Realising the true potential of your web presence with Roy Griffiths

Notes from my presentation to Business Exchange Members at Kingston Maurward College Thursday 26th Feb 2009

This is the story of a journey undertaken by Creative Solutions.  Founded as a website company, it added more and more products linked to marketing that it became a marketing agency (one that even produced niche 3D modelling … because it could).  It had become a little too complex for a small business, the recession was looming and the time was right to consider what it does best and to refocus the business on that.

Web design was its foundation, but internet marketing has now become so much more than just search engine optimisation and website design.  They made a decision to niche its offering around Internet marketing.  Website marketing was the equivalent to having an online brochure.  Internet marketing is the equivalent of having a customer relationship manager.

Nowadays there is no reason for you to have a bespoke website to market yourself on the internet unless you have a product to sell and even then you can use sites like eBay.    If you do then your site really must have a content management system so that you can update information easily and offer interactive relationship with your visitors.  Here are a dozen top tips:

1.  WordPress is highly recommended as not only is it free, it is easy to use.  You can create your own web pages with text, photographs and graphics.  It is based on a Blogging platform so you can also post updates, answers to frequently asked questions or piggy back on the hottest topics in the press and media.  You can link to events, other blogs or relevant websites.  These links help the search engines find your sites.  The more interactive your internet presence the easier you are found.

2.  When you are developing your website make sure that each page has its own unique title page.  This makes each page its own separate website and easier for search engines to identify the correct page for your researcher.

3.  Search Google ad words for the best combination of words used in searches to find what it is you are offering.  Use those in the content of your website as your paragraph headings.  You need to drive a lot of traffic to your website to produce a conversion.

4.  Think about the content, getting people to your web presence is one thing keeping there is quite another.

•         Begin each page with a stunning statement that attracts the reader in the first place, you have six seconds to keep them on your page.
•         Tell the readers what they will get from using or buying your product and services.  Remember to sell the sizzle not the sausage to use an age old adage.
•         Offer a compelling reason to buy, use testimonials to qualify your statements and case studies that over come frequently mentioned objections.
•         Then ask the reader to take some action, call, download, watch, email, visit etc etc etc.  Think about using your call to action as a data base collection activity.  A data base of interested potential is worth a fortune (a presentation for another day!)

5.  One of the objections to Blogging is the time it takes to do it.  However, when you consider the time it would take you to drive from Weymouth to Poole and back for a meeting – the meeting itself it starts to put the three hours you would spend on writing a Blog into perspective.  In a blog you could be connecting with hundreds not just one.

6.  When you are Blogging trying relating your business to what is topical in the media.  If Rosemary Leonard mentions cancer caused by red wine, on the BBC breakfast news one morning the subject is going to be Googled.  If appropriate your Blog will get searched and found.  A new wordpress blog can be found on search engines some 16 minutes after the Blog has gone live.

7. Until recently people have considered social networking to involve poking people, throwing ‘punches’ and cringing at dodgy morning after photographs. Whilst in reality there are some real basic business benefits to internal social networking:

         Your personal profile that illustrates you and your business,
         A contact management system that allows you to form your personal networks that follow your different interests,
         The ability to lightly touch all of those you know quickly simply and regularly by updating your status
         The ability to share useful information.

The essence of face to face networking made easy.

8.  In addition to a personal profile on Facebook and you can have a business one too.  Take a look at Stephanie Pettitt and Equation Accountancy.  Two very different profiles – one for mates; one for business.  More importantly Facebook pages are designed purely for business.

    Insights – There are the statistics about the demographics of fans and visitors
    Photos -  Great if you have visual products, publicity shots, photos of clients using your products; name the albums carefully to attract interest
    Mini feed -  shows the latest activity on the page.  You can add information like web links, contact details, description of products and services, etc
    Wall – (think forum). People can post their thoughts, feedback, and comments whenever they want. Do not let this scare you – there are some control options available and you cannot always see all of the posts. Social networks are very good at self-policing. If anyone is unnecessarily malicious, the other fans/visitors will let you know.
    Discussion Board – create specific topics and invite feedback, comment, ideas, etc. The title of the discussion need to be compelling enough for people to click and take part.
    Reviews – get clients to post online testimonials and case studies free of charge!!)
    Video – if you are paying to have video for your own website, re-use it here to get more value from it. If you have suppliers with product videos, ask if you can use them here to support your page.
    Events – promote them on your Page and notify fans as well as your personal contacts. You can send invites to non-Facebook people if you have their e-mail address to enter.

9.  Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

10.  iGoogle is your personalized Google page. Add news, photos, weather, and stuff from across the web to your page that is relevant to you and only you.

11.  Google Reader helps you stay up to date; it constantly checks your favourite news sites and blogs for new content.  Use Google Reader’s built-in public page to easily share interesting items with your friends and family.

12.  This new media is a communication model for business interaction based on human interaction, intimacy and collaboration.  Each social network has a slightly different unique selling point.  Other Social media software applications include:

For Communication

•    Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, Vox
•    Internet forums: vBulletin, phpBB
•    Micro-blogging / Presence applications: Twitter,Plurk, Pownce, Jaiku
•    Social networking: Avatars United, Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock, Netlog, Hi5_(website)
•    Social network aggregation: FriendFeed, Youmeo
•    Events: Upcoming, Eventful, Meetup.com

For Collaboration

•    Wikis: Wikipedia, PBwiki, wetpaint
•    Social bookmarking: Delicious, StumbleUpon, Stumpedia, Google Reader
•    social news: Digg, Mixx, Reddit
•    Opinion sites: epinions, Yelp

For Multimedia

•    Photo sharing: Flickr, Zooomr, Photobucket, SmugMug
•    Video sharing: YouTube, Vimeo, Revver
•    Art sharing: deviantART, Behance
•    Livecasting: Ustream.tv, Justin.tv, Skype
•    Audio and Music Sharing: imeem, The Hype Machine, Last.fm, ccMixter

For Entertainment

•    Virtual worlds: Second Life, The Sims Online
•    Online gaming: World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Age of Conan
•    Game sharing: Miniclip

Ref:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

For an even more comprehensive list of community sites, and resources please click through here: http://www.sharakarasic.com/online-community-list.html