I recently became a member at a huge health club complex.
I has 13 indoor tennis courts, an indoor track, 6 squash and racquetball courts, a ping-pong table, an indoor and outdoor pool, and outdoor Tikki bar with many real palm trees (it’s been brought in) and real sand, outdoor tennis courts, and so on. It’s big. But honestly, I still can’t memorize the name of that place.
Well, if you’re reading this, at least you’re somewhere. You at least know what a ‘website’ is. And as you’re looking for ways to market your small business ‘brand,’ you landed up here somehow. And the same goes to your own brand. Someone out there will try and look for your brand via the Internet, in hopes to learn more by landing on your website. For my fitness club, I wasn’t able to find a website. It’s name recently changed too, so I couldn’t find it anywhere – not even a yellow pages directory.
I know budget is always an issue with small businesses. But building a website can be cheap. My blog? I pay $3.99 a month. That’s less than a pack of cigarettes. That’s less than 2 gallons of gas. That’s buying two bottles of Coke from a vending machine. Now, you’re probably worried about actually creating the website. Well – if you don’t have the budget to pay for service, then at least learn – just like you’re reading here – there are millions of places where you can learn basic HTML for free. Or for my case, where I use 1and1.com as my hosting service (@$3.99 per month), they have simple WYSIWYG software – where you can create a website without knowing any HTML. Moreover, my blog – WordPress – is also offered by my hosting service, so you can create a blog if you wanted to really easily.
So once you have your host name – where you can register your company: yourcompanyname.com, you will then also get free e-mail with that domain. Just imagine – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have that engraved on your new business card, and you’ll not only look professional, but you’ll actually have people contact you.
So you now have your .com address, your .com e-mail, your brand identity (business card). What else? Make your website visible to people who search you.
While many search engines like Google or Bing have different algorithms, there are simple rules for better search (in marketing, we call this Search Engine Optimization).
- 1. Blogs can help put your address up there on the search list, because every article you write up updates. So, the more you write, the better it is for SEO
2. Have meta tags – when you’re creating your website, make sure to include relevant keywords in your TITLE and DESCRIPTION
3. Submit your website to search engines – your hosting service will provide you with tools to submit your website pages to search engines (all for free!)
4. List your business on Google Map – with just a Google Gmail account, you can list your business on Google Map – so when people search, they know exactly where you are.
Even with this simple plan, you can actually become a visible company for as low as $3.99 per month. Yes, I understand – running a small business is hard and you don’t have time for it. But just as you’re dedicated to commit to purchasing, selling, transactioning, organizing, reshelving, cleaning, accounting, delivering, etc., learning and marketing should be just as important – or perhaps, more important for the future of your company. Your customers will always be the same if you’re always inside your store. Only when you go out – out into the market – then you will have more foots walking in your store door.
So start with a name, a simple logo, or if you have it, make it into a website, then make it visible and contactable by marketing it over the world wide web. Moreover, most of this is free!