Often, I work with businesses trying to determine the return on investment for their online marketing. For e-commerce companies, it's not that hard. They can use their Web analytics to see how many people are coming to the site and how many actually convert by checking out. But what if you sell offline? Then it's not so easy. Just about any company can put a special phone number on their site that appears nowhere else. If anyone calls it, you know they came from your Web site, so you can tie that eventual sale back to your Web marketing. Image via Wikipedia Small B2C companies need to find a way to link their online activity to what they do offline, often that involves some form of couponing. If you allow your online activities to discount your prices, or add a free gift, or provide some other service, just require the customer print out the coupon and present it when they buy. For B2B companies, it's usually more complicated, although couponing can work for them too. For many B2B … [Read more...] about How can small businesses measure offline sales?
Small fishing boat manufacturers
There are two prevailing mentalities when it comes to the investments we make in business. First, there are the investments we make in our future: things we build on, knowing our initial investment is just the beginning. We see our children this way, to draw a personal example. Ask a boat owner if they know this feeling. How Does Your Business See Its Website? The purpose of web analytics is to look at our websites and our businesses as maleable, dynamic creatures, constantly in need of improvement and encouragement. Websites are like innocent little babies, sometimes ugly (and like babies, we aren’t always honest about this), sometimes cute, but most of the time, they are in need of a lot of attention so they don’t just sit there and poop their pants all the time. Website analytics plays a key role in our parenting. It’s how we observe the site, correct its behavior, socialize it, help it develop its interpersonal skills, etc. When you look at your site like a boat, … [Read more...] about Stop Treating Your Website Like A Broken Old Boat
There are opportunities that small businesses have that large businesses might not even considering touching, or that they may not have the ability to respond to quickly enough. The aerospace industry uses the term “launch window” to describe the right combination of time and location for a rocket to be launched so that it will successfully go into space, and to a specific destination. The term has been adopted by the business community and changed to “window of opportunity.” There are efforts that a small business might launch that can take advantage of windows of opportunity, and I wanted to explore a few of those within the context of internet marketing and search, specifically pointing out three areas to think about; topicality, regionality, and seasonality. Topicality The band Radiohead recently bucked the established music industry somewhat by offering a digital download of their latest album online and letting purchasers name their own price. A button … [Read more...] about Topicality, Regionality, Seasonality, And The Small Business
For many people outside of marketing, Google Analytics can quickly become overwhelming. This is particularly true for the owners of small manufacturing firms. Without the time and resources to properly understand and use the vast amount of data in Analytics, many small manufacturers simply look at top-line traffic as evidence their website is “working.” The reality, however, is more nuanced. It’s not so much that small manufacturers don’t understand how to analyze the data available, but that they often don’t know what to measure — especially if they’re not involved in selling parts or services online. With an e-commerce website, it’s fairly easy to see if the marketing program is working or not: you simply look at daily or weekly sales. For manufacturers, with their small, information-only websites, “pageviews” and other similar data points mean nothing when the end-all-be-all metric they care about is inquiries. To help … [Read more...] about Setting SEO KPIs for small manufacturing websites
The small manufacturers who are thriving in the face of global competition and other challenges have spent the last five to seven years improving productivity and process efficiencies. This focus has often meant that marketing activity was next to nonexistent — with much new business coming from word-of-mouth. Once a small manufacturer has their process down, however, they’re ready to begin a marketing program that includes SEO. The problem is, where to start? With so much information and so many moving parts, a small business owner can be easily overwhelmed. It’s much easier to simply focus on running the business. Such was the case with one of our clients, a small manufacturing firm of about 30 people. The owner and his team had done a SWOT analysis and were ready to embark on a marketing program that included SEO. The challenges, however, were pretty daunting: zero historical data, few backlinks, and building content and brand awareness on a limited budget. … [Read more...] about How a small manufacturer started a program from scratch