Big Ideas, Small Budgets

Big Ideas, Small Budgets

 April 24, 2015 |  Views:808 |  Posted by: John Marx |  Article Tags: 

Whether your business is a large corporate group with millions in marketing dollars or a brand new business just getting off of the ground there are several items you can do to achieve big results without a large outlay of capital. If this sounds appealing to you, and we hope it does, then this article will shed some insights of how, and why, these techniques can help your business succeed without having a huge budget. You don't need to spend hundreds, even hundreds of thousands, of dollars for every marketing campaign. The big marketing companies live for the big marketing pitches and who can blame them? Those campaigns make them tons of money in help you define your brand, generating radio, print, and video ads. Small gains grow to those big gains that will help your business grow.

Optimize your website

Optimize your websites SEO

Social media is big. Wait, holdup, we're talking about your website here! Why would we start out about social media? Because social media is big! Many will say that social media alone is all they need (and we've heard that as recently as last week). Social media should not be your only marketing mechanism online. If it is you're selling your business short and missing the true point of what the Internet is for your business. A quality website is all about you and your business. Social media is branded for the social media outlet and not your business. This doesn't make social media not important, as it is, and we cover that next. You have brochures, flyers, email newsletters that you send, customer service, eCommerce, knowledge bases, blog posts, and getting the word out about your products and services under your branding. This is what your website is for and about. Your website is built to be branded as you, not someone else. Your website is the first impression new customers will see. Your website should be the first thing in your existing customer's minds as well. Your website should become the “go to” place for information for your company.

A website today should have the following attributes to promote your business (at a minimum):

  • Have a great user interface and user experience. A site visitor should be able to find what they are looking for without having to click around to try and figure out what they need"
  • Be mobile! But also work great on the desktop and tablet viewers as well! This means you need to pass the Google mobility test. This is a free test and can be found here.
  • If you ask for anything personal from customers you should have it encrypted and secure. We utilize Digicert certificates for our SSL security.
  • Links to your social media sites and encourage people to like your page so that you can stay fresh in their mind.
  • A call to action. There's no point in having a web presence if you don't try and get your point across. This should also be "above the fold". Above the fold means that the user shouldn't have to scroll to see what you're promoting/selling.
  • Great content (covered in this post in greater detail than this bullet point)
  • Tested! We all hate tests but a website that shows up "Lorem Ipsum", "This page under construction" or the dreaded "404 - Page Not Found" error message is a bad experience for your visitors.
  • Contact information that is easy to find; even better on every page!
  • SiteMap - Not really for your visitors even though they can use it but more for the search engines so that they can find every page on your website.
  • Pictures - We all like them and they can add clarity to what your presenting to your visitors.
  • Speed - A fast site will keep your site visitors engaged.
  • Analytics - It's always good to know where your visitors are going, who they are, and what they're interested in. Don't guess! Be an informed and agile business owner who knows what your customers are looking for today.

On social media you have no control over the ads that show. Think about this. You pull up a social media page to learn about company XYZ. While there, being they don't have control over their brand, there's an advertisement for ABC Company. Although you are looking at XYZ that you looked for there's an advertisement for their direct competitor that you've never heard of. Being the consumer that you are you click and then purchase from ABC as you like what they are saying better. Lost sale! This is why you need to have a website and get people to learn about you. Have a website that sells you and not your competitor.

Leverage Social Networks

Now onto social media as we know this is the first thing people think of. Social media is huge, really huge! There are millions of users accessing social media on a daily basis and is a great way for increasing your brand awareness, communicating (publically) with new and existing customers, spreading knowledge and information about new products, new services and events that your business is doing. You will handle some customer service here as well (handle it well as its public!). Social media is great for uploading the latest images of an event, getting the word out about a new product, and share important information. This is what social media is all about. It's about being social.

With social media you don't have control though over the look and feel. The benefit is you are able to communicate with current and potential customers. It has a large, huge even, audience to target and grow your company. You won't be able to control your brand but you can direct them to your website where you have complete control.

Search Engines and Local

Search engines today still account for the majority of people finding your business online. They will type in keyword phrases like “Webdesign Valparaiso Indiana” to find Webdesigners in Northwest Indiana; specifically Valparaiso Indiana. This is where content comes into play for your website. You'll notice that we mentioned web design above. This is because that is what we do. We also mentioned not only Valparaiso Indiana but also Northwest Indiana. We could easily state Chicagoland web design as well as we do that as well. Repetition is key when it comes to getting your point across not only to the people reading your site but the search engines as well. You don't want to “stuff” your pages with just Valparaiso but the surrounding areas of Kouts, Merrillville, Gary, Crown Point, etc. By stating where you do business in a written paragraph you will appear more authoritative to the search engines.

Content is King

While on the talk about content we would be amiss if we didn't cover content in greater detail. Content allows you to be authoritative with the search engines and your website visitors. Good content that is educational, informative and provides answers to their current problems and needs will make them come back for more when they need information. No one goes to a website and comes back if a website doesn't help them achieve the objective they were trying to achieve.

