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So you have a website, now what?

I’ve been neglecting my website.

My poor site has been sitting idle for the past few months, sadly needing an update, a blog post, a new podcast or even just a new image for the front page. Something would have been better than nothing. I could use the excuse that I am too busy creating websites for my clients but without them; I wouldn’t need a site in the first place. However I’m busy is a copout – surely I could find ½ hour a week somewhere to make some content.

My neglected site was actually brought to my attention by a potential client. He contacted me and the first question he asked was “Are you still making websites?” He had paid a visit to my sad Portfolio page and noted that my last site on there was dated September 2012.

Fair question to ask then.

Site updating is a common problem that all website owners will encounter at one time or another. You get a site created (or build one yourself) and then get busy doing other things that are required for a business. “I’ll get to that one day” can be the attitude and you might mistakenly believe that the site will look after itself.

But here is the truth – you didn’t get a site just to have a web presence, you got a website to BOOST your business and to take it to the next level. Your site should be there to make you money and provide a service to your customers – not just to exist on its own.

After my new client had pointed out that my site needs some love and attention, I decided to put something into action. I needed a plan that would enable me to grow the site and improve its likelihood of converting visitors into customers of Rusty Mango Design.

This plan will be added to my Operations Manual for my business. If you aren’t quite sure of what an Operations Manual is, head on over to Amazon (or another book retailer) and get a copy of “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber – it will change the way you think about running a business.

I’m also going to share my plan for BOOSTING my site via this Blog and my Podcast. I will post (and podcast) the various steps that I am taking along the way to improve the conversion and retention rate of visitors to my site. Successes and failures will be also documented and I would love to hear your stories as well so feel free to add your comments to the end of this post (and subsequent ones).

Blog One: Finding the Time

I will be the first to admit that my time management skills are not up to scratch. I get easily distracted by other tasks and allow some to fall by the wayside – like my site for example. So I have decided to dedicate my first post to sorting out a timetable to which I will stick like glue for the next two months before reviewing again.

Step One: Tasks Required

My first task is to identify what tasks need to be done or integrated with my site and how often those tasks should be undertaken. Most of these are relevant to all business sites and if they aren’t, maybe you should look into whether they need to be added to yours.

Tasks Frequency Relation to Site
Facebook Posts Twice Weekly Integrated Content/Hook*
Twitter Occasional Integrated Content/Hook*
Portfolio End of Month On Site
Front Page Feature Completion of New Site On Site
Blog Post Monthly On Site
Podcast Monthly ITunes/Podomatic/Hook*
Idea Development Weekly Business Development

* A Hook is used to bring potential clients to your site as an avenue alternative to search engines.

As you have probably spotted by now, some of the tasks cannot be simply timetabled. By my thinking, Tweets (on Twitter) should only be used when you really have something worthwhile to share. That said, I do want to create a presence on Twitter so I will make an effort to Tweet something every time I check out web design / small business communities.

The Front Page Feature is another item that can’t be timetabled. I always put the latest site that I have developed onto the front page of my site. Not only does this show off my latest and greatest work  but such prominence will help get the new site listed on Google quickly as my site is regularly indexed by the Google Bots and they pick up the link from there.

Step Two: Timetable Plan

Now that I have worked out what needs to be done, when will I do it? This is the part of the document that will be included in my Operations Manual. I will also pin this on my office pinboard.

Weekly Schedule for Boosting Website Performance

Monday (½ Hour) Reading Industry News / Twitter / Offline Advertising
Tuesday (1 Hour) Blog Writing / Podcast Recording
Wednesday (½ Hour) Facebook Check / Posting
Thursday (½ Hour) Blog Development / Podcast Development (afternoon)
Friday (½ Hour) Reading Industry News (Twitter)
Saturday (1 Hour) New Idea Development
Sunday Catch Up

My Reasoning

Tuesday and Thursday are convenient days as one of my sons attends Tai Kwan Do in the afternoon and I usually have an hour sitting and waiting for him. Rather than sitting idle, I can use this time to write / draft the next week’s blog or podcast.

