May 06, 2015
Here are a few ideas for a new business to get more paying customers:
1. Classified Ads
The trick here is to use the free or cheapest option first. See if you get any converting traffic.
Don't be shmoozed into buying on spec. One site, in any niche, will get most of the traffic. The rest are also-rans. This applies to classified ads sites as well. Need we say that there's no point in forking out for print ads? These are over-priced for small businesses, for the return, unless you get a crafty copywriter to write one and it's a narrow-targetted niche and the ROI is guaranteed.
Phone number: A local one will do. It says you're nearby. People like that. Tradesmen need only a mobile; people expect that's all they'll have. 0800 numbers are a waste of money for Jeff the plumber from Bromley; it's about what people expect a great plumber will have in his advertising.
2. Google Adwords
This can be graveyard or a goldmine. The key thing is to narrow down the traffic you'll accept.
Turn off the Content Network and tick the 'exact phrase' box. Only accept traffic from the UK. Set the maximum CPC quite low. Target words that potential buyers use. Make your ad text match the keyword you're targetting and the content of the landing page. Make the landing page exactly what the visitor is looking for.
Make sure visitors are induced to contact you: make the landing page buttons and your phone number 4 times bigger than you think they should be.
SEO is basically keyworded backlinks to keyworded pages. These pages should be an excellent match to what a customer is looking for. Don't fob them off with cheap drivel. The only trick is making backlinking look natural i.e. not 500 links all with the same anchor text.
Target words that potential buyers use, not students or your dumb competitors (checking their rankings). Use long keywords. Don't make 700 dull pages targeting 1 keyword each if 7 interesting pages targeting multiple overlapping keywords could cover your entire niche. Make sure the pages are pleasing to people as well as search engine bots.
Then get more backlinks.
Try to get visitors to stay on the page for a while. Google is now checking human behaviour and it has a range of ways to do that.
The best SEO is invisibly 'faking' a truly popular site: Give your site a little hand, in the background, up the SERPs.
Good news! There's only one forum in the UK, in your niche, that will bring you paying traffic. All you have to do is find it. Type "KEYWORD forum UK" into Google and away you go. Avoid ones filled with spam or which don't have recent posts.
Sign up, put your website in your signature and make useful contributions on topics related to your business. Don't try to flim-flam members; they'll call you on it. You'll also learn a thing or two about your business.
5. Social Media
Everyone is talking about this, so you should get in too.
Wrong! Social media is online communities: people talking to each other. It's personable. Your business may not be suitable for promotion this way ...
You make it personable.
Put a face to it. Yours, a staff member, a cartoon. Be prepared to chinwag with customers. Put the human element in your business on there. We want to be liked by other people. Are you likeable? Are you doing interesting things that people will chat about?
Also: Social media sites can become unpopular as fast as they become popular. Don't base your whole marketing strategy around one method. Remember MySpace? We don't either!
6. Copy Your Competitors
Why reinvent the wheel? Check out the competition and make notes of what works. Stand on their shoulders. Leave creativity to starving artists.
7. Give People What They Want
Research what people are actually looking for and what a great vendor in that niche looks like. Then make your site conform to that expectation. Make your site 'best of breed': word of mouth is the best advertising, Note: this doesn't mean complicated. Again, check what the competition is doing before you go off the beaten track: simplicity is good engineering.