Recently I received a question about driving traffic to a website in order to increase sales. Specifically, the question was, what do the “big boys” use to generate sales and leads on their sites? The big boys (and girls) like to use big advertising budgets of anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more per month.
They spend this on traditional advertising, of course, like TV, magazines and newspaper ads. Online they spend their budgets on Google AdWords and other pay-per-click advertising, display advertising (graphical ads), search engine optimization, and professional graphic designers and “user experience” designers. They also spend good money on web analytics packages like Omniture, Webtrends, and the new Google Analytics Premium. In addition to their giant advertising budgets, they pay salaried employees and independent consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars per month to plan, implement, manage and…
monitor all these efforts.
High-end web analytics packages alone cost $10,000 a month or more, not to mention the cost of employees and consultants who know how to use them. So that stuff is out of reach for small and most medium-sized businesses. However, the benefits of a good web analytics package like the free version of Google Analytics are within reach. Google Analytics is something every business needs to have on its website – whether they are looking at the data or not – because, at some point down the road – they may wake up and realize the tremendous value of monitoring website traffic.
How Do You Create an Online Marketing Plan That Fits Your Budget?
The trick is coming up with an online marketing plan that fits your budget and the time and resources you have available for marketing. For a basic overview of what’s required, see Five Keys to Generating New Business with Online Marketing.
Some businesses, particularly small ones or “solopreneur” operations (businesses run by a single person), think that if they have a website, what they really need is just great search engine optimization that will bring huge numbers of visitors to their site via Google, Bing and other search engines. SEO is one important ingredient for online marketing success, but it is hardly a stand-alone solution. Why? Because no amount of traffic coming to your site is going to grow your business if visitors can’t see the value in what you do. That’s why your value proposition and business goals have to be at the core of everything you do online. Why should someone hire you or buy your products or services? If visitors can’t see this clearly after a few seconds on your website, your online marketing efforts will fail, no matter how big your marketing budget is.
Got a Compelling Value Proposition? Good. Now Make It Clear on Your Website
The importance of a clear and compelling value proposition seems obvious enough. (But you can find examples of weak and poorly executed value propositions everywhere!) The hard part is figuring out how to make your value proposition clear and compelling on all your online properties. When it comes to graphic design, web development and Google Analytics, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, as they say. Some businesses, large and small, try to do everything themselves. They figure they can set up Google AdWords themselves, do graphic design themselves, even manage search engine optimization efforts themselves.
But think of the cost. Why not pay someone who knows what they are doing to help you set things up right from the outset? A few hours of consulting time goes a very long way towards ensuring a successful online marketing campaign. It’s like the difference between trying to teach yourself to play the piano or having a professional instructor give you lessons once a week. Which method is going to reach the desired outcome sooner and with less frustration? The idea that you will save money by doing it yourself is misguided.
Contact McBuzz Communications for a free initial assessment of your website and other online marketing efforts. We offer a complete Online Marketing Assessment and Written Recommendation for $500. This will give you a complete overview of where you stand and where the most valuable improvements can be made.
Do-It-Yourself Online Marketing
For those who are interested in “do it yourself” online marketing, there are a number of great resources available. I still think the primary value of these resources is to give you an appreciation of what is important so that you know how to talk to a consultant when you are looking for help. It’s safe to say that 90% of small and medium-sized businesses are incapable of doing online marketing well on their own. They simply do not have the expertise or the staff. If you are one of the businesses trying to do things yourself, think about your business goals. How much money and time are you spending trying to figure things out without outside help?
A Collection of Top Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing Resources
- SEO Strategies and Inbound Marketing Best Practices for 2012
- Google Search Engine Optimization Resources
- HubSpot Online Marketing Software (and related resources)
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Land
Questions or comments? Please let me know below!