My New Idea Development time on Saturdays can be used to sketch and draft new techniques to entice customers to my business. This might be spent thinking of ways to use the website more effectively or creating a new product that will benefit existing or potential customers. The mighty Google actually encourages its employees to use 20% of their weekly time at the company developing new ideas. This is where great products such as Google Earth have originally stemmed. It can’t be a bad thing to try for a smaller business – who knows where it may lead.

Notice that I haven’t actually specified an actual time of the day to do the above tasks – this just can’t be done. Clients always need changes and new quotes are always arriving along with a million other tasks. I will keep this timetable in plain view and endeavour to fit each task in on the allotted day, whether it be at the beginning or end of the working day, it needs to be done.

Conclusion

As stated before, I will run with this timetable for the next two months before a review of its success or failure. It will no doubt need some form of adjustment and then it will be tested again.

Eventually the outcome can only result in one thing – my site will begin to work for me and that is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we are all aiming for.

I will post the developments right here on the Blog so please comment below and give me your thoughts.

Let’s finish this post with a quote from PT Barnum that ties in beautifully with what we are trying to do achieve by developing our sites.

Forever the showman, Barnum firmly believed that…

“Without promotion, something terrible happens…. nothing!”

Five tips to create “Automatic” fresh content

Fresh saladIf you have been following my blogs and podcasts, you would have heard me say (dozens of times) that Search Engines love fresh content. Even more importantly, so do your site visitors. Nothing entices a visitor to return to a website than the knowledge that each time they return, they will find something new to read or explore.

As a website owner, the downside of this expectation of new content is that it can be very time consuming to create that content. You do have a business to run and if you spent all your time creating “free” content to entice people to your site, then the business is obviously going to suffer. What can be done? In this podcast, we will discuss how you can create the illusion of new content to keep those clients coming back until you can get new content online. Please remember that some of the solutions shown are not suitable for a long term replacement for actual new content – so keep the hate-mail to a minimum please….

1. RSS / News Feeds

RSS feeds have been used for a number of years to allow the automatic syndication of content across many websites. You have probably seen the RSS Feed button at the bottom of news stories and blogs but have been unsure how to use it effectively.

Basically, a publisher (blog owner, news organisation, etc) will allow you to display their content for free – pretty good huh? It will be automatically attributed to its parent site however it will be displayed within the framework of your site. All you need to do is copy the provided code onto your site (or your web designer can do it for you). You can also grab a number of RSS feeds from a variety of sources.

This is a fantastic way to get quality information on a regular basis delivered automatically to your website. Make sure that the content feeds that you subscribe to are relevant to your core business. One note: a danger with automatically displaying content is that you don’t have any control over what is displayed. Make sure you keep an eye on the content to ensure the integrity that you try to convey with your business is maintained.

2. Facebook / Twitter Feed

I have spoken at length about this one in a previous podcast so I will just touch on it here. Set up your website so that any updates that you make via your company’s Facebook or Twitter account are automatically displayed on the site. This will save you time. If you post information, a status update or a link once, you shouldn’t have to repeat the process for each medium. If your site is based on WordPress, there are a multitude of plugins that will (if setup correctly by your designer) display the updates as an integrated part of the web page.

You can also grab social media feeds from other sources such as employees, suppliers and partners.

Automatic content doesn’t get any easier.

3. Random Post Displays

This is another one that can be set up very easily with the use of WordPress plugins. Use the multitude of older blog posts that you have in the archives of your website to your advantage.

Through the use of a randomiser that selects a blog post at random, display a different post each time a visitor lands on your front page. Make sure that you allow the date to be omitted so that visitors don’t know that they are reading a blog post from 2006 

Some may look upon this as a form of cheating however if you have quality posts in your blog, you might inadvertently uncover some gold for your clients without any effort at all.

