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BASICS OF AN INTERNET MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR A SMALL BUSINESS
This blog entry covers the very most important basics of your website and internet marketing.
WOZA ONLINE SHUTTING DOWN
The free South African version of Google Sites is closing down during May with users being offered the alternative of listing their businesses at Google my business / places. Listing with Google my business / places is so simple yet so important. It is now offered as part of all our web design packages and regarded as one of the important basics when starting on an internet marketing campaign. This brings us to the topic of this month’s newsletter:
THE BASICS OF AN INTERNET MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOR A SMALL BUSINESS
A. Understand how search engines work
Our training always starts with the following two YouTube videos explaining how search works and the 3-5 most common mistakes website owners make. Please watch on YouTube or on our website, where we have embedded the videos on this newsletter.
How search works by Matt Cutts
Top 3-5 Seo Mistakes - Matt Cutts
The basics covered in these two videos are thoroughly discussed during our training.
B. Understanding the Kwikwap Software
The two videos on Google is then followed by an introductory video on how the Kwikwap System works. The software is extremely user friendly. We offer more than one training session to ensure clients can easily maintain the content of their websites. We take care of the more difficult design issues and once off items such as widgets and Face book like boxes.
The following video is a good introduction to the user friendly Kwikwap Software:
C. Basic website information
We plead with all our clients to do the basics well and not to be initially too fixated on the look and feel of the website that it consumes all the time and effort when starting off with a new website. (This is usually the case when people do not understand how search engines work – Section A.)
(The look and feel is important too. We have good in-house specialists who can change it as often as you like for R700 without changing the website text and active modules.)
The basics of your website form the foundation of your website and it is important.
C.1) Business description / define page 1 of Google
It is important at the start to define those search terms you would like to be found for on page 1 of Google. (If you are the only hardware store in town or one of only two then it would be very easy to appear on page 1 for search terms like Simons Town Hardware store. If you are the 40th Guesthouse or Bed and Breakfast in Fish Hoek then it becomes more difficult.)
It is nevertheless important that we as your web design company understand for what search terms you would like to be found on page 1.
(The only guarantee for page 1 is to pay Google or other search engines and if you get more gross income than the advertising expense then you are on the right track. Kwikwap does manage Google Adwords accounts for customers.)
This newsletter is focussed on getting free generic traffic to your website. Generic is when people find your website for things other than your business name or other than paid for search results.
We need to be supplied with about 15 search terms (not more than 400 characters) you would like to be found for, which describes your business. This information will be entered under settings and admin / business description.
C.2 Important Pages (Home and About us)
A website consists of individual web pages. Any web page can be indexed by Google. Any web page has the potential to be included in search results. But ask yourself the question?
Why would Google keep this web page in its index? Is this information unique? Will it add value to the client’s of Google / your potential clients?
Your home page and your about us page are important pages on your website.
(If you have not watched the first two YouTube videos then now is a good time to watch them, or watch it again.)
Both these pages (Your Home Page and Your About us Page) should include important words you would want to be found for. Don’t start these pages with high level English explaining your vision and mission but keep it simple and to the point.
EG: for Buddy Web Design based in Southern Cape Town
(Home Page or About us)
Buddy Web Design designs websites for small and medium businesses on the South Peninsula using Kwikwap Software. We visit business owners at their place of business in areas such as Fish Hoek, Simons Town, Kalk Bay, Muizenberg, Contantia, Tokai and Bergvliet. We offer training on Kwikwap’s user friendly CMS Software.
You cannot expect to be found for search terms if these words do not appear somewhere in your website text.
C3.) Headings are important
It must be logic that the headings of individual web pages are important whether it is a product or service or a newsletter/blog or standalone custom page. The title of this newsletter could be for example changed to “Important basics for Internet Marketing” after the newsletter has been emailed. We use a title like February 2015 Newsletter seeing it affords a better chance of bypassing Email Spam Filters.
When creating your website text it is important to consider your headings and especially the headings of your products and services pages. Hopefully you should by now understand that this process is not a mechanical process but a simple natural process of defining what makes your business , products and services unique and different from your competition.
The more common your products and services the more effort you need to put into your whole website text. For example when developing the FAQ section of your website.
C4.) Quality content
Your business description ( C1) , the titles of your individual web pages (C3) , your important pages (C2) should be underpinned and substantiated by quality content which is the product of your own work and not be copied from other web pages found on the internet. Search engines ignore and even penalise websites containing duplicate content. The more in depth and quality of the information you provide the better your overall chance of your website appearing on page 1 for a variety of search results which might bring you eventual business.
Always keep asking yourself is the content of this page unique and different from what is already available on the internet and especially in the area where you operate your business in.
Once you have done your home page, about us page and your products and services pages well it should be rounded off with a comprehensive as possible FAQ section on your website. This would complete the basics of your website copy. Do this well / better than your competition and you should then be able to ask:
Why would Google not rank me higher than my competition? That is what you want to achieve with your basic website copy /text.
A good source for FAQ’s is your email inbox and outbox where people would have asked questions in the past and been answered.
