Right now the Queensland Government is just opened up Round 4 of its Small Business Digital Grant...
Building a Better Online Business
Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.
In my experience the biggest trap business owners fall into their website content is confusing "knowing their business" with "marketing their business".
There is no doubt that in this SME market the owners of the business know it better than anyone else. However, yours truly being no exception, knowing is not the same as marketing. Translating what the business stars and how it doesn't into powerful marketing content is a skill that most of us just don't have. One problem we face is owners is that we can sometimes be too close to see what the business is really about. "We can't see the wood for the trees". We quite often look from the "inside out" rather than "outside in".
If you have a marketing background, have marketing staff to assist or simply one of those fortunate few who possess natural marketing abilities, then of course you are the exception to the rule of my general observation. My experience of 25 years in working with SME business owners as a management consultant, executive coach and now, Web architect, has however shown me that business owners fail to grasp what it is to market their business through their website.
It has to be all about "THEM" - your VISITORS. You have to get inside their head and understand what they are looking for, why they are possibly visiting your website and how they think. You have to cater to all the different reasons and at the same time you have to draw them to some form of action. Whether you have a brick and mortar business with a shopfront or an e-commerce shop online, the art of selling is no different. The tools you may use will of course vary however at the end of the day you should always bear in mind that you are never selling a product. You are there to provide a solutions to your customers. Through your website you have the ability to convince your customers that the problem they may have will be resolved through your products or services. It is not about the benefits of your products or services is all about how those benefits resolve their problems and thus the way in which you convey this information through good copy content - the secret to your success.
Creating this content is a challenge we all face. How to say it in an effective manner within the constraints of how your customers seek and read as well is process information that you deliver through your website requires considerable skill. The use of good marketing and copyright resources will make all the difference in the effectiveness of your website being able to convert visitors to actual sales.
At Top Left Designs, we invariably find ourselves working with clients trying to articulate their marketing strategies and linking the website to these writing good content and producing an effective website involves a range of distance which is why we work with alliance partners were specialists copyright is, branding consultants, graphic designers, SCO consultants and social media consultants. This is the difference between a $1500 and $4000 website. As we all know, "you only get what you pay for" and for some, this is fine. We understand the budgetary constraints faced by small business owners. We do however try to manage client expectations certain Alan gets upset at that their $1500 website does not produce the same result as their competitor who spent $10,000 on marketing consultants and copywriters, on top of the web designers and developers.
When it comes to putting together the content for your website, we would suggest that you give careful consideration to how your content is written - is it all about you or is it about your market. Do you offer solutions to their problems and when you do are you driving their attention to most important thing you want them to do - to place an order on line or to contact you. You must understand what it is you want them to do. Only you as the business owner know this and whilst your web developers can help you, they can't make this decision for you.
Your website is representing your brand - you must own it and be fully committed to to what that brand is and how it is delivered. Every thing in your website must reflect that brand so do not be flippant about what you say in your website and do not leave it entirely up to others. You should be actively involved and be sure that those creating your content have the skills appropriate to the task at hand.