4. Slideshows

For a pictorial type of “fresh” content, set up a slideshow on your site that randomly selects images from the gallery to display. You can do this either as a continuous slideshow or simply display a key image on your front page whenever a visitor arrives.

To ensure that visitors have less chance of seeing the same “random” image over and over again, make sure that your image gallery has a wide selection of piccies to choose from.

5. Ghost Writers/Blog Guests

My final tip, unless you are very lucky to have one in the family, involves employing a “ghost” writer or guest for your blog. This tip is the only one that we are talking about today that has content created specifically for your website but comes with one inherent danger – whoever you employ to write for your site, be aware that they are not intimately connected to your business like you are. They don’t have the same passion that you have and this may be evident in some of the pieces that they write. Be very careful about using this last tip as, if it is not monitored carefully, it could “blow up” in your face.


 

There you have it, five tips to get fresh content displayed on your site without actually creating the content yourself. Please remember that these are only stop-gap measures that you should only use when you cannot find the time to get new content out there on a regular basis. Do not, whatever you do, set up these systems as a permanent measure. Your site visitors will eventually notice.

That’s the lot for this episode of the Website Marketing Series from Rusty Mango Design. Thanks again for joining me on this marketing journey and I really hope you have found some gold nuggets of information that can help your business website gain some serious visitor numbers! I look forward to talking to you again next time. See you then!

Google is not your Marketing Plan!

Google cannot always be relied upon to keep your website exactly where you have worked so hard to position it. All website owners need to be aware that the boffins at Google are always changing and upgrading what is known as the “search algorithm” – they just can’t help themselves! And when these changes are updated to the web, the new algorithm can have a drastic effect on search rankings for some sites. Over the past couple of years, the “Panda” and “Penguin” updates have sent thousands of websites crashing down the rankings and some of these were well-built sites with good content and solid SEO (search engine optimisation) behind them.

iStock_000002295255SmallWhat does that information mean for you – the site owner?

Basically, it means do not rely purely on Google for the marketing and distribution of your website and brand. There are a variety of methods to garner support and clientele for your site without even using the “Gods of Google”.

To get your site started on the “google-less” path, here are some very simple methods that can be quickly and easily utilised for your website:-

1. Traffic From YouTube

This may not work for everyone however if you have a product that lends itself to video (reviews, demonstrations, etc), get out your i-phone, create a couple of videos and get yourself a YouTube channel today. With the right type of engaging video, this is a great way to drive traffic to your website.

Example: BlendTec – http://www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec

2. Traffic From an Email List

Easy step-by-step process for this one:-

• Create an e-book about a topic that you and your target audience are passionate about. For me, this would be about “Website Marketing”.

• Add a form to your website that allows people to receive / download your e-book in exchange for an email address. You must indicate what will be received via this email address i.e. monthly newsletters, sales offers, updates, etc.

• Create a newsletter (or similar) and keep your customers posted on new developments on your site, prompting them to return to the website to check them out.

You’ll need to be careful with this – unsolicited emails can land you in serious spam trouble however if you have a “record of consent” and a clearly marked unsubscribe button, you should have no issues. Google “Spam Laws” for more information.

3. Traffic from Facebook

As regular followers of my blogs and podcasts know, I think Facebook, when used effectively, can be a great way to get traffic across to your website. As regular followers would also know, I don’t exactly practice what I preach and I really need to make an effort to maintain a worthy Facebook for Business site.

Content for Facebook needs to be interesting, valid and worthwhile to your visitors. Find a balance of these and you will see immediate benefits.

4. Traffic From Forum Posts

If you maintain an active participant on a relevant forum, this can be one of the most successful methods of getting traffic to your site. Generally traffic from your forum posts will be already attuned to your ways of thinking and keen to do business with you. Given the right impression, you will be already seen as a “Key Person of Influence” giving you great credence among your target audience.

