As you can see from the chart to the right, Email & Search Engine Marketing are the 2 most cost-effective methods of generating sales leads, compared to the classics of Yellow Pages, Banner ads and Direct Mail.
In fact, Search Engine Marketing is 22 times MORE cost-effective than Direct Mail, which is an amazing result!
Now, some of you already know this and that’s why you have a website up and running for your business.
If that’s you, congratulations on being pro-active, but don’t switch off here (when I start talking to those business owners without a website) because a lot of what follows is still very relevant to you.
Please note that I am NOT suggesting that you cannot improve your profits by ignoring the Internet – rather, I am simply trying to educate you on the benefits of another (very cost effective) way of increasing your business visibility and profitability.
If you bear with me a little, you’ll start to see that there are some VERY COMPELLING reasons for nearly every business decision maker to take the internet seriously, regardless of their previous experiences with it.
Remember: this report is about using “smart 21st Century low and no-cost advertising/marketing methods”… and when you compare all the alternatives available these days, the internet wins hands-down in most cases for cost effectiveness and reach.
Why Bother Having A Website?
Statistics show us that as many as 65% of all businesses (especially small businesses) in Australia don’t have an operating website.
Why is that?
I believe, in most cases, it comes down to one or more of the following reasons:
1. The business owner doesn’t believe the internet will provide them with any clients
2. The business owner thinks their firm is too small to have a website – that no one would think to look for a site in their industry, etc.
3. The cost of having one developed can be downright ridiculous
In this day & age, I would estimate that 95% of all businesses would benefit from having an internet presence, even if it were only a simple 3-6 page site profiling your firm, products/services and supplying how to contact you information.
However, perhaps the real question you should be asking yourself is NOT “Why do I need a website for my business?” but rather “What benefits am I missing out on by not having a website for my business?”
Here’s just 1 simple answer you might have never thought about before (and there are plenty of other answers for that question):
If you think of a Website like a full page Advert in the Yellow Pages (which typically costs $15,000 – $35,000 or more per year!), it offers vastly more power at a hugely reduced cost.
Yellow Pages vs. Your Own Website
Yellow Pages Ad
Your Own Website
|Content||There’s very little you can say about your business in a tiny little rectangle or even 1 page. And don’t even try to update your content during the year!||Show off your local business to its best advantage. No size, color, or media limitations. Update anytime — make special offers, let visitors know about new products or services, etc.|
|Visitor Attention||Near zero — eyes scanning listings||Total — once your prospective customer is on your site, you have 100% of his/her attention.|
|Visitor Mindset||Dubious, suspicious — Yellow Pages is advertising. We’ve all had experiences with services that were downright dismal. Zero credibility.||Interested, open-to-buy, PREsold — they found you through Google, feel smart, and read your excellent content, becoming PREsold upon you as an expert who shares. A Web site that provides as much business information as your prospect needs, along with friendly/useful content, allows the prospective client to know and trust you. High credibility.|
|Exposure/Traffic||Near-zero — it may generate a few calls per week (per month)?||Substantial — attract hundreds, even thousands, of targeted visitors per month, on an ongoing, ever-building basis. And, if you do it right (and you can, with help), they will return to your site. Your email newsletter also gives you the opportunity to reach your customers on a repeat basis.|
|Measurable||No — do you have any idea how many exposures you get, or how many people call or visit due to your ad? How can you measure ROI (Return on Investment)?||Yes — you will know exactly how many visitors arrive, every day, every hour… and you will know everything about them. You know the Lifetime Value of a new customer (i.e., the amount of profit that a new customer will bring to your business over his/her lifetime of dealing with you). It makes it so easy to compare that against the cost of your own Web site.|
|Build Customer Loyalty||N/A — not applicable||Your own email newsletter –can develop an increasing sense of loyalty with existing customers, as well as stimulate repeat business. You can reach them for free, whenever you want to.|
|Competitive Advantage||Low — everyone takes a Yellow Pages ad. That’s why you did. Who gets the attention? The companies with the expensive BIG ads. EVERYWHERE.||High — your Web site, properly done, can both build new local business and pull your competition’s customers to you.|
|New Revenue Streams||No — Yellow Pages just advertises that you have a business.||Yes — a website has content, which builds targeted visitors and establishes you as an authority in your field. This establishes the potential for multiple streams of income that can even surpass total income from your current local business.|
