How well is your business doing online? For example, is your website pulling in the amount of business it should be or could be? Or was it designed to represent your brand so perfectly that some of the more relevant business utilities were missed?
To keep with this example, many business owners–with the best of intentions- choose a website designer simply because they notice a few websites in their portfolio that happen to be in the same industry they are in or are pleasant to look at. This might seem to be a good way to choose a website designer. But as you may have come to realize, the way a website looks isn’t the only thing you should be worrying about. It’s nice to have a website that looks good, but if it doesn’t support your quest to get more business you’ll end up with a pretty site that does very little for you.
If you take just one thing away from this article, make it this – just because someone can build you a website, it doesn’t mean they should. If you want a smart, efficient and well thought out website, you have to have a smart, efficient and well thought out internet marketing plan to support building your business. Or at the very minimum, someone that knows how your website fits in to a larger internet marketing blueprint.
Don’t Tear the House Down
Let’s say you were going to build a house. What kind of contractor would you choose to get the job done? Would you choose a contractor who specializes in custom roofing for your neighborhood? Would you choose a contractor who can supply you with various types of energy saving measures for your new home? Or would you choose a contractor who has the experience and resources to build your entire home?
This example shows you just how important it is to look at the whole picture. When you want a home built properly, you need the contractor who has experience using the complete range of tools needed for the job at hand. You’ll also want to be sure they have seen and risen to pretty much all of the challenges you might face during the construction of your home.
“You can be an expert in using a drill, but there’s a big difference between knowing whether or not you’re tearing the house down or building it up.”
– Philipp Lomboy
(Author and Internet Marketing Expert)
Think about the above quote and how it applies to constructing a website. It’s great if you can find someone who can build a stunning website that takes your breath away. But does it really work? Will it generate the sales you want (need) it to? It’s perfectly possible for a website to look great and fall flat on its face when it comes to getting in the orders.
Seeing the Forest from the Trees – Creating a Blueprint for Success
Choosing a contractor that has industry expertise is great, if they know how to use all of the tools within a larger marketing strategy. Picking a website guy because you met him at a local networking meeting doesn’t constitute you having an internet marketing strategy.
Building a strategy that will work takes time and should focus on all aspects of your business. Business owners and marketing managers must be able to see the entire landscape so they can better understand how to utilize their available resources.
Whether the focus is on email marketing, pay-per-click advertising or social media campaigns it is critical to know how they fit into the larger puzzle of internet marketing. Take the time to find out what your strategy is and stick to it. It’s usually best not to expect a full blown strategy to appear during your coffee break either. You might need to get help.
Get Help Plugging Your Profit Leaks
An important part of building your marketing blueprint is to identify your current gaps and weaknesses. By learning how to plug them you’ll build a stronger, better business with the potential of larger profits.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re considering what kinds of leaks you might have:
- Are you getting the quality and/or quantity of leads necessary to support your financial goals?
Profit Leak Tip: Use your website as a lead generation source. Too many businesses forget just what a powerful tool their website is. If you’re using print advertising (yellow pages, industry magazines, etc) you can offer your readers something of value and send them to a specific web page that requires them to opt-in with their name and email. This will allow you to start automatic communication with them based on the specific message within your campaign AND you will know how effective your printed ad is in getting people to take action.
- Are you using the Internet to create more work for yourself or are you automating certain tasks that take away time from closing business?
Profit Leak Tip: Too many businesses have ignored social media because of the perceived time it takes to monitor networks and respond to tweets and messages. Did you know you can automate posting to your social networks without anyone realizing that you’re not in front of your computer? There are lots of ways you can focus on automating certain parts of your business without any of your customers being the wiser. Not only will it prevent you from running around chasing your tail all day, you’ll actually be able to get more work done and have more time for building relationships with your current customers (likely the source of the majority of your business).
You can probably tell by now that your website forms an essential part of your internet marketing strategy. Your website can function as a hub and all traffic can be directed to your site. Your website can and should function as a valuable resource that customers will recommend to their network.
You can see why it is vital to not only build your website but construct a platform that supports your larger business ambitions. For this to happen, you need to understand the landscape and see your overall strategy within the internet marketing blueprint design.
Don’t Expect Wine from Water – Setting Expectations
One last thing is to remember is to have realistic expectations. The time it takes to develop and implement a plan plus the time it takes your market to respond to your actions depends on a many factors, such as how much time, money, and resources you have to invest in your marketing.
Do you have a marketing staff responsible for executing your plan and delivering results or are you working on your plan alone a few times a week–or perhaps only a few times a month?
Setting realistic expectations for yourself, your employees, and/or your contractor is important. Are you spending $5,000 a month on your marketing or $500? If you have ever purchased a home stereo system you know that you can do a lot more with a budget of $5,000 compared to $500. With the lower budget you tend to have a more narrow focus and have limited options available.
The same is true for marketing. Align your expectations with your available resources and ability to execute your strategy and you will be able to better judge the return your receiving from your overall marketing investment. If you have a smaller budget don’t be discouraged. There are many ways to get a good bang for your buck if you have balanced expectations, patience and a good plan.