Johnston of Tectum Solutions roofers in Galashiels area in the Scottish Borders recently faced this situation when he moved from just north of London.

I had no roots in the area and found myself with the prospect of competing against established firms,” said Kevin. “At first this was daunting but I realised that the internet could actually be my best friend. As long as I could appear on the local listings and get to the first page I knew I could get the chance to deliver quotes.

I figured it would take me time to get a name locally, but thanks to my website I gained those first few important customers. They were delighted with my standard of work and from then word-of-mouth kicked in.

Kevin’s experience is a great example to other local tradesmen that they can develop their customer base by taking advantage of the internet. In fact a carpet fitter friend of mine recently created pages on his website specifically for each of the towns he felt were in his work radius. After 6 weeks he recieved his first enquiry via the site and since then the phone rings two or three times per month with enquiries from these other towns.

He paid around £60 per page from his website designer and the cost of the pages was covered in the first couple of jobs.

So, I’ll leave you with one question. How can you break out of your area and break into new territory with your business?

Questions To Ask Before Hiring An SEO Company

Being on Page One of Google is vital for most businesses. Very few people click onto the second page or lower in the search engine rankings so dropping off the first page can make a huge difference to the number of enquiries you receive.

I receive junk email every day from companies promising that they will get me to the top of Google – often for sursprisingly low prices. Some of them can be quite persuasive but I don’t feel confident in hiring such a service without a personal recommendation.

But if we do wish to hire an SEO expert what should we ask them? Stephen McTaggart, Director at Build Business Online Ltd. an SEO business in Edinburgh provided me with some answers.

“Do they eat their own cooking? Can they show you where they are ranking themselves? If you can’t find them in the search engines then how confident can you be that they will get you to the top?

“Make sure they start with an analysis of your chosen keywords. This is fundamental. Often business owners think they know what their customers are searching for, but often they are surprised when they see the actual figures.

“How does your existing website shape up for those keywords – is it well-optimised? Is it over-optimised?

“Ask the company about Panda and Penguin. These are the names of two recent Google updates. If they don’t know what they are then find another SEO company.

“Do they use automated tools to build links? If so, where do these links go? If they say “yes” and they go directly to your site then walk away. This is exactly the kind of link-building that Google penalises.

“Ask how long will it take to get you to Page One. If they give you a time figure before carrying out any research then walk away. If they give you a time frame of less than 2 weeks then it may be that they will be using methods that could jeopordise the long-term health if your website, so again walk away.”

Making a bad decision on SEO can have a devastating impact on your website rankings so be sure to do you due diligence on the compaany you choose.

It would appear to me that you should look for slow, steady results, and if a service appears too cheap compared to most other companies it could be that the methods they use will land your site in trouble.

Recovering a website from a Google penalty can be very difficult and it is better to avoid getting into trouble in the first place. Stephen says that on occassions it may be better to scrap a domain name and copy the website onto a new one, but he has successfully breathed new life into sites that were previously penalised.

As is often the case, it’s probably best to leave it to the experts and for us to concentrate on our own business strengths.

Internet Design Pointers To Build A Better Website

Many business owners  want a strong web presence and a well designed website, but do not try it due to the fact that they think it will be too difficult. If the idea of internet design intimidates you, scan this article and read the essentials then see if you’re still skeptical.

If you want your site to attract and keep numerous visitors, it has to be simple to browse. It ought to be painless to locate crucial links and various other information. A navigation menu will also assist visitors locate specifically what they’re trying to find. Make sure that you have links posted to every page of the website. This will permit visitors to quickly navigate their way around.

Nowadays with so many smart phones and tablets in use it is vital that you create a mobile website for your business. If your site does not show up properly on a mobile device you stand the possibility of alienating and losing potential customers.

older woman at computer

Go easy on using Flash – this is not supported on iPhone and iPads.

Make sure you have a sign-up form for a newsletter on your site. This is perfect way to keep in touch with potential customers and tell them more about your products and/or services. A free giveaway, such as a valuable report, can help convert more casual visitors to subscribers.

Constantly check your internet site for busted hyperlinks. Make the check right before your upload it and make it available online. This is essential since when you have visitors come to your site they will discover that the information they want to see is not available any longer and if this is to take place a lot on your website, they will leave. You can avoid this by often examining that all links still work.

WordPress has become a pupular platform for website design due to its ease of use. Even if you are paying a website designer to build your site, if it is made in WordPress it will be realtively easy for you to edit and add fresh content to.

Always prevent complex captchas unless you are using them for user registration. CAPTCHA are a complicated approach of proving an individual is human, not a spam bot. Nonetheless, humans can dislike these profoundly when browsing a website. A lot of visitors will merely leave the website and use an additional resource rather.

You ought to have a great idea of where you have to start to develop a good site. Keep in mind that you can always discover more about internet design, so always try to find up-to-date expertise.

Business Tips To Get You Found Online

We love business!

There is nothing like the feeling of making your own success. But it can be a lonely and confusing journey at times. There are so many plates to spin it seems inevitable that some of them will fall and break.

WIMAXMAPS = Work It MAX More And People Succeed.

This sums up our philosophy in business and life. Doing “enough” isn’t enough – to get the success you need you have to be continually pushing the boundaries.

We will be bringing you the best tips of help you and your business grow strong and keep developing. We are gathering the real world advice of business men and women who share with you what it took them, in some cases, years to learn.

We’re here to help shorten your own learning curve.

But it’s not just in the day to day running of your company that we focus, we also give you help with the possibilities opened up by the internet.

It’s a fact nowadays that your business needs a strong online presence in order to compete effectively.

That can be a complex process.  You need to

  • Design A Website
  • Get Your Website To The Top Of The Search Engines
  • Convert Visitors Into Customers

Fortunately there is a wealth of experience you can tap into online to help shorten your learning curve. From watching videos on YouTube to teach yourself,  or quickly and cost-effectively finding skilled freelancers to do the tricky jobs for you, you can move forward more easily than ever.

Our intention on this site is to share what we’ve learned, sometimes by getting it wrong, but mostly getting it right (eventually).

We hope you find our content useful.