|Open New Markets||No — Yellow Pages is a local medium.||Yes — the Net is a global medium. More and more, it will replace large paper-bound directories as the way to find local businesses with local clientele. But obviously, it also opens up global potential.|
|Expandable Search – Geography||No — Yellow Pages is a local directory. And it’s totally non-interactive. Users either find you… or not. If you did not buy a listing for a particular locale, they won’t find you.||Yes — suppose the local bowls club is looking for a bag-piper in its local town. None? Look in the adjacent town(s). Still none? Look in the nearest mid-size city. Ah… There you are. Better still, we can show you how to get found for that first town… even if your office is not located there.|
|Expandable Search – Keywords||No — you buy a listing for a single category. If a user searches in a different-but-related category, they won’t find you. For example, you sell and service sprinkler systems in your town? Your prospect is looking up “landscapers” — they call the landscaper who recommends a competitor.||Yes — your prospect searches for “+landscapers +your-town” and finds you (because you created some content about landscaping), is PREsold by your site’s excellent information, and calls YOU.|
|Cost||EXPENSIVE – Thousands for a Small ad, $15-35 Thousand for a Full Page Ad!||INEXPENSIVE – From as little as $1000|
Now, I don’t know ANY business owner who would turn down a free Yellow Pages ad – especially a full page ad. The perceived value is immense (thanks mostly to YP’s exorbitant prices!).
With a Yellow Pages full-page ad, you can list your business name, contact details, products/services you sell and (as many do) a catchy slogan and logo.
However, once your ad is printed, you’re stuck with it for 12 months!
You can’t go back and change that ad in that time frame, so you better hope you put your best foot forward in terms of how you presented your business in the ad. If it doesn’t perform, you’ve done your investment, and there’s no such thing as a money back guarantee from Yellow Pages!
On the other hand, a website can have as many pages of content as you wish! And, you can change that content any time you wish.
No more are you stuck with 1 unchanging page. Instead, you can update your site with news, product specials, tips & hints to help clients get the best out of your offerings, Special Offers for special occasions (Xmas, Easter, Australia Day, etc.) and so forth.
AND, you can add text, graphics, audio, video & downloadable files to your website (try doing all that with a Yellow Pages ad!)…
Your website is an ever changing and growing tool through which you can maintain communication with not only your clients but also those people considering becoming a client.
So, instead of spending up to $15-35,000 on a [static] Yellow Pages ad, do you see how even a simple $1000 website could be infinitely more valuable to your business now?
Basic websites can be designed for about $1,000 depending on the circumstances. You do NOT need to spend $3,000 – $5000 or even $10,000 for a basic website, contrary to what the big web design firms would have you believe.
Of course, if you want a complicated site with a shopping cart, lots of product information and advanced functionality, then yes, you’re looking at bigger dollars, but realistically, most small businesses can get away with 5-10 page sites as a starting place.
Now, some other reasons you should have a website for your business, no matter how small or simple it is, include:
- Your website can be found in Google when the buying public is doing research before making a purchase.
MOST people do their research online these days, and then purchase offline, so if you’re not getting in front of them when they are doing their research, you miss out on a potential customer.
Of course, some folks already know what they want and they’re ready to buy, but they may wish to buy online (especially if it’s not during standard business hours). If you don’t have a website they can make a purchase from any time of the day or night, then you miss out on a chance at them buying from you.
- The actual number of people searching for information about products/services similar to yours online these days.
This is the big one, because most businesses have NO IDEA just how many searches are done in their market every day/week or month.
Just using a simple example of a searcher trying to find an accountant in Perth, here’s a SMALL sample of search terms used + number of times searched per month (on average):
For space reasons, I have trimmed this image, but it contained 62 different related keyword phrases which were searched for 3,265 per MONTH (on average, over the last 12 months).
In a similar report run for a business selling airconditioning products/services in Perth, there was over 600,000 searches for that market place, using variations from just 12 different (but similar) keyword phrases to ‘air conditioning perth’.
Now, imagine if your business’ website were getting even 1/10 of that number of searches each month from Google, how many of them could you potentially turn into a qualified sales lead, and then into a full sale?
MOST businesses are missing out on potentially THOUSANDS of searches online per month for the products/services they offer, simply because they just didn’t know that the online market is MASSIVE &/or how to tap into that market.
The next chapter discusses how 21st Century buyers make their decisions.