Look around your office. Look under your desk, check the filing cabinets, check the office kitchen… yes you guessed it, there are no customers hiding in your office! They are outside in the real world and unless you invite them in or go out and pitch your business to them, they won’t know you’re there.
The same goes for your website. The “if we build it, they will come” attitude is going to get you nowhere, except maybe a meeting with your accountant to file for bankruptcy. The point is, you’ve got a great website but your customers are out there in the internet universe and not on your website – you need to get them there.
That’s great John, thanks for that. But, what’s your point? Well, you have just invested thousands of pounds into this beautiful website that whirrs and whizzes in all the right places and the web guy told you it was full of the latest technology to get you more sales. The website may get you more sales once you get the right people there, but on its own it’s just another website on the internet along with the billions of others.
Now, some of you will understand this but many of you don’t and I’m not blaming you! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was being sent an email from SuperFast Business Wales, this is a department for Business Wales. The email I received was an invite to a Digital Marketing event, so I clicked the link and decided to see what kind of support and advice they offered. I found a section with some ‘How To’ guides and took a look to see what they had about digital marketing and websites.
The thing that riled me was this; they have two how to guides, one on “Creating a successful website” and the second on “Creating a digital marketing strategy”. They are clearly aimed at giving some general knowledge about these two areas and targeting new businesses and those of us who haven’t caught up yet and are stuck in their ways. The problem I have is that upon reading these, they clearly don’t give a true view on what happens in the real world of online business. I know I may be a cynical old codger, but I have been in the online business world a long long long time and I’ve seen many great successes and a lot of abject failures. To see the advice the Business Wales are giving people just said to me that the failures of new and existing business will soon outweigh the successes.
For example, on the “Creating a successful website” I read the following: “Your website can save you money on advertising as it becomes your online advert and will typically be found by more people than from using more traditional advertising methods” – Great, but actually marketing your website costs money because you have to advertise that you have one! Secondly, on the same guide: “A well optimised website can put you in touch with more potential customers than any other method of advertising” – your website on its own won’t put you in touch, advertising your website will though.
Why do you think big businesses like supermarkets always advertise a new store opening? They don’t just build a store and hope people turn up… they spend money on advertising to let people know it’s there. Finally in this guide: “Ensure that your web designer has included all the basic search engine optimisation content to help search engines find you” – That’s fine, but it won’t do you any good now! Basic SEO such as this will get you found by the search engines but the likelihood is you won’t be anywhere near the first few pages where the customers are. We know that even in depth advanced SEO will take somewhere between 6 to 12 months before you even begin to encroach on the top pages where the customers are.
So, onto the creating a digital marketing strategy guide. This one has some good points in respect to planning but massively lacks in again the real life experience of what will make your online business a success! The guide only discusses social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and email, all of these are indirect marketing tools. If it’s purely brand awareness you’re after, then these may give you some wins but if you’re trying to sell a product or are selling b2b… then good luck.
At no point do either of these guides talk about real time cost of advertising and promoting your business. None of them mention the main players of PPC – Google Search Advertising, Google Shopping, Google Display Advertising, SEO (real SEO) Bing Text and Bing Shopping. They give you the impression all you need is a website and you have a business.
This is totally unfair to those just starting out, as they are likely to crash and burn as they have the complete wrong impression of running a business. In the real world, running a business costs money. It’s a harsh reality but to be really successful you have to spend money on advertising and unfortunately there are too many “Guides” and “Marketing Experts” out there who are scared to tell you the truth. Lucky for you… I’m not!
So if you want to talk straight about what you’re doing online and how to make a success of your business online then get in touch and talk to us today.
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