Bookkeeper Eamon Ward gives helpful suggestions on how small to medium businesses can gain valuable customers in a month
We are now just over halfway through this series of ten articles. All of the ideas may not apply to your business but as I said at the beginning you should constantly be watching out for just one idea, one nugget you can take away with you and put into practice.
This week I want to talk about websites and the internet .
No matter how small your business is nowadays you need a web presence.
With the passage of time websites have come down greatly in cost. You only need spend a few hundred euro and you can have a fully functioning website up and running. There are many different ways that you can use your website to attract customers and gain business.
Before you start you need a plan and a vision for your website like you do for your business as a whole.
Get a professional to do the actual work, otherwise you will waste endless time and still not have a proper website.
Next you need to decide how you intend to use it. Will you sell goods or services directly from it? Will you use it to provide information on your products or services? Will you use it to get more customers into your premises if say you run a restaurant.
Your website will be of extra benefit if you sell technical or complicated items such as machinery as you will have endless space to show your products technical features and benefits to their best advantage.
Think about this: Your prospect can actually see your machine in operation from his/her own home.
The internet and websites are vast subjects in themselves but for the purposes of this short article I want to concentrate on how it will help you get more customers.
When people search for items relating to your website they need to be able to find you easily and quickly. Your site needs to be high up in the search engines such as google. The process of doing this is called search engine optimisation (SEO ).
How do you do it? The simple solution; get in a professional. You would not think twice about calling in an electrician or a plumber so spare yourself a lot of time and headaches and it is not expensive.
Your technical person should also set up a squeeze page which will enable you to capture the email addresses of people who visit your site. You should then use every opportunity to promote your new website. Put it on your business cards, stationery, brochures, vans, etc.
This is where traditional advertising will help. You should use compelling advertisements demonstrating the benefits of your products and you should prominently display your web address in the ads in order to lead your prospects to your site.
A properly structured sales and squeeze page will then induce them to leave their email address.
Keep your website updated regularly with a gentle flow of useful information as opposed to hard sell. This is the key. You are building trust all the time.
Your ambition should be to build a list of potential customers through obtaining their email addresses and a website is a great way to do this as it reaches a large potential market at very low cost.
Also use every traditional method you can possibly think of to gather email addresses, eg raffles, prizes, street surveys.
For better results your list should be as selected and targeted as possible towards your ideal type.
Continue to grow your list and use it to build your relationship with your customers and prospects, point them towards new products or information on your website or lower prices they can benefit from either at the site or on your premises. Ask them to recommend you to their friends and reward them when they do so.
Keep up the momentum and your opportunities and sales will grow.
For more information log on to www.eamonward.vpweb.ie or call Eamon on (090 ) 6454491.