Talking to Your Neighbours in the Days of Facebook

Static websites are so last year

Why You Have to Try Online Marketing No Matter How Small Your Business Is

chatting across the fenceOnline marketing is where it’s at and I believe no business, micro, small, medium or large can afford to ignore it anymore.

I know that there are still lots of business owners who haven’t come to terms with it fully, but if you still want to be around in a few years you’d better be online and you’d better be engaged.

In 2015 I would be surprised if I still need to spend energy convincing business owners to have a website, but just having a website is not enough anymore.

I met a web developer the other day at a networking event and he sold websites to small businesses. He told me that: “We create websites for small business and a basic site starts at $750 including design and hosting for a year.” On my questioning he explained that the websites his company sold were mostly what is referred to as static sites. Static sites are essentially brochures put online and once they’re up, they’re actually not that easy to change, they’re designed to be static

Brochure

I suppose you’d have to say that having a brochure up on the web is better than not having anything at all, but only just. Unless 100% of your new business comes from direct word of mouth (“My favorite aunt told me to give you a call to supply me this widget or do this thing for me, please deliver it to my door tomorrow, I don’t care about the cost or anything else, because i trust anything my favorite aunt tells me”), every business is dependent on being found online and most importantly starting and maintaining a relationship with current and future customers online. And if you want to be able to do that at all, a static website is not going to cut it.

There are a bunch of reasons for that… Here are just a few:

  • Your customers want to be able to put your business name into their Google maps and get driving directions to your business, directly from their phone
  • Your customers want to look at testimonials from other people who have engaged with your business
  • Your customers want to be able to compare your product or services with those of others, directly online
  • Your customers don’t use the yellow pages anymore
  • Your customers spend more and more time online on social media of various forms, and they want to interact with business in the places they spend time (BTW that’s why advertising on the walls of urinals in pubs can be so effective… talk to your customers where they hang out!)
  • The big search engines and social media organisations will not rate websites that are ‘static’ well at all, meaning you will not be found if all you have is a brochure website
  • Static/ brochure websites start to look dated and sleepy very quickly, you can always tell a brochure website, they’re usually boring.

So what does that mean for you?

It’s hard to be too prescriptive of course, a local carpet cleaning business has different needs than a PR firm in the city, or a restaurant or a manufacturing business that operates nationally or internationally.

The principles

But let me give you some of the principles of online engagement and marketing to think about.

  • Mobile is getting more and more important for everything. More than 50% of searches on Google are done via handheld devices now and that trend is set to continue strongly.
  • Video is getting more and more important.
  • People spend time on Social Media, not necessarily to buy stuff. Just like you don’t spend time in the pub to buy anything else besides drinks and food. Anyone who walks up to you in a pub when you are hanging out with your friends to sell you something is generally not welcome
  • Your customers want to trust you before they will buy from you. Focus on getting them to trust you, and the rest will follow
  • Your customers will look for you where they are, they will not go looking for you elsewhere if they can help it. So if your customer is on Facebook and he wants an electrician and he can find one directly on Facebook recommended by a friend, they won’t even bother going to Google and find you there.

The backfence

Scary stuff right? But you know I’ve heard it said that there’s actually nothing new under the sun. In the old days we used to hang across the fence chatting to the neighbours and getting our recommendations and introductions that way, now we hang over the fence at Facebook and do exactly the same.

The analogy isn’t totally accurate because in the old days, your fence didn’t have any pay per click advertising stuck all over it, but it’s not that far off. It’s all about trust and being where the customers are.

And they’re online, all the time.

So you better be talking to them there… don’t you think?

PS: If it’s all too scary… drop me a line and I’ll connect you to the right people to help you get on top of this stuff… you probably shouldnt try and do it all yourself anyway

 

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