Content is one of the hardest items for any organization. Every project that JM2 Webdesigners does we talk about content multiple times because of its importance to the overall success of the project. Content that is incomplete will make your website not an authority in what your business does. Not having content can slow and bring a project to a screeching halt. When we do projects and the content is already done we're super excited. When we start a new project and we get to work with content writers, especially the local ones (always support your local business!), we are thrilled as we know we will have the content on-time and that it will be of a high quality. Content writers will sit down with you to discuss your needs for every single page of your website, your training manuals, etc. and they will meet the deadlines so that projects are completed on-time and on-budget (bonus!). With the relationships that we've built for helping businesses write content it can truly makes every project less stressful for not only the business owner but everyone involved in the project (marketing companies, graphic designers, content writers, and of course the web developers [us]).

Chamber of Commerce and Community Involvement

Community involvement is truly the key to success. We've joined several chambers (Valparaiso, Michigan City, Hobart and the State of Indiana) where we have clients not because we have clients but because it allows us to keep our ear to the ground to know what is happening in the communities where our customers are. It allows us to know what our customers are doing at a faster pace too. In addition, it allows us to get more involved in the communities that we are in. It allows us to see what charities we can help, attend business expos, and communicate with other businesses that want to also be involved in the community. To learn more about everything that we are participating in click here.

Blog Posts (Like this one)

Blog posts are a great way of giving free advice and information to others. Writing also helps reinforce what you know, do research for the topic you are writing as well as communicate with current and future customers. The search engines like it as well. Part of having a website is keeping the information fresh and current. If you sell widgets and that's all you sell your products and services pages on your website will not change very often, if ever. An image update here and there will help but the changes are not drastic changes in improved content with your website. A blog post though has the potential to become authoritative for your field of expertise and show the search engines bigger changes that can get noticed. Additionally, with change to your website, specifically consistent change, the search engines will come back to your website and blog more often which will help you on the search engines.

Ask for referrals

We love referrals! We strive to get them on a daily basis. Most of our new customers all come from referrals. A happy customer is one that is something we truly love as they are willing to help you out in getting more business and helping your business grow.

Customer Service

Customer service can make or break any business. If people find your employees are rude, don't know what they're talking about, or don't care about them they'll go elsewhere to make their new purchases and to get support for their needs. No business wants to lose a customer as that's the life blood of your business. Customer service with high customer satisfaction will generate positive responses from customers and make them speak positively about you when asked. If you have customer service that is lacking you will find that people will gladly speak out about how disappointed they are with your company.

Talking at Seminars

Seminars

Why are we talking about seminars for getting the word out about your business? This is one technique that we use and has paid many dividends for JM2 Webdesigners. First, it establishes your expertise for the field you are talking about. Secondly, it allows you to get directly in-front of people that are interested in what you're talking about (you'll have a captive audience). Finally, you will be able to talk with those at the seminar about their pain points and learn how you can become a better person/company and increase your awareness of what your customers need.

JM2 Webdesigners gives 2-3 talks, seminars, and webinars per year. Some are paid and others are free. We've never taken a penny for any of these that we have done and do not think we ever will. Why wouldn't we want to be paid for doing these? The answer is very simple to us. We ask that any money that they would pay to us goes toward a scholarship if they have one or to a local charity that they already part of. If they don't already have a scholarship or local charity they support we ask them to create one and start. This is part of our giving back to the community that we did the talk in.

You would actually be amazed that we've made more business contacts by doing this. It also makes it easier to get in front of groups that want to hear what we have to say as the cost for entry is low to the organization we are talking with. We've gained increased awareness in the communities, we get a lot of feedback from those we've talked to and even signed some of them up as new customers.

Conclusion

You will find many avenues for getting your big ideas in front of those that you want for little expense. You can still do those big expenses as they do pay off or no one would do them. The key to JM2 Webdesigners is not to miss these small wins as they can add up to larger wins for your business. We believe that you can achieve big results without spending a lot. This is why we have our digital marketing packages priced not to make a million bucks but just a few for each customer. We would rather have hundreds, even thousands, of customers than only a few that we make money off of. This allows everyone to benefit from our expertise rather than a select few.

If you would like to learn more about how JM2 Webdesigners can help you please look over our website (there's a lot here!), contact us through our online form here, email us at sales@jm2marketing.com, or call us toll-free (we answer the phone!). We look forward to working with you and if we don't please refer us to those you know we can help!

<a href='mailto:john@jm2marketing.com'>John Marx</a>
John Marx
CEO / Owner
john@jm2marketing.com

John has been actively involved with technology since computers first came out in the late 1970's. He developed businesses and games as a teenager which still hold his interest. John started out with basic and assembly language, and progressed to Pascal, Delphi, C, C++, and COBOL in his college days. Currently he uses Visual Basic (VB), PHP and C# (his preferred) as part of ASP.Net. Since 1995 John has concentrated his work to Internet web pages and is a strong advocate for pushing web technologies to their maximum potential. John continually writes code in HTML (HTML5), CSS (CSS3, SASS, and LESS), jQuery, and uses SQL Server to store all of the information he writes. John is a strong advocate for agile development practices, and pushes the use of Internet standards in every application he writes and supports.

John is proud that the team at JM2 Webdesigners is committed to following the company standards of honesty, value, and customer satisfaction.