Key to this strategy – you must find a forum that your clients are accessing for information or help. For example, Whirlpool would be great for anyone in the telecommunications industry as many people seek help here for a range of technological issues. You can sign up as an expert and offer help to the hundreds of “lost souls” seeking your assistance. Be careful though, Whirlpool and other forums are not keen on the hard-sell so leave the marketing hat at the door and watch people follow you anyway!

5. Traffic from Blog Commenting

Very similar to leaving posts on a forum, you can also gain traffic from your comments on other industry/business blogs. Make sure that your comments add to the discussion and are not made purely to draw attention or to inflame a situation. Always use courteous and polite language – remember that if someone tries to incite a derogatory comment from you, you always have the options of responding or leaving.

You must always act the professional and leave personal feelings out of any blog discussions.

These are just a few of the ways that you, as a site owner, can drive potential customers to your website without any input from Google searches. There are many more and we may cover them in a future podcast but there is enough here to get you well and truly started.

Please don’t see this as a complete replacement to optimising your site for Google, that would be madness, however as a site owner, it is very important to cover all the bases when it comes to getting visitors to your website. If you have any suggestions or ideas to share in regards to marketing without Google, please email them to me at Rusty Mango Design.

Is your website upwardly “mobile”?

TechnologyMobile internet access is on the increase with more consumers opting to use the internet via smart phones and tablets. According to Mary Meeker, widely regarded as the “Queen of the Net”, 13 percent of all Internet traffic is currently accessed from a mobile device, which is up from 4 percent just two years ago. In technologically-minded India, mobile Internet traffic has actually surpassed desktop traffic with 60 percent of users going mobile while desktop usage sits at 40 percent.

With this change in internet usage becoming predominant across the globe, it is essential that site owners be aware of how this will affect their website visitors to ensure that everyone is catered for. However, if a site has been designed correctly, the addition of a mobile friendly component shouldn’t be painful at all.

For starters, if a site has a Content Management System, a regular desktop site can normally be converted automatically to a mobile friendly site with the use of a plug-in or add-on. Rusty Mango Design uses WordPress as its CMS of choice and creating a mobile site from a regular site is quite possible with just a few tweaks and changes. Once installed, the plugin will redirect site visitors to their desired format.

However, simply being able to show the same content on both desktop and mobile devices is not enough as the viewing needs of the two vary. It must be taken into consideration that content that a mobile user may want to access may be different to what desktop users want. A mobile user wants quick and brief information about a business, not long-winded descriptions or a lengthy About Us page. Basically, a mobile site will require a separate configuration for the front page of the site to ensure that the first content displayed is directly relevant to a mobile user.

Other changes need to be considered such as the screen size in regards to displaying images and text. Button sizes will need to be enlarged to allow for “fat” fingers to touch and select items. Advertising on mobile sites may need to be shrunk or removed as not to prevent the display of the real content.

By taking into consideration these small changes, a mobile site can be integrated with a CMS quite simply and, most importantly, the site owner will only need to update one site rather than two.

If you need your site to become “upwardly mobile”, contact Rusty Mango Design today for a free inspection of your current site. Our staff will determine what changes are necessary to convert your website to mobile-enabled and we will supply you with a detailed quote.

Podcast #5 – Common Terms for the Website Newbie

ConfusedAs a web design professional, I use technical terms everyday that are now second nature to me. Once I have worked with a client for a few months, I notice that some of those words become second-nature to them as well. However, in the initial period of contact, some website newbies (a newcomer inexperienced in a particular activity) are completely bamboozled by the language of the internet and I find myself explaining what those words actually mean.

So in this month’s podcast, I am going to divert from the marketing tips I usually give and instead, I will explain five essential terms that every website owner needs to know in order to effectively market their sites.

What is a CMS?

If you have a website that you can log into and update yourself, chances are that you have a CMS enabled website. CMS stands for Content Management System. This is a piece of software installed on a web server that allows quick and easy changes to the site without the need to understand complicated code.

