Today I dared to open one of the archived newsletters from Entrepreneur. Since I am a web designer I don’t like reading titles such as this: Does Your Business Still Need a Website?
The article discusses the idea of establishing accounts on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn instead of a website. They evaluated an individual for whom this business strategy worked out. You can read the whole article here. Before giving out my space to social networks, I would like to look into this discussion further and let you know my opinion.
Rudy Mendoza totally abandoned his corporate website saying “We spent tens of thousands of dollars on our website and got almost nothing out of it” I’m really sorry for the designer team who created the website for Rudy Mendoza. They didn’t do a great job. A good website can be profitable.
3 Main Reasons Why Businesses Shouldn’t Ditch Websites for Social Networks:
1. Social networks serve a different purpose than a website. They serve as a tool to communicate directly with customers and achieve real time feedback. The functions of third party applications are complementary to a website but should not replace them.
2. Most social networks are found to be useful when companies and individuals link to additional information about them. Social networks are just a platform to jump from, not to jump into.
3. A website can drive as much sales as, and often times more than these social media networks. Although I have achieved leads and sales from social networking sites, the majority of my business has come from my website.
A brand cannot live without a good website that provides their customers additional information or the ability to purchase the product/service they are interested in. If the company tries to remove this component they risk damaging their branding. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
Companies should use websites and social media networks to market their products or services. Why should you have to choose when you can use both?
Note: I use social media networks and find that they have been useful in increasing brand awareness for Furlong Design but I would never forgo my corporate website for those sites. Let me know what you think by leaving comments below. Original source: http://furlongdesign.com/2010/04/14/does-your-business-still-need-a-website/
There is a common theme running through all effective marketing – that is perception vs reality.
It applies to your branding (the message you are trying to relay vs the perception of the message), your client's needs (what they really want vs what you think they want) and your website (how you want it to look and how it is perceived in different browsers by your visitors).
Google Labs has a neat tool called Google Browser Size Tool which allows you to view and rate your website from your visitor's perception.
For more information, check out Keep your Marketing Tool Small & Narrow.
The small business owner has to do whatever he/she does better than the competition does. Successful marketing efforts in the current marketing environment need to address the consumer of today who is drastically different than the consumer of yesterday.
Today’s consumers are not interested in being preached at – they want two-way communication channels – hence the rise of the importance of social media.
Today's consumer no longer blindly believes business owners – they want businesses to prove and earn their loyalty. Small business owners have to "play" in the same arena their potential customers are "playing" in. They need to be accountable and have a presence. They need to capitalize on their marketing strength/advantage/edge. They need to engage their target or niche on social media platforms. They need to listen to what the consumer wants and needs and be sure they are addressing those wants and needs.
It is a tough time – but the savvy business owner will realize the importance of relationship building in business and focus his/her attentions on the relationship – both on and off the Internet.
The Internet has become so important and actually makes it easier for the small business owner to find out exactly what and where the competition is – and that is EXACTLY where he/she needs to be too. There are some really neat free social media marketing tools like HowSociable and Socialmention that can help you monitor what your competitors are doing in the social networks as well as your own traction on the social web.
Small companies can create a large presence on the Internet thereby putting them in the same playing field as the larger companies (unless the players are major, well-renowned brands like Coca Cola and Dell) The power of the Internet is boundless.
There are so many free ways to reach ones' target market. For instance, Google and Bing offer free local listings. Merchant Circle is another free site with an option for an upgrade for a fee. Manta is an outstanding marketing resource because it offers a platform for businesses to provide company details such as company name, address, number of employees, estimated annual sales and more. Do yourself a favor and do a Google search on your niche. You will be surprised at the enormous number of resources that will literally be handed to you on a silver platter. Seek and ye shall find…
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive and the economic climate is tenuous at best. As such, it is imperative that small business owners have a clear understanding of who their target market is and what their value proposition is.
Before embarking on a new or revised marketing strategy, the small business owner should be able to answer the following 4 basic questions:
1) Who are your customers?
2) What do they want or need?
3) How can you help them?
This last question is important enough to discuss separately.
4) Who are you? Sounds like a simple question but it can sometimes be a difficult one to answer.
Small businesses who offer solutions-oriented products and services might find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what their brand is. However, the successful business owner will be the one who has the ability to powerfully and effectively communicate a brand identity that meets the consumers’ needs in a better and distinctive way than competitive companies. Answering these questions is just the beginning of your marketing journey but without the right targeted direction, you might find yourself spinning in the wind.
Don’t spin, instead focus and target.
"Getting the highest ROI (return on investment) for your marketing efforts is the ultimate goal of internet marketing. But with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) pricing models all across the board, it may be like trying to find a needle in the haystack."
Read full article here.
What is a press release? It is the dissemination of information or the communication of something newsworthy to the press. At least that was the traditional definition of a press release. Today, we have the ability to reach a huge audience via the Internet. Would it be beneficial for a member of the press to help promote our product or service? There is no question that it would be. But while we wait for someone from CNN to knock on our door, we can create our own press and distribute it widely on the web for maximum brand exposure. Has your company done anything “newsworthy” lately? Have you improved or added a product line to your business? Have you moved to larger more accessible headquarters? Have you added a noteworthy member to your staff? Are you just starting out and want to announce the launching of your brand and/or website?
Read full article here.