Online marketing strategy for local businesses. One of the most frequent questions we get is “How much do you charge for a website?” On the surface that sounds like a reasonable question, but unfortunately for a small local business owner the answer is usually very frustrating because our answer is going to be “It depends!”
The problem is twofold:
- Every business is unique, so every business solution needs to be unique. Even businesses in the same market have different needs, so every solution needs to be tailor-made for that individual business. And obviously we can’t give you a sensible price until we have worked out exactly what you need.
- The question itself is the wrong question for a local business owner to be asking. Getting a website built is just the first step in a successful online marketing strategy, albeit one of the most important.
If you are worried about price then you are looking at it from the wrong perspective — a well designed, well made, well optimised website will pay for itself five to ten fold, so it is in fact great value, and an investment in your business rather than a cost. If you just want a cheap website, there is a big chance that you already have a twelve year old nephew or niece that can build one for you for nothing, or maybe they will ‘charge’ you the latest Xbox game. But that website will most likely just sit there gathering virtual dust, costing you money to manage it, but returning you nothing.
The question you should be asking is “What do I need to successfully market my local business online and set up an online marketing strategy?” Unfortunately again the answer is going to be “It depends!” It depends on how much visibility you want online, how much time/energy you are prepared to devote to successfully market your business online, etc. But here is a quick guide to what the average local small business owner needs to successfully market their business online, and the good news (Finally!) is that it needn’t cost you a fortune to set up, or to manage if it is set up correctly:
- A well designed website, optimised for the major search engines so that they can index your website and send potential customers/clients to you
- Legal pages to cover your ass, usually not included when amateurs build websites, but without them you are looking at serious fines and possible gaol time
- An Opt-In form to collect names and emails of potential customers/clients
- A Contact Form so that potential customers/clients can get in touch with you with any enquiries
- Dedicated landing pages for each social media platform you plan on utilising (Twitter, facebook, Google+ are just about mandatory, and for most businesses YouTube and LinkedIn are recommended)
- Social media accounts at each of the social media platforms you intend to target, also optimised so that the search engines, and potential customers/clients can find your main website
- A blog or news section where you can tell your customers/clients about your latest news, sales or discounts
- Some way to automate or manage all/most of the above so that you don’t spend all of your day online!
Of course that is not an exhaustive list, you may want to include the facility to sell goods directly from your website, maybe a Members’ Only area or an online forum area where your customers can gather and hopefully say nice things about you and your products.
You will also have ongoing costs, such as website hosting (your website needs to stored on a computer somewhere so that it is available 24/7) and your domain name registration (the online equivalent of your Business Registration). Your website will also need to be managed and maintained to minimise the risk of hackers destroying your website. All of these factors also have to considered besides the basic cost of the website itself.
Hopefully you can see now why “How much does a website cost?” just about drives us nuts at times, especially after the fourteenth time that morning. And when we say “It depends!”, don’t just curse at us and hang up. Stop and think about the real question you should be asking. “What do I need to successfully market my local business online and set up an online marketing strategy?” To answer that one correctly, we will need a lot more information, but we can help you once we know all the answers to all the questions we need to ask.If you go to http://PortMacquarieOnlinemarketing.com/website-submission you can see the sort of information we need, or you can download a Cheat-Sheet here.
Then we can give you a sensible answer, and a sensible price for what could easily be the best investment you ever make in your business, because online marketing is the future of marketing in general, and you need a complete online marketing strategy if you want to succeed in business.