Here is an article that supports the warnings I’ve been trying to get out to you all – the only businesses that will “win” on Facebook are the ones prepared to spend a lot of money (http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/10/stores_find_friends_on_faceboo.html ). By telling your website visitors to “follow you on Facebook” you are giving them away to your larger, better funded competitors. Even if these big box stores are not your direct competitors they ARE competing for the disposable income you want spent on YOUR products! I’m not saying don’t be on Facebook or have a link to your “page” on Facebook, at this point you almost have to, but change the rules! You can use Facebook instead of continuing to let Facebook use you. It’s not too late people – tell your friends to quit following you on Facebook and call you or text you instead! Better yet, learn how to blog and open a dialogue on your own website with your customers. Use Facebook to bring people to your website. With today’s technology if you can make a post on Facebook you can blog on your own website I promise.
I’m not saying don’t have a Facebook page, at this point you almost “have to”. What I’m saying is be smart about it – use it to get people to your own website and keep them there. Turn your own website into a social hub. Create an environment on your own website where customers can “meet” each other and share products – give them the tools to post links on Facebook back to your website – do not do what Best Buy is doing and put all of your products on Facebook … there is no free lunch! Facebook will make you pay for the traffic you get for your products one way or another – either by charging you a percentage of your sales or by selling advertising to your competitors…
After nearly 10 years of “helping small businesses compete on the world wide web” we have come to realize that our roll is much more than being a website builder or web design company. What we have discovered is that we are actually small business advisors.
It is not uncommon for a client to contact us for a website and, through our initial questioning process, discover they are not really ready to launch a website. This is because the market we service – the “Truly Small Business” or “TSB” – consists mostly of individuals or a small team of people that have a great idea for a product or service but limited life experience in starting or expanding a company and launching their product. Unlike the well know “Small to Medium Business” or “SMB”, a TSB is usually a self-funded, self-managed company that is not looking for venture capital and/or large start up loans. I find it ironic that I read about “small businesses” and they are companies with 50 employees generating a few million dollars a year in revenues. Whereas, a truly small business generally has less than 10 employees (if any) and often generates just enough revenue to pay their expenses – on a good day. Yet, this sector of business is what really makes up the majority of “small businesses” in our country. Thus, at Coburn Enterprises, we have decided to promote the phrase TSB – Truly Small Business – to help this market sector gain recognition in the marketplace and gain a voice in our society.
With these ideas in mind, we are relaunching our company under Coburn Enterprises. This is the name we have been using for a few years now for our EIN number, merchant services account and other critical business activities. Although we will keep the branding of SiteBuilder Now for our “do-it-yourself” product group, we feel that Coburn Enterprises is more fitting for our current services.
Coburn Enterprises helps truly small businesses compete – not just on the world wide web. As small business advisors, we help companies, and individuals hoping to start or grow a company, ask themselves critical questions and make educated business decisions. We help our clients match their short and long term goals to available products and solutions – from what type of website to start with or upgrade to, to merchant service providers. We help them understand how these decisions will effect them today and in five years. We also help our clients filter through the bombardment of opportunities that come their way as soon as they register their dba or domain name.
Depending on the type of business and where they are at in their development process, we can help them with marketing channels, finding vendors, public relations and content development. We help companies determine revenue channels, pricing structures and new marketing strategies. For our clients that are at that crossroads between “staying small” and “taking it to the next level” we help them look at the advantages and disadvantages of their choices and opportunities.
When necessary, we also help our clients find outside consultants and resources. We help them write policies, hire employees and find the best accounting solutions for their needs.
And, of course, we are experts in website marketing, search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
In the coming weeks you will see some exciting announcements including an introduction to our new product set and the official launch of our new websites. CoburnEnterprises.com and BetterEverything.net (http://www.bettereverything.net) a blogging system that will be part of our web marketing solutions and SMS – Social Media Synergy concepts.
Questions? Ideas? Fears? Don’t hesitate to contact us.
A hundred years ago, when I first decided to make my “profession” sales, I took a Dale Carnegie class. One of the things I carry with me to this day is that statement. The point the instructor was making was – don’t go into the sales presentation so excited to tell the customer all the reasons YOU think your product is great. Instead, give them just enough information to make them beg you to make the sale.
Years later, I applied this same principle in resume writing and job search coaching. I helped my clients sort out their skills and capabilities and decide which ones would make it so the person reading the resume couldn’t stand it – they just HAD to meet you! I would remind them that the resume was not supposed to get you the job – it was supposed to get you the interview. The ones that “got” this did extremely well.
I have found this theory applies to websites too. The goal with (most) websites is not to close the sale. The goal is to encourage the visitor to want to do business with you. Of course, if your intent is to sell products on line you might think this isn’t really the case… but it still is – they may come to your site looking for one thing but why not make them interested in learning about the rest of what you have to offer?
Don’t try to be all things to all people on your home page. Instead, provide “grabbers” and insights that will interest the variety of customers you may have and make it easy for them to drill down into the meat of what they are looking for – on ecommerce sites this is pretty easy – you can use product categories as a navigation system – but that idea can cross over to any website. In fact, this is one of the reasons blogs are so popular – it’s easy for the blogger to create navigation tools for their visitors. For example, the title of this post is Don’t spill all of your jellie beans in the lobby – but I gave it tags like “Getting people to your website is only the first step”, “How do customers find my product or service”, “Design Vs. Function” etc etc. This is becaues different people look for answers in different ways.
What do we need to tell our customers right way?
How do we support our the claims we make about the products or services we deliver?
Create a call to action….
This is an old saying but still a true statement. When considering where to go with your website development plan it’s a critical consideration. It’s easy to get sucked into the “glamour” of a beautiful website – but will it keep your potential customer’s interest? One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to spend money “foolishly” on their first website. I’ve been in this business for more than 10 years now – I’ve seen a lot of really ugly websites – but in all honesty some of the ugliest websites are getting the BEST results! Why? because they carry the CONTENT that the site visitor is seeking and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Content aside though, you want your first time visitors to feel good about taking time to look around. I encourage my clients to consider these 3 points:
1. Content will bring them in.
2. Design will get them to stop for a minute
3. Usability will encourage them to hang around and learn why they should choose YOUR company to meet their needs.
Even I forget the importance of easy navigation some times. If, like me, a person spends much time browsing the web getting around websites becomes second nature but if your target market might (and most do) include people that view the web as a tool and not a passtime, beware – if you make it hard to get around the most beautiful graphics in the world will not keep them there.
To make a good first impression – combine the best of the best:
Make sure your site provides enough information to make them glad they clicked the link to get there.
Make sure your design – color and graphics theme – is appealing to your target market – if you have a broad range of demographics it’s always better to go for “understated elegance” than totally now graphics – it’s just like a job interview – better to have your outfit unnoticed than noticed for all the wrong reasons!
Make it easy to do more than walk in the front door. Don’t try to break out of the box – people are used to some basic navigation tools – if you don’t provide them they might find someone that will. Think about it – no matter how GREAT a restaurant might be – if it’s hard to get there you won’t go nearly as often as you would if it were just around the corner and had plenty of free parking.
Who will be coming to your site – people who you tell to go there (you will drive traffic to your website via other marketing channels such as a sales force or they are already clients and you want to enhance the services you offer them) or people that have a need for your product or service but don’t know you offer it?