C6.) PHOTOGRAPHS / VIDEOS
A few photographs on your website in between website text will make your website look more attractive and is often a better way of explaining what you do. Search engines mainly work with website text but we must remember we work with humans, our potential clients. Photographs are a way of breaking the monotony of reading trough website text.
You can have many different albums with hundreds of photographs in your website but please remember that people entertain themselves via Face book and Instagram when they want to look at pictures.
It is better to use fewer more quality photographs and use the photographs as an opportunity to create original website copy by describing the photographs which are included in your website.
D.) GOOGLE’s FREE RESOURCES
Besides registering your business with Google my business/places we register your website with Google Webmaster and submit your website’s sitemap to Google. This ensures that new websites are found and if the individual web pages meet Google’s quality guidelines that these pages are indexed by Google. Think of Google as an electronic librarian who will only keep (index) those pages that add value to the internet.
Google Webmaster will allow you to see the way which Google sees your website so you can proactively make changes to your website text.
E.) UNDERSTAND FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
When Face book and Twitter is properly understood it can be used as an effective tool to market your small business services. But maybe more importantly it needs to be understood that not all the people who like your business page will be able to see the page posts. You may be able to gather a 1,000 likes but only 5% of the people who like your page will see what you post / be reminded of your services. Some of the 5% may already be a client while some will in any event never make use of your services. You could be speaking to a dead duck every time you post something on Face book. It is important to rather first blog or for example ad a product special to your website before posting the information on your website to Face book. Your website might be returned years later when someone searches the internet via a search engine while what you post on Face book is quickly forgotten. Having Face book Pages and Twitter accounts can be good for your website’s ranking as it is a signal to search engines that you are a bona fide active business.
Be careful with the time spend on Face book and realistic about your potential reach when not considering to advertise on Face book. Face book advertising should not be ignored as you can be very specific on the demographics of the target audience who receives your advertisements.
F . ALTERNATIVES TO INTERNET MARKETING
Just as it is foolish not to market your business via the internet it can be very costly to only rely or place too high a reliance on what you can achieve via an internet marketing campaign. It will cost you your time to sit down and write good website copy. For any small business owner time is also money. Time/money which could be spend marketing the business via other means e.g. cold calling , newspaper adverts , prospecting for leads from existing customers , business lunch with an important client .
Sitting down once and doing a proper job with your website could bring in business for years to come but if possible the website should be kept up to date with at least a monthly newsletter if possible, new references and testimonials being added. If the work is done properly the monthly update should not take much time and it should be possible to do it as part of your monthly business routine.
This monthly newsletter is a good example. I am creating good, quality content. It might be edited and submitted as a freelance newspaper article where I could get some free publicity and possibly a link back to our website. But I also use this newsletter to stay in touch with potential clients.
This newsletter will be shared on some local Face book groups and it might create some awareness of our services.
G. DIRECTORIES AND PAID FOR ELECTRONIC ADVERTISING
All businesses should consider listing on free or paid for directories as well as advertising with search engines. Certain businesses almost have no choice but to advertise with established directories or search engines e.g. Guest Houses in Cape Town or if you are a new Plumber who has recently moved down from Johannesburg with no established contacts.
It is important that one understands that advertising will get you clients and income which you would otherwise never have had. If the Gross Income is more than the advertising expense then it is foolish not to advertise. It is reasonably easy to calculate the costs and benefits of such marketing campaigns.
But even if you list with these directories you should still have your own website since people prefer dealing directly with the owner of an establishment so that they might get a better price and an immediate answer about availability and questions they might have. They might find your business on a directory but often follow with a direct search for your business name.
Listing with established directories or advertising on search engines can guarantee immediate business for a new start up. These costs should be part of the budget for any new start up.
H.) LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE
An important factor search engines uses when determining page rank is to ask how many websites, also considering the quality of the websites, link to your website. Link building should be a natural process and the low quality link building schemes should be avoided at all cost. Consider your loyal suppliers, clients and associates and ask if they would link to your website in an effort to boost your website’s ranking.
As web designers operating in the Southern Suburbs we will for example seek link exchanges with local print magazines websites, local printing shops and other advertising agencies. We are happy to include links of established and local businesses which relate to our line of work on our website.
You can also buy links by advertising on directories.
You can have free links from your Face book page and your Google my business / places page to your website.
All these links are considered by search engines when determining page rank.
This brings us to the end of this month’s newsletter which has become a quite comprehensive little guide on the basics of internet marketing.
It is important that all our new clients work trough these basics and do watch the mentioned videos. When we launch the website we should tick yes next to questions like:
The launch of your website should be viewed as a good start but definitely not the end of your internet marketing campaign. Get a realistic benchmark and study the websites of your competition, those you plan to overtake in rankings. Steal ideas with your eyes but do not copy text. We will assist where we see an opportunity to bring something new to the market in terms of information.
Perhaps the most important question to ask when it comes to your internet marketing campaign is:
Am I at the right web design company?
We have taken years to establish ourselves as the go to Web Design Company for small businesses in the Southern Cape and we plan on remaining an established and trusted web design company.