Archives For small business marketing

don't-let-your-web-designer-hold-you-hostage-blog

Every week, without exception, I run across someone who is being held hostage by their web designer. And this is what I mean by “being held hostage”.

Let’s say, for example, you become dissatisfied with your web designer. They are not returning your phone calls, not doing the work as quickly as you would like, or whatever the case may be. And you want someone else to take over the site.

Do you have access to all your usernames, passwords, and all your other online collateral so you can do this? Or do you have to go through your web designer?

Unfortunately, what usually happens is you have to go through your web designer, and they will not let you have your stuff. If that is the case, your only option is to start from scratch with a new web designer, which can cost more money and more time.

Be wary of any web designer who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that for you” or “You own everything”. If you do not have access to usernames and passwords for everything, you do not truly own everything.

Here is how you can lay a solid foundation for your online marketing strategy and avoid being held hostage.

1. Register your domain name through GoDaddy. Create your own GoDaddy account. Do not use the web designer’s account.Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

2. Set up a hosting account on GoDaddy. Same applies here. Create your own hosting account. Do not use the web designer’s hosting account. Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

3. Use WordPress to create your site. You have much more flexibility and there are WordPress web designers everywhere.

4. Use Constant Contact or AWeber for your newsletter campaign. Click Here to go to my Constant Contact affiliate link and set up a trial account.

5. Set up your Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and any other social media profiles.

6. One other bit of information you will need is FTP info. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and allows you to access your files online. You use FTP to upload or download files. If they refuse to give you this info, find someone else to do your website.

7. Your web designer should give you a sheet with the following information: usernames and passwords for everything (domain name, hosting, social media, WordPress, etc.) and FTP information.

Take responsibility for your business early in the process to avoid pain and heartache later. It doesn’t take that much time to be aware of what’s going on in your business.

There is no excuse for not doing the things I outlined above. You do not need to be a “techie”. You just have to be aware of what’s going on in your business and obtain all the information listed above.

And if you are unsure about what you should do, turn to a trusted advisor who can point you in the right direction before spending your hard-earned dollars. If you do steps 1 thru 7 above, you will never be held hostage again.

Business owners are using social media, their website, videos, and other online tools to grow their business. That is what everyone should be doing.

The big mistake I see businesses making now is thinking that is all they have to do. Online promotion and marketing is very, very important, but you can’t forget the offline tools you have at your disposal.

One of those tools is direct marketing. Remember paper? Remember envelopes and stamps? Remember that little stick looking thing that you hold in your hand to place words on a piece of paper? These things are still relevant. But you have to use the right technique to make it work. The most important part of launching a direct mail campaign is the sequence. This is something I learned from Dan Kennedy, arguably one of the greatest marketers of all time.

Most people have heard that it takes 7 or more “touches” before a sale can be made. Unfortunately they forget that concept when doing direct mail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got one direct mail piece from a local business and then never heard from them again. BIG MISTAKE!

The best strategy is to send a sequence of 7 direct mail pieces spaced a couple of weeks apart over a period of a few months.

The other part of the equation is to target a specific audience. Don’t shotgun your mail pieces to everyone. Select a very narrow market with the right message.

If you don’t craft the right message for each mailing, you will fail. Copywriting (writing words that sell) is extremely important. So if you don’t know how to write effective copy, hire someone.

Here is how my most recent direct mail campaign has gone. The first mailing in the sequence produced ZERO results. I didn’t get a single call or email.

The second mailing got a phone call, but no sale … yet.

The third mailing got a phone call and I started seeing my website visites increase.

On my fourth mailing, I have a client.

On the fifth mailing, I noticed several of the people on my mailing list downloaded my FREE ebook and subscribed to my newsletter. And I still have my sixth and seventh mailing to go out in the next few weeks.

So for a few hundred dollars, I have the following:

  • 1 client worth thousands of dollars.
  • Increased the number of visitors to my website.
  • Grown my email list because of people suscribing to my newsletter and downloading my ebook.
  • Increased exposure in my target market.

Increased my chances of acquiring future clients as a result of the relationship I have started to build through my direct mail marketing campaign and the subsequent online connection that was created through the direct mail campaign.

I would call that a fairly decent return on investment and I still have two more mailings to go in this campaign. So don’t downplay your offline marketing while spending time doing online marketing. You need both.