The economy has been crunching down on budgets of almost every type of business. Many of those businesses have been tightening their marketing and advertising budgets, because they’re not seeing the return on investment (ROI). This is vital; marketing must have value at the cost you are spending. This is why the Internet is the best place to invest your online marketing dollars.
Remember that Internet should be just one part of your business marketing strategy. The source of a lot of business can be based on who you know and who you meet. For this reason, always have business cards on you at all times. A company like VistaPrint is an easy and affordable way to order business cards – 80% OFF Premium Business Cards & FREE Return Address Labels
Internet is the best way to stretch your marketing dollars. This is an outline and basic guide to getting started with online marketing in your area. These steps are essential for most businesses to achieve the goals they demand.
1. Domain Name and Hosting
This is the initial step to gaining an independent online presence. Visit an online retailer for domain names and GoDaddy.com Hosting Plans
Search for a name that relates to your business industry, area, or product. For example, if you are a massage therapist in New York buy a domain that is a combination of massage and New York – “massagenyc.com”. This is better for search engine marketing (SEM), than to have the domain – “jessiesmassage.com”. Search engines pick up on the name quickly. If you are looking for online leads the service name and location is best.
Hosting is a must in order to have a functioning website. This can be accomplished at a low rate and typically the basic service will be sufficient for most company websites. If you are considering hosting more than one website, then go with the Deluxe service. This is not much more money a year and will allow you to host multiple websites. The price you should expect to pay is $80.00 to $120.00 per year.
It’s amazing that some people don’t know better and they are paying $80-$100 per month just for hosting. Visit the GoDaddy.com Hosting Plans and see what their specials are for hosting, it’s worth every penny.
This might be helpful to save a few dollars – Domain Sale! $7.49 .com at GoDaddy
2. Building a Website
The process of building a website can be intimidating. The first step is to crystallize what type of website you need. If you are fine with a template site, the designs have been updated and you can find some really cool websites. If you have a low budget and don’t want to spend the time and money developing a custom website check out a company like Dream Template – Download 1000’s of web templates. Unlimited access!
REALTORS – Most real estate agents today receive a free website from their association; however, Realtors what to stand out from the crowd and upgrade. There are a few options, a static website with many pages about each property area or a blog. Blogs have been very popular the last few years and will continue to be the main source of real estate websites. The reason is that customers want to know who they are working with when they buy or sell property. A blog, which is short for WEB LOG, allows Realtors to update their website daily with current news, experiences, and thoughts about the real estate market.
The most resources on a blog will be from Wordpress or Typepad. These allow you to create your own blog and host it on your own server. A hosting company like GoDaddy.com Hosting Plans
will give you a free Wordpress site and allow you to install it very easily. The tweaking and design can be a bit difficult if you’re not computer savvy, but if you take the time to research online you can find the answers you need. You’ll notice that most successful blogs are done on the Wordpress format. However, there are many blogs done on Blogger and they receive just as much attention and serve the user perfectly. This is a free service from Google and it’s simple to use.
E-commerce – Most companies that are selling a product require a website with the ability to take orders and ship products. This used to be a complicated process requiring complex programming. Now, a simple e-commerce website can be up and running quickly. Of course the more customized the needs the longer it takes and the price jumps up. The GoDaddy.com Hosting Plans
offer free applications to begin building an e-commerce website – very easy to install. This is only a start and good for a few products. If you require many products and customer service management then it’s best to consult a professional business Internet strategist.
Corporate – A business website should be as simple as possible. There are many corporate websites that get to complicated and loss the attention of visitors. The fewer pages the better if it’s a static website with logo, company info, and services. Many companies are shifting to blogs as a corporate website. This is a great way to keep clients up to date and potential clients following your company. It’s a perfect opportunity to develop original content unique to your companies perspective and philosophy in the industry.
This is a brief overview of the different types of websites and how to create them with the hosting plans.
3. Email Marketing
A powerful and easy way to reach many people is to create an email drip campaign to Build your business with Email Marketing and Online Surveys from Constant Contact. FREE 60-Day Trial.
The first step is to build a list of client emails. Go through business contacts, emails, and business cards to develop your list. Then you need to use a company like Constant Contact. This is a reliable email company and they are spammed controlled so readers are more likely to open your emails.
The concept behind a drip email campaign is to create several different emails before the first one goes out. Each email is scheduled for delivery before they are sent. Once the schedule is set, the first email goes out. This eliminates the time you need to spend setting up each email and deciding when to set it out. Also, it gives the readers a constant reminder of your services and company on a constant consistent basis.
4. Follow Up
The follow up is the most important aspect of any Internet program. A company like Search 123 offers some great services and you’ll get an edge in the search engines, but you must follow up – Want additional Search traffic at a fraction of the cost? Try Search123. In fact, many Internet companies are shifting towards a follow up by phone or in person. Customers demand great customer service and rather speak with a person instead of an automated service or fill in an email questionnaire. It’s best to always have a contact phone number and email for customers or clients to contact you directly. If you receive an email make sure to reply timely. The same is true for voicemail, call back quickly. If you have the sleekest technology on your website, but your follow is terrible you will loss the business. Keep this in mind and focus on a professional and timely follow up; and this coupled with a great website or blog will go a long way for repeat business and referrals.
I hope you found this informative and helpful. These are the first steps to getting started with your business Internet strategy. It’s easy to do on your own and can be accomplished at a reasonable price. We’ll be following this email up with tips and tricks to market your website using viral marketing and SEM (search engine marketing).
Give us your feedback in comments to let us know if you have used any of these steps and recommend companies.