My CMS of choice is WordPress and it is estimated the 22% of all new websites are created with a WordPress background. My clients can create new pages, add content, insert images and change the navigation menus without any more knowledge than you need to create a Word document. Some of the buttons are even the same.

From a marketing viewpoint, a CMS allows the site owner to keep the content fresh (not stale – see the next question) and, if you are using WordPress, you can optimise each page for search engines as you create. As you would know from my previous podcast, fresh content means return visitors and more interest from the search engines (such as Google –they love it!)

What’s the difference between a CMS site and a brochure site?

The key difference is that the content on a brochure site is static – it isn’t changed on a regular basis and normally has to be changed by a web designer. It is the virtual equivalent of a physical printed brochure.

A CMS site, as already stated, can be updated quite often (several times a day if you have the time) but a brochure site shows the same content for a number of days/weeks/months…..

Just like having an ad in the Yellow Pages really! These sites are effective if you simply need a web presence for search reasons such as people looking for your phone number etc but not good for constantly changing information.

Marketing view – Google likes fresh content! Go for a CMS!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is quite complex field if you really want to delve into it. In general terms, it refers the way you set up your website in order for search engines such as Google and Bing to catalogue and prioritize it for results when people come looking via their portals.

There is a whole market out there of SEO specialists whose primary job is to look at a client’s website and optimise it. It can be quite expensive depending on the level you want to delve to but fortunately there a number of things that you as the website owner can do yourself.

Marketing View on SEO – It is obviously very important to get your site ranked highly in Google so here are a few tips that you can try:

• If you are running WordPress as your CMS (all my CMS clients are), install the plug-in “All in One SEO”. This allows you to individually optimise each page on your site.

• Look at your competitor’s sites if they are higher ranked in Google. Look for keywords that you should be using on your site and scatter throughout your text (sensibly of course so that everything still is grammatically correct).

• Keep your content fresh (have I mentioned that before?)

What is Social Media?

You might be surprised but when I mention the term “social media” to some of my clients, they don’t know what I am talking about. However, if I use the words Facebook and Twitter, they automatically understand me. Social Media is defined in Wikipedia as “the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities”.

Put simply Social Media is a form of online interaction between people.

From a marketer’s viewpoint, Social Media is essential to any business that wants to grow. It allows interaction between the business and its clients including the passing of information, problem solving, product testing and all varieties of community-based communication. It has the ability to change a client from a customer to a fan (check out the Small Business Big Marketing podcast #117 for more information. Social Media can also be a means of driving visitors to your official website through the release of various information. Discussed in Podcast #3, Facebook can be a great ally in both building community and client conversion.

What are Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a service from Google that automatically generates detailed stats about a particular website’s traffic. It measures conversions / sales via that site so that owners can determine the success of various campaigns that are running.

Just like SEO, Google Analytics has a variety of levels depending on how far you wish to “dive” into it. At its most basic level, marketers can use it to measure page visits and geographical location of visitors. Individual pages can also be analysed to check the effectiveness of the page and how long a visitor spends looking at content. Whilst not directly telling you how to fix the problem, Google Analytics will tell you exactly where the problems lie.

Conclusion

There we are – five frequently asked questions from my clients. I hope this podcast has been informative and you have something to use next time you look at the “backend” of your website. Check your SEO today (see, much easier to say than Search Engine Optimisation) and try out Google Analytics to help sort out where your site is successful and where it might need a little work.

If you have any other questions for me, head on over to www.rustymangodesign.com.au and shoot me through a email. I’ll be glad to answer any queries and I might even share the answers on a future episode of The Marketing Series. Thanks for joining me on the podcast and I look forward to talking to you again soon with Podcast #6.

Also available on Apple I-Tunes

I-Tunes

 

Who is my Ideal Client?

