This debate is very popular among entrepreneurs. Time and financial resources are limited and trying to get clients is a huge challenge.
Having spent the past decade building websites and being a Social Media junkie (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a reluctant user of Instagram and Pinterest as I am verbal rather than visual), here are my thoughts.
What is "too much time" spent on your website? What is "too much money" to pay for a website?
I will be the first to admit that the world of websites is a terrifying place if you are not tech inclined. The vision you have for your website seldom matches your budget. Before signing on the dotted line, do your homework.
Have a website with a good foundation that you can grow as your business grows. Get the essentials above and keep your site updated, backed up and secure.
Most businesses do not spend enough time on their websites.
Ask any website developer and they will tell you that getting content from clients is a nightmare. This is one of the key reasons why website projects stall.
If the website is completed, it needs fresh content to keep Google and other search engines happy. This is why technology moved on long ago from static websites that were never updated from the day they were launched. A stunning website with all the bells and whistles but doesn't get updated, isn't optimised, is slow to load is like having a huge department store in the desert.
It is essential to own and control your data. If you have your own website, you own the data you collect for your opt-in mailing lists.
Far too many companies ignore enquiries.
Having your contact details easily accessible and a detailed enquiry form is essential. Even more importantly, respond to enquiries promptly.
- Which free social media platforms are right for your business?
- How much time do you need to spend on free Social Media platforms to build up a dedicated following and generate consistent engagement?
- What type of content do you need to create to post on these Social Media platforms?
- What about the algorithms used by the Social Media platforms that ensure that a very small percentage of your followers see your posts unless you pay for ads?
Social Media platforms are there to make money. They want your data. If a social media platform closes down, you lose all your hard earned contacts and engagements.
Case Study 1
In 2018 I belonged to a Businesswomen’s Facebook Group with more than 8000 members. It was wonderful. Huge interaction and engagement with women from all over the world sharing successes and failures, ideas and innovation. The owner of the group realised she had built up a reasonable asset and decided to monetize it. It would become a closed group with paid membership. In less than a week, access to the group was closed. From 8000 members the group reduced to around 150 paying members.
Case Study 2
In 2016 I took on the management of an adventure company which had been operating for 20 years. In 2016 the company had a static website with very outdated information. The main contact name and number was for someone who had recently died and I could not get the website manager/host to update the site for me.
I created a new website which was responsive (scales to all devices), was simple, regularly updated and had a detailed enquiry form. I submitted the site to Google and shared the content across all my various Social Media platforms.
The website was consistently number 1 on Google Search without any paid advertising anywhere and no brochures or other promotional material. Because I had a detailed enquiry form, I was able to analyse where the enquiries came from:
1. 70% direct Google search
2. 22% word of mouth and returning visitors
3. The balance from Social Media and a road sign.
I had a policy of responding to all enquiries within 2 hours either via e-mail or Whatsapp or call and I doubled the turnover in the first year and continued to grow the business year on year.
1. To market successfully you need to combine your website, your social media and your face to face networking.
2. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a website but you do need a website that works. If you are not tech savvy, don’t try and update your site yourself. Pay someone to do it for you. Build a relationship with your website developer.
3. You do need a professional e-mail address. Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo addresses do not give the impression of a proper business.
4. Use Social Media to draw people to your website. Social Media is not free. It takes time to build up a following and time is money. To reach a wide audience you need to pay for Social Media advertising. Be in control of what you post. Don’t outsource to a Social Media “expert” without doing your homework.
5. Get out into the real world and network as much as you can.