Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Small Business Reminder: Google Is Blind

The environment for business to have a website and look to the internet as a new marketplace to promote our goods and services is no longer new. It's been around for more than 10 years now and certainly over the past five years has become mainstream.

Or so it seems.

So why is it that so few businesses are using the internet in a way that promotes them effectively?

You have a website.
You may have paid a lot for it to be developed.
How is it doing?

How do you tell?

What bits are working and which bits need to be changed?

Traffic is not the be all and end all of having a business website. But it is fairly fundamental as a starting point to measure your progress and to see where improvements should and can be made.

Yet time and again I see business owners with no clue what their numbers are but not even the most basic idea how to find out and what they should be looking for.


One of the misconceptions with web property is that a web designer - or even a web hosting company that sells you a template that you pay monthly to host your website online is the place to learn about what you need to know to get the best results.


Indeed many of these places know very little and care even less about your results. Their product is to get you online. Your success online is not their problem. With many designers, they will do the site as you want it and it is up to you to know what to put there and they will do it. The responsibility for how well it does is not their concern. That's up to you.

Here's another myth.

What your website looks like is an indication of how well it will function to attract customers.

There are two parts to correcting this myth.

SEO - search engine optimisation is all about ( or should be but often isn't effectively done) how Google "sees" on your website. Google is blind. It reads instructions behind the page and content on the page. That's pretty much it. Ask a blind person to tell you how you look today? That's about the same as Google viewing your website. So you want all the elements that don't show and the content that does, to be right.

PEO Person Eyes Optimisation - is all about how those people having searched and found your site through SEO - can find what they are looking for, what they want to know about your business, where you are, how you work, how to reach you and whether you have even bothered to be findable. The content needs to be useful and current and easy for them to buy from you. This is true even if you don't have a shopping facility on the website - they can still reach you by phone or email and purchase whatever is they want that you have.

There is a bit to learn about this topic and yes there is a lot of bad information out there. Sales pitches are not the best place to learn what you need to know. And yet it seems like many business owners want to be sold the magic bullet (sorry, there isn't one) and instant results. There isn't any of those either.

Nor are there any fixes that don't cost time and/or some money (probably both) to work effectively. But then your experience with other things in life has shown you that already, right?

Steps To Take Right Now

  • Find out how your website statistics are being tracked.
  • Get access to check them at least weekly.
  • Check them at least weekly.
  • Look at where your traffic is coming from.
  • Get your friends in different places to look for your business online as they would if they didn't know you and were just a customer looking for someone who does what you do. Collect the responses for where (page)you come up in their search.
  • Find out which companies are coming up first for what you do
  • Consider your message and what story you have to tell about your business as your keywords you need to use will be in there. 
Google is blind when it comes to 'seeing' your website but it picks up everything it needs if you set your website up well. And your web? Well it is a lot like a guide dog. Look after it and keep it well fed and it will be on duty 24/7 and returning the love.

    Call me if you need a hand.

     Related Posts

    The Dirty Secrets Business Needs To Know About Social Media
    Why You Need To Build Your Mailing List And How To Do It
    How To Get Your Local Business Found Online

       How-To: Developing A Social Media Strategy For Marketing
    Quick & Dirty Business Review
    Test Your Website For Roadworthiness
    What You Should Know About Social Media For Business

    Lindy Asimus
    Business Coach
    Mobile: 0403 365855


    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    How Do Your Customers Find You?

    "How Did You Find Us?"

    A recent conversation on Twitter brought this up as a discussion point.  In the course of our back and forth, @gregbepper mentioned that as president of his local business chamber he had seen many times that business owners were missing the vital step of asking customers how they came to be at their business.

    The old adage of half of marketing being a waste of money, but not knowing which half - is as true now as it ever was. The difference now is that the tools to track where new business is coming from are now available. Technology takes away any excuse we had for not knowing these metrics but still this is ignored.

    Without knowing where your customers are being activated, we put a blindfold on and start pinning money to that Marketing Donkey. Why would you do that?

    This was confirmed during another discussion with a local advertising consultant who expressed similar views and frustration that many of us share, in the lack of interest that some business owners and managers seem to have when it comes to taking a professional approach to understanding what is essentially basic management application in the business.

    It may be true to say that for many small business owners approaching marketing that they don't know how to do this. They don't know how to go about setting up a system to collect this essential data and some will say they are "too busy"! Really.

    I kid you not.

    Which is fair in a way. Preparation for anything takes some thought and time. Doing things without thought is easy! It is fast! And it costs a lot of money.  But if being not prepared is your thing, then you probably won't notice that.

    "Oh I tried that. I sent a letter once and it didn't work." I have had this said to me by intelligent people who believe that sending one letter is direct marketing,.

