So…, what do you think?
Can you really afford to be cheap about your website or your Internet Marketing budget?
If you are a small business owner thinking of investing in your website, then this is a question that I’m sure has crossed your mind. Many times, I tell potential clients the price tag on a search engine optimization package and they are shocked at the numbers. They immediately reply with something along the lines of, “I don’t have that kind of money to put into a website”.
The problem with thinking this way is that you are seeing your company website as an expense instead of the huge profit center it can actually be. If that’s all your website means to you, then you really need to rethink a few things.
So what do we know?
Look, we all know a website is a fantastic way of reaching a huge audience, where you can display images and detailed descriptions of your products and services. We also know that the Internet is the single most utilized tool for finding out information to date. However, as many have found out, having a “if you build it, they will come” attitide toward your site does not work on the internet unless it is carefully planned and executed.
While extremely popular years ago, few people still go to the Yellow Pages to find what they are looking for. Less and less routinely call 411 and pay .50 to find out a phone number and many don’t wait around for the 6 o’clock news to hear the latest headlines. These days, we go to the internet!At home, at work, on our phones, even on our TV’s we’re browsing the wonder that is the world wide web. With that in mind, and knowing that the use of the internet will only continue to grow, why would you discount your website as one of the best and most economical way to get the word out about your products or services?
As a business owner, you have probably invested a good deal of money on traditional means of push marketing. You have business cards and brochures, sent out mailers or placed a listing in the Yellow Pages. Maybe you are running some newspaper or magazine ads, perhaps a TV commercial, or even a billboard or two. And, like most business owners, you have a website.
Also like most business owners, it’s likely you’ve invested heavily in traditional marketing channels but have not spent much on your internet marketing initiatives. However, if your website can attract the eyes of visitors from all over the world, then why aren’t you putting your marketing dollars there? Remember, it’s not just a website anymore, it’s an online business that, when developed correctly, can grow your business to entirely new levels!
Sure, you can have a website built for $500. But, what are you really getting for that? I can tell you what you are not going to get… that’s a fully customized and targeted internet business that has been designed from the ground up to generate revenue.
Consider this. You could easily pay 6 to 12 thousand dollars or more for a decent sized Yellow Page ad, right. However, once your ad has been printed you can’t change it. You can’t run a special on your ad during different times of the year. You can’t add new product lines or change a phone number or your email address. In fact, you can’t update it at all. So, if the add isn’t really working for you, it’s just too bad until next year.
Additionally, the various “Yellow Colored Books” only go out to a local community, limiting your exposure and your potential to be found. If you want to be in a larger geographic area, you have to pay for more books. And, let’s not forget, every year you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars again just to be listed in a book that may never be opened.
Why Should I care?
So tell me, if the Internet gives you access to all the information and knowledge available about Search Engine Optimization and it wont cost you that much to obtain that knowledge, then why should you pay an Internet Marketing firm to do it for you?
Great question! The answer is simple.
This is not just your website; this is your window to the world!
Why take chances?
If you are a small business owner, you’re probably putting all you efforts into making your business a success. You probably work many longs hours making sure things run just right. You simply don’t have the time to learn the little details of marketing your website and prefer to hire the right company to take care of it for you. If this sounds familiar, then you simply CANNOT afford to be cheap about your Internet marketing campaign.
Now you may be asking yourself, where do I start? How do I find the right SEO/Internet Marketing firm?
Those are good questions. The best thing I can tell you is this; don’t fall for the gimmicks or the charlatans that say they will get you found on the first page of the search engines for $50 a month. Avoid the emails claiming they’ll submit your website to 2,000 search engines every month for $49.
LIES! LIES! LIES!
All you’ll wind up with is a mailbox full of junk mail and a thinner wallet. The people with these offers have no clue about Internet Marketing and are just after your money. Run from anyone who tells you they can guarantee you the number 1 spot in Google. Only Google decides who will be number one based on over 200 factors that continually change and evolve. No one can honestly promise you #1 rankings, only the methods used to try to get them.
What you need to do is find an Internet Marketing company with a reputation for delivering results.
If you visit an Internet Marketing firm’s site, do they have a client listing or a testimonials page where you can see for yourself what they have done for others? Are they willing to give you references? Go ahead and ask for some. The good firms will normally have no issue at all giving you several names. If the Internet marketing company you’re considering can’t show you real results for their current client’s or for themselves then it may be time to move on to the next guy.
There are many other factors to think about when choosing the right SEO firm including:
- Experience and background
- Ability to show top search results for current clients
- Customer service and support
- Staff Certified as Search Engine Marketers
- Initial costs and fees
Don’t get caught up with appearances either. You don’t need to hire a huge firm with dozens of employees to get the best internet marketing programs available. A smaller experienced firm is more hands-on, can get you the same results if not better, and will probably cost you less, too.
A Good SEO Firm Should
- Explain the wide variety of options available and how they can best be used to fit your needs.
- Get to know you, your business and your products as if they were their own.
- Be willing to talk with you and walk you through the entire SEO process.
- Become a partner in your success and not be some invisible entity that “takes over” your website.
- Be knowledgeable on the latest SEO and Internet Marketing techniques to develop and map out an online marketing strategy for you that will succeed.
- Be informative by letting you know your progress each step of the way as well as any potential issues that may turn up.
- Help you reach your Internet marketing goals by using all SEO avenues available to you.
In a nutshell…
Remember to stop thinking of your website as just a website or an online brochure and start using it to reach your full potential. Your website should be viewed as a serious profit center for your business and most certainly should be included at the top of your marketing budget.
So what are you waiting for? Start using your website as a means to reach targeted markets that will continually produce income for your business. If you do, you will quickly realize that you just can’t afford to be cheap about your Internet Marketing!
Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.