On my walk this morning, I listened to a new podcast from America. A marketing guru of types, Amy Porterfield discussed creating meaningful content and the process that she works through in order to get new ideas. When I got home, I jotted down some notes (so I wouldn’t forget them straight away, as I tend to do sometimes). One of the first things I wrote was a list of the 10 most common questions that I am asked as a web designer. I also listed 10 questions that I need to ask myself as the business owner. In no time at all, I created 20 new topics to cover in both my Blog and the Website Marketing Series podcast! With no further adieu, here’s the first one….

Who is my ideal client?

Anyone would think that this would already be covered in any good business plan and to a degree, it is. However it’s very important to draw up a clear image of the target customer you want heading into your website. The site needs to be created and managed in such a way that this customer finds what they need with a minimal of hassle. Remember, if they can’t find what they want from you, they will go to your competitors.

Here’s a series of questions you need to ask yourself and the answers that I would supply as a website design business owner. Obviously, your answers may be vastly different to mine. Below each answer, I will also discuss how this affects my website content.

1. What type of client is has a need what you have to offer?

My Answer

  • Small to Medium size business owners.
  • Has products/services to market.
  • Needs a web portal as a medium for advertising and information dissemination.
  • Would like to make online sales.

Website Content

  • Site needs a professional business-like appearance.
  • Wording needs to be concise and to the point.
  • Added value to my site for the visitor in the production of marketing tips and information.
  • Services clearly outlined with an emphasis on the website design aspect.

2. What type of client sees the value in what you have to offer?

My Answer

  • A technically savvy business owner with prior experience in websites or a consistent user of online services.
  • A business owner who wants to “out-market” their competitors.
  • A newcomer to websites who has realised that the Yellow Pages are dead 😀

Website Content

  • My content needs to remain fresh and current.
  • I need to reflect the marketplace with new services outlined clearly on the site.
  • My point of contact / call to action needs to be prominent on the site.

3. Financially, who has the money to pay for your services and will they pay you on time?

My Answer

I might find a client who understands where I am coming from, provides great information to build a site and is an absolute dream to work with however, if they can’t pay the bill at the end of the work, there is no way that they are an “ideal client”.

Once a client has accepted my initial quote, and before we start work on the site, I insist up on a 50% down-payment for the work. This has two purposes – one, it spurs the business own on to get the content ready for the site launch and two, it ensures that after I supply an initial design, they don’t “jump ship” and take that design to a competitor.

Where to?

Once you have answered the questions above, sit down in front of your computer and take a good look at what you have online. Does it match up with your idea of what an “ideal client” would be looking for? If not, log in and starting updating it today. Unless you check your site statistics on a regular basis, you might not know how much business you are missing out on!

Bonus Tip

This one applies to everyone. Look at the front page of your site – is there a clear business statement visible for your “ideal client”.

This statement defines your business in terms of who you are, your priorities, what’s most important to the business and what is great about your business that you want to share, sell and make money with.

Make this a priority for your front page today!

Podcast #4 – “Different” Marketing Ideas

Get people to wear your URL.

Everyone thinks of the obvious when promoting a website’s address (also known as the URL). TV advertisements, newspaper ads, radio commercials and bumper stickers are all commonly used to direct traffic towards a web address. So how about something slightly different – get people to wear your site address.

Sponsor a local event in your community and provide shirts for the volunteers to wear on the day. Maybe you could even hand out paper visors to children at those events to protect them from the sun (with your address on them of course). These items can be created on a budget either by yourself (use iron-on transfer paper in your inkjet printer) or you can get them done via an online printer. Try joining the email list of one of these companies (like Vistaprint) and watch out for specials to save yourself even more money.

I have my web address out in the Innisfail community by sponsoring a touch football team called, you guessed it, The Rusty Mangoes. All ten players have my web address plastered across their backs all season and the lads all direct traffic to me whenever they are asked about my rather unique business name. The set of jerseys cost me about $300 in total from a great business called http://nsjsportswear.com.au .

