Small Business Internet Marketing

As you’ve probably guessed, I have lots of conversations on the topic of small business internet marketing. The last two were with the owners of a mortgage brokerage and an insurance agency… something. What are the people who run the tons of insurance agencies for American Family, State Farm? Anyway, I talked to these people yesterday.

They’ve had websites for years, no sales off of them. That was the complaint. So, I asked them, why they have them, why they still pay for domain registration and hosting.

To have a web presence. I get this answer a lot. By the way, the insurance guy’s also running ads in some local phone books. Has been doing it for years. Hasn’t gotten one phone call from them. He’s doing it to keep his name in front of people.

My theory, keeping your name in front of people, having a web presence, yet having not one client as a result, sucks.

Anyway, back to small business internet marketing. You can use your website as a lead generation tool or as a part of your sales process (as in, you generate leads somewhere else and send them to your website for the next step).

In the second case, it doesn’t matter what Google thinks of your site. In the first case, it matters a lot. In both cases, it matters how the site is set up. Most small business owners find themselves a web designer and let the web designer tell them what should be done. And they end up with beautiful brochures online not with useful marketing tools.

When you build a website, think about what you want your prospective clients to do when they land on your site. What page or post you want them to land, what you want them to do next. Then build a website accordingly. Notice, I did not say build your website.

Because too many small business owners think they get one website and they’ve achieved small business internet marketing.

It is possible, and allowed, to have more than one website. And it can be quite useful.

Back to the insurance guy. His home page is made of images, mostly. Google doesn’t read images. Images, in other words, don’t help you get up in the search results. Text does. Even text like: “X Dental is committed to improve your oral health. We take pride in providing you the best dental care. You can be sure that we will do anything we can to make sure your teeth are healthy.” is better than images. Because Google can read it, can read ‘dental,’ ‘oral health,’ ‘dental care’ and figure out what your site is about.

By the way, most business sites do have text like that on the home page. Do you, too? Change it. Change it to something that actually gets you clients. Change it to testimonials, change it to a sales letter, change it to information (as in, the latest developments in your industry and how you’ve incorporated them). Change to anything, but change it.

The first step in small business internet marketing should be this: understand that the internet is a medium. Just like newspapers, TV and radio. Your sites are the equivalent of permanent ads for your business, first. They can also be various tools/steps in your sales process.

But they’re always ads. Treat them as such and your small business internet marketing efforts will soar.