Recent data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests that some 60% of Australian businesses still do not have a web presence. You are probably surprised by this stat. However I speak to a lot of business owners and it is consistent with my experience. And I would go one step further and estimate that over 75% of businesses that do have a web presence don’t have a good one. That means that between 60% and 85% of Australian businesses are at risk of being left behind.
There are no if’s or but;s about it anymore – in today’s business world having a website that is effective is, quite simply, essential. People under 45 only know one thing – the internet – this is over 50% of the population and this will grow rapidly over the next 5 years.
Let me briefly talk about a few examples that illustrate this point – I have recently worked with a number of businesses across a number of sectors – including a plumber, carpet cleaner, tile cleaner and a mobile self storage company. All of them have now established a strong online presence and now source over 90% of their leads online – that’s right you read correctly – over 90%. Imagine getting 90% more leads coming in from a new source you had never had before! And they all receive far more leads than they can currently handle – month in / month out. They all followed the same proven steps:
- Design and build a successful website that is easy to use, and is focused on the customer
- Invest in getting your website to rank highly on the search engines
- Use Google adwords to advertise on Google using carefully tested and optimised keywords and ads (also consider advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms)
- Capture your prospects details when they get to your website by giving them free valuable content, and build a large database of customers using your website, then market to them using an automated email system – often referred to as an autoresponder
- Design a website that delivers a high conversion rate once people get to the website
- Leverage social media such as Facebook and Twitter to build your following and sales
Getting your business online and making money involves more than simply creating a website – you need to do all of the above. But here is the good news – doing all of the above is now very inexpensive. In fact if you invest $20 in Getting your business online magazine, you can follow their very detailed step by step instructions and do almost all of the above yourself for less than $500 (plus your own time). Even if you don’t feel confident enough or don’t have the time to do it yourself, it really is worth investing 5 hours reading this magazine – you will then be able to find the right person to help you and you will know that you shouldn’t be paying an arm and a leg for their services.
Here are a few suggestions that I always make when talking to someone about getting online:
- Focus on Google – Google has 91% of the search engine market (Bing 4%, Yahoo 4%, other 1%)
- Which Content Management System (CMS) should I use to build my website? In my view it is hard to go past WordPress. It is also very inexpensive and is easy to customise, and once up and running very easy to administer and change
- Should a have a blog? Without a doubt the answer is yes. Blogging is important for a number of reasons. Regular blog posts boost your Google ranking, and customers are attracted to websites with interesting and useful information that is constantly updated
- Offer a free ebook or other incentive on the right hand side of your homepage for customers to enter their contact details – you can then send automated emails to them periodically giving them useful information, as well as great promotions and specials from time to time – having a large database of customers adds significant value to your business. Let me say here though that it is really important to make sure you are giving high quality information that people want, otherwise you will do more harm than good to your relationship with your customer
- Should I pay for an SEO company to get my website to the top of the Google rankings? Absolutely – but don’t pay too much and make sure you get a guarantee from them. There are a number of reputable Australian SEO companies that will now guarantee you a top 5 Google ranking for your chosen keywords – there is a catch though – you will need to sign-up for 12 months. However I think this is worth it because you are guaranteed to top 5 ranking within a year. Expect to pay between $500 – $800 per month for this. Another option is to get your SEO started by using an offshore company – expect to pay $100 – $300 per month – I suggest using an offshore company for about 6 months and then move to an Australian company to get the best results – remember you need a top 5 ranking as over 80% of all clicks are only on the top 5 search results. The most important thing to get right is choosing high conversion keywords for example “emergency plumbing Hornsby” as opposed to “plumbing”. Start by going to Google keywords tool and typing in keyword phrases and see how many people are searching on each keyword phrase and the level of competition for each keyword .
- Should I use Google adwords? Absolutely again. Adwords is a pay per click form of advertising and I find that if you target your audience properly and your ad copy is compelling it is highly effective. The key is to offer a discount, free deal or something that catches the customers eye. Adwords is very easy to use.
- Should I use Social media? Yes again – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube to name a few have enormous reach today. Let me give you a few stats to illustrate:
Top 5 Australian businesses by Facebook fan numbers:
- Bubble O’Bill Ice creams 1.1 million
- UGG Australia 0.8 million
- BONDS 0.6 million
- Coca-Cola 0.5 million
- Pringles 0.5 million
Top 5 Australian businesses by Twitter follower numbers:
- Kevin Rudd 1.0 million
- Shane Warne 0.5 million
- Kyle & Jackie O 0.3 million
- Jasmine Curtis-Smith 0.3 million
- Alister Cameron 0.3 million
Enough said! Social media works! No wonder Kevin Rudd is preferred Prime Minister over Julia Gillard.
- Should I use video? Yes – the use of video on the internet is set to explode over the next 3 years as internet speeds increase with faster wireless and the NBN, and also from the growing penetration of smartphones and mobile wireless internet access. Recording a video of a customer testimonial or a product promotion costs almost nothing (the cost of a high resolution video such as Cisco’s flip video costs less than $200). By posting the video on your website via Youtube it can then be seen by millions 24/7 – it also has much more cut through than written text or still images. Look no further than the video’s on our testimonial page for some examples www.cfoadvisory.com.au-testimonials these videos are watched by over 500 people a week and they took 5 minutes each to make.
- Google maps – this is increasingly important to Google and internet users – adding Google maps increases your ranking and triples the space your search result takes up on the page – its very effective in driving traffic to your site
If you would like any further information about any of the above or would like some help getting online please do not hesitate to call us on 1800 919 321 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the CFO Advisory team!