Viral Video

Generally if you want your website or business to earn some instant cool points (and site visits), create a video that is so awesome that it will be tweeted and Facebook and emailed all over the world generating lots of hype. This is known as a viral video.

How do you create one? Well unfortunately, there is no stock standard recipe. These videos can be as simple as a bunch of kids jumping around in a room (The “jiggle” video was released by some teenagers that were bored during the recent bad weather in Queensland) to a highly professional advertisement costing thousands of dollars. No one knows which ones will become viral.

If you have an awesome product, sometimes that is enough on its own. Head to Youtube and check out the videos for the GoPro video camera unit. Nearly every one of these videos has gone viral purely based on the quality of the recording and the subject matter which is usually extreme sports and fantastic shots of nature.

Sit down and think about your business and whether it lends itself to a viral type video – you may be surprised at what you come up with! Be sure to brand anything you make with your website address.

Create a Day

After the success of Red Nose Day and the many benefits it provides for SIDS research, it seems that everybody has jumped on the bandwagon and created their day / month “for a cause”. You could do the same for your business however, in my opinion, you would probably get lost in the glut of days out there. So why not create a day for your business (and website) that ties in with a calendar date that already exists. Pizza shops already own cheap Tuesday, Harvey Norman has a super Saturday, so why can’t you?

Pick a day of the week or an obscure national day anywhere in the world – “Visit our website on 31st January – Backwards Day. Our prices are going backwards for one day only.”

You could encourage visitors to come into your site on “Speak like a Pirate Day”. Ask them to leave a video message about themselves (speaking like a pirate of course) and they will receive a discount on your services. Once the day is over, send out a press release and get more traffic coming to visit an archive page of the messages that were left.

There are a billion and one ideas out there – what yours?

Release a free eBook.

Here’s an idea that I am going to try out in the next couple of weeks. I have a couple of books that I have written sitting on my computer, one of them hasn’t seen the light of day for about eight years. Rather than waste these literary master pieces by leaving them on my computer, I am going to convert them to e-book files (PDF and EPub) and upload to the Rusty Mango website.

The first of the books is the tutorial that I give to each of my clients to teach them the basics of updating their own sites. The second is an actual novel that I wrote over ten years ago but never published.

How will this help my business website?

For starters, both e-books will have my business website address in the footer. Anyone who downloads or receives the file will instantly know where they have come from and may come to visit to find out more information. The books also act as an advertisement of my skills as both a web designer and a creator of ideas.

You don’t need to write a novel for your website that – simple fact sheets about your industry could be enough to drive traffic to your site. If you were into computer sales, you could offer handy “cheat sheets” for software programs that you sell. A restaurant could offer “everyday recipes” and an accountant could publish basic budgeting tutorials.

The basic idea is to offer the visitor a reward for coming to your site and an incentive to invite others to do the same.

Group Together for Benefits

We have all seen the ads on TV – great new developments, not yet off the ground, offering free dinners to those who come and listen to the developers spiel at some fancy hotel’s function room. I’ve never actually been to one as I am not personally interested in this sort of banter however what if we could use the same concept but actually offer potential clients some valuable information whilst stamping ourselves as market leaders worthy of their patronage.

For example, Rusty Mango Design could team up with an SEO expert from Mission Beach and a Business Computer guru from Innisfail to hold a “Get Online in 2013” mini conference at a local function room (probably my friends at Roscoe’s). Advertising would be attacked on all mediums for a few weeks before the conference and we’d all make a number of cold-calls to attract the right type of attendees. We each come prepared with an engaging presentation (themed to tie into one another) that is both informative and geared towards the targeted audience. The attendees at the conference receive nibblies and beverages (non-alcoholic of course) along with a sample bag containing of the conference notes, freebies (pen, notepad, etc), our business cards and vouchers for our services.

Admittedly, there is a fair bit of work involved however a mini-conference could show a good return in investment as the presenters can physically demonstrate why business should jump on-board with them instead of the competitors. Even though some attendees may not require services straight away, the conference will put the conference businesses in the forefront of their minds in future when they do.

