Why is getting your business online important?
The simplest answer is probably also the most obvious. You are losing customers and money to your competitors that are already online. Currently, half of all business do not have a website. The good news is that it’s never too late to get online, and right now is the best time to start.
What does getting your business online entail?
- Get a business website.
You’re going to have to purchase a domain name and hosting company. The website url should contain either your company name or keywords relevant to your industry.
- Marketing your business online.
There are a number of ways to advertise your business. Social media, email/newsletters, local listings, and directory listings are just a few of the most common methods. Some are free, but most cost money.
Why is it important to have a website?
Because 78% of Americans are online, and that number is growing. According to the Small Business Administration, businesses with a website earn an average of 39% more than businesses that do not have a website. Having a professional and informative website helps to establish credibility and build your brand. A website is available 24/7/ 365, exactly when the customer needs it. It’s common knowledge that word of mouth is the best way to generate business. A website allows your friends and family to share your business information.
What are some free ways to advertise and get exposure?
- Google Places
If you have an physical business location it is critical that you claim your business or create a page for you business on Google Places. If you only do one thing to get exposure online, it should be this. If someone is looking to make a purchase right now, they want to know where to go to do just that. Google Places allows you to convey important information, such as business hours, phone number and location.
- Search Engine Optimization
Your website should be keyword optimized so that when people are searching for products or services that you offer, you will appear in the top 10 in organic search results. It is best to focus on keywords that show the searcher is in “buying mode”.
- Social Media
For the moment Facebook and Twitter are on top of the social media empire. A few years back it was MySpace. Tomorrow, who knows? It’s important to connect with your customers in these areas. Check out this article to get some insight into what an average user does on facebook.
People love to be engaged, and they love to learn new things. Oh, and did I mention Americans love to watch TV? You knew that already though, right? More and more people are canceling their cable subscriptions and switching to the internet for their source of news and entertainment. Every industry has insider tips and trade secrets. If you’re a plummer you could demonstrate how to use a snake. If you’re a painter you could show your customers how to tape up quickly and efficiently. Most times people will appreciate any free advice you can give, and when the project gets too big for them to handle, or too much hassle for them to do it themselves, who do you think they’ll call? The person they trust and have built a relationship with. The person who treats them like a valued friend first and a customer second.
If you don’t have the time, money or equipment to produce videos for youtube, you can convey the exact same message through blogs, emails and newsletters. As you probably already know, it’s important to get your business in front of your customer. If they never see you, or hear from you they will never think of you. Effective emails should be frequent enough to maintain customer recognition and sparse enough to not be annoying or confused with spam. I recommend sending once a week, or every other week.
What types of paid advertisements are most effective at getting customers?
- Google AdWords
AdWords is the number one method of paid advertising online, hands down. Google is the number one search engine, and AdWords is the name of the program that Google utilizes to gain revenue through advertisement. AdWords offers a vast amount of control over marketing campaigns, including (but not limited to): budget, location, and demographics. Combining AdWords with Google Analytics allows you to determine exactly how effective any given marketing campaign is. A powerful set of tools for anyone who wants the most money for every dollar spent.
- Local Webpages
Every community has a set of local websites that they frequent that are known to the community and can be used to gain exposure. The first place I’d recommend is the local newspaper’s website. Many newspapers even have options to advertise both online and in the paper. The second place I’d recommend would be your local advertising website. Many people have heard of Craigslist. It’s the internet’s version of a giant national classified ad. Many local communities have similar sites that offer classified listings on a more local scale. In my neck of the woods that website would be Ocala4Sale.
- Service Directories
There are two types of service directories. The first is like an online version of the yellow pages. They have a number of listings for many different types of businesses. Many of these sites will offer free listings where you are able to upgrade if you want to include things like a link to your webpage. The second type of service directory would be the kind that is specific to your particular industry.
- Associations & Accreditations
If you are a business professional it is a good idea to become a member of any industry specific associations. Doing so may get you a listing on their site. Check out the local chamber of commerce, many times they will have listings for local members. Are you certified, registered or accredited through some program? Double check to see if there is a listing service.
What types of services does PC HandyMaam offer?
In addition to computer repair and maintenance, PC HandyMaam will now be offering Web Design and Online Marketing packages as well as monthly account management services.
- Web Design Services
At PC HandyMaam I am committed to providing personalized, custom web designs to meet each individual customer’s needs. Every new customer will get a free 1 hour consultation where we will discuss the vision you have for your site. At the end of the consultation you will be provided with an estimate.
- Online Marketing Services
Your business will be listed in numerous free online directories, including Google Places, Yahoo Business Directory, Angie’s List and more. Customer’s will also have the option to select from a number of paid directories, depending on your budget and business needs.
- Account Management Contracts
PC HandyMaam offers account management services, for a monthly fee, to include: Weekly website content updates, website code updates (as they become available), Google Analytics and AdWords campaign management and monthly management of any additional online advertising methods chosen.
- Copy Writing Services
Don’t have any idea what kind of information you should put on your website? Don’t worry. PC HandyMaam offers copy writing services and will write all of your content for you. We also have access to royalty free stock photos if you don’t have images for your business.
How much is all of this going to cost me?
An enormous amount of work goes into the process of getting your business online, and all the work done at PC HandyMaam is tailored to each individual customer’s needs, making it difficult to come up with one set price for everyone. Below I will break down the different types of costs you can expect when trying to get your business online. You’re particular estimate may be less than, or more than what is estimated based on your individual business’s needs.
- Domain Name & Host – About $100-200 per year
Every website url (domain name) must be purchased and hosted. What this means is that if you want the website www.mywebsite.com, you must first find out if it is available, and then purchase it. After you secure a domain name, it needs to have a host which stores all of your website documents. This is basically a company that has a bunch of high powered computers, linked together, secured, always running and connected to the internet, where your website files are stored and made available for anyone to view 24/7/365.
- Website Design – Starting at $500
The most basic package of web design is detailed on the services page and includes: Assistance in choosing a domain & hosting company, A 2 hour pre-design consultation, Installation of WordPress & multiple themes, content implementation, a 2 hour post design consultation and a WordPress User Manual. Additional services, including copy writing (where I write the content for you) are available for an additional fee depending on customer’s needs.
- Online Marketing Package – Starting at $500
These are the fees that I charge for providing the service of listing your company in multiple free directories, as well as any of the paid listings that you choose. The Online Marketing package also includes the creation of an AdWords Campaign, posting advertisements to local websites, and the creation of Facebook and Twitter pages for your business.
- Directory Registration and Listing Fees – $10+ (completely dependent on how many or how few paid listings you choose)
These are additional fees that are charged by the company that you are doing the listing with. So for example yahoo business directory offers a free listing, but you have the option to upgrade to a paid listing. Listing upgrades come with added bonuses which may include: an option to add a photo, a larger add, a higher position in their search results and they may also allow you to provide more information to the customer about your business, including a link to your website.
- Account Management – $100/month
This is a monthly service contract that can be paid monthly ($100/month) or annually ($1000/year). The fee covers the cost of managing any advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as any updates to your business website.
- Copy Writing Services – $100/5 pages
Copy writing services include pages of content with a maximum count of 2500 words and unlimited photos Additional pages of content can be purchased for $30 per page (or 500 words).