Take time to think now – who could your business join forces with to create a tour de force conference?

Prologue

I hope you have noticed this podcast episode has not been about the content of the site – these are just simple but alternative ideas that you can use with/on your site to drive traffic through the front door. Once the traffic arrives, the content still has to be great to convert visits to sales. But without someone to view that content, it has no purpose. Set one of these tips in motion today and be sure let me know how it goes!

Podcast #3 – 5 Reasons to use Facebook

A client recently asked me if they needed to be on Facebook and was it worth it? Twelve months ago, I was not a convertee and would have definitely said no however a lot has happened in the past year and I said that “you would have to be nuts not to be on Facebook”.

Facebook is here to stay. A lot of people claim that it could go the way of the Dodo (or MySpace) however it has grown into such an evolved creature that, like the behemoth that is Google, it will not go quietly into the night. With the evolution of Facebook for Business, Facebook has cemented itself as a powerful marketing tool that cannot and should not be avoided.

Social BusinessAs it is such a great tool for promoting your business, here’s this month’s Five Hot Tips on promoting your business using Facebook.

1. Enhancing Your Online Presence

Facebook makes you look “cool” – seriously. There are two words that are on everyone’s lips in the online world – one is Google and the other is Facebook. By setting up a Facebook for Business page, you are hooking into the world’s biggest community and that can only be a good thing.

A great website and a smart Facebook page work hand in hand as effective marketing tools but only if they are set up correctly. Be sure that a Facebook LIKE button is clearly visible on your website and ensure that you have linked back to your website in every update that you make on the Facebook page. You need to send traffic both ways.

2. Networking and Making Contacts

Interact with your followers on Facebook. Visit their personal pages and see what “makes them tick”. Do they have their own businesses that might benefit from a relationship with yours? Encourage them to visit your page for “goodies” or just open up a conversation with them. If they are a prospective client or not, they may have contacts that could one day require your services.

3. Generating Word of Mouth Buzz

This is great marketing – cheap and easy. If you have an upcoming event or sale, why not start building up the hype a few weeks in advance and spread the work throughout Facebook. You need to be smart but release small tit-bits of information maybe a tantalising video via Facebook. Get your customers biting at the bit to get into your sale.

Brad Sugars from ActionCoach recently used this method to sell his latest book. He announced the book would be available in a small quantity and customers needed to preregister with his Facebook page. He discussed the content of the book and how it would benefit its readers and, in the end, it paid off. Brad sold on the hype and sold the number of books that he wanted.

4. Providing Customer Service and Support

This may sound like an odd-one however Facebook is a perfect forum to help your customers out. This does not necessarily mean giving away free support however Facebook allows your clients to have a conversation about the future of your company, current issues affecting the market and various others item that may benefit them. Provide links to other sites that can help as well.

You can easily use your Blog postings to populate your Facebook page however try to avoid this as Facebook is not the place for “long winded diatribes” – keep it short and simple.

By effectively using Facebook in this manner, you can build up your own company’s brand as a company of influence in your field of business.

5. Using Facebook for business – Research and Development

One company that uses Facebook to guide its future development is Black Milk Clothing. This is one business that pays close attention to what is said and what is posted about its products online. Facebook images are even embedded in the online shop showing the current product offerings modelled on girls who have already purchased them. New products are guided by what is suggested on the pages of Facebook and as a result, a ready-to-buy market is waiting to purchase as soon as new fashions are released.

Get your latest offerings onto your Facebook page and ask for good honest feedback. By being transparent with your potential customers, you will not only gain their trust but also generate interest in your product ready for launch day. Listen to suggestions as well, you might find some awesome ideas that could be winners for your company.

At the end of the day, the choice is simple. If you are not engaging your clients through social media marketing, you are surely lagging behind your competitors. Get into Facebook today; get those followers to LIKE you and your business should see the immediate benefits.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design