    "I don't have time for social media and anyway I don't use the internet. And my customers are local anyway."

    Truly. I have heard this so many times I have just wanted to lie down with a blanket and curl up in fetal position.

    These are our local businesses. They are what give our local area colour and character and they are the businesses that we watch and see them slide and then disappear with all their money and time invested just gone.  Or we watch them limp along barely getting by and wondering why the government is making it hard for them Why the customers are not loyal. And complaining bitterly about the terrible overseas merchants selling goods to "their customers" over the internet.

    How well are your using the intelligence in your business about existing customers?

    What is motivating your customers to come to you?
    Where do they find you?
    Where do they go instead of buying from you?
    What do you need to do to make them come back again?
    What do you need to do to know what they want?

    How much time are you prepared to spend to know these things in your business, or are you too busy "saving money" on your marketing?

    There are ways to know the answer to these questions. If you don't know what they are yet, then make the time and investment you need to find out and get some help to do so.   But beware. Not everyone will care if you get good results and good information.

    To your success!

    Related posts:

    Step-Up In Your Business
    Business Manners -  People Are Watching You.
    Goals - How To Set Them & Achieve Them
    Coaching Tips
    Roles & Responsibilities - Who Is Wearing What Hat?
    Gratitude. It Has A Place In Business Too.
    Appearance Doesn't Matter And You Will Be Judged By It.

    Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook!

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    10 Steps To Local Marketing Online

    When What Used To Work Stops Working
    Local businesses are in a quiet panic. Many have gone along doing the same marketing over and over and using the same methods to attract customers and finding that the results are not the same now.

    Tempting as it is to say "We told you this was coming... but you wouldn't listen.", that's not much help so maybe you who own a local business will be more receptive now to try some other methods.

    Oh but you don't like the internet?

    Too bad. We do and that's where we make decisions about who to give our money to.

    Get used to it.

    Now before you start asking about guarantees and return on investment or thinking you'll get your teenager to set up a Facebook page for you here are some points to get your head around.

    1) Setting up a Facebook page is not a marketing plan. If you give money to someone like that then you deserve to lose it.

    2) If you have no way to measure your old marketing results, don't ask about ROI on social media marketing.

    3) "We put out a catalogue and people came into the shop" isn't measuring results.

    4) Your marketing may not be what's keeping people away. Maybe it *is* You.

    5) You're going to  have to do some research.

    6) If you have no idea how to research or what to research then you would do well to get someone in who does.

    7) You're going to have to get your hands dirty. Yup. You are going to need to polish off those social skills and actually engage with people.

    8) No the internet is not only full of people who live on the other side of the world. It is full of people who live locally too. In fact, it is full of people who maybe used to go to your business. But you may not know that since most businesses have a dismal record when it comes to collecting data on who customers are and what they like and how to reach them.

    9) You'll need some patience. You've spent years getting into this position and building your online network and developing some online presence is going to take a little time to mature. Just like anything else.

    10) Think of your business efforts online as another staff member. A golden employee who never complains, works 24/7 and never takes a holiday. Treat them well.

    A review is a great place to start and there is no time like the present.

    Good luck with it and if you need a hand, well give me a yell.

    Lindy Asimus

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    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Business Manners: People Are Watching

    Some recent discussions with business friends have been around several issues that actually come back to the same basic issue. Which is "Why do so many business owners not put some effort into learning the basic skills their business needs?"


    If you are in business then customers expect to be able to find you online.

    If you haven't taken steps to make sure you have a website that works, you are still online but not in a good way.

    People notice that.

    If you think that your keywords for your business is your name then you need to learn more about the internet and marketing online. This is basic knowledge that your business needs. Basic knowledge that you need to have in order to even pick someone to help you carry out implementation of your site in a way that is useful and can work for you.

    Procedures and Systems

    Your employees need to know what they are expected to do and to the standard that you wish them to do it.

    Having proper systems documented means they don't have to guess and don't have to follow you around to ask you. Even better - the business can run more effectively, more efficiently and customers can be more consistently given the service that you promise and they want to get.

    Social Media

    No matter what you've been told, getting a Facebook Page ( or worse, a personal profile you think you will promote your business on) isn't social media marketing. Getting a FB Page or a Twitter account is the start. Not the finish and your work begins from then on. What will you do next? This is what you need a strategy for and good understanding of what to do - and what not to do online. Be assured. The next person who approaches you telling you that a Facebook Page is the answer for your business online probably knows barely more than you do about it. This is not what your business needs. But it does need you to understand social media - whether you decide to become active or you decide not to become active online. You still need to understand it.


    Your Yellow Pages advertisement is costing you a lot of money. How many jobs do you need to cover the cost before you make anything for you? If you are paying a monthly fee then it is still the total amount that you need to know you have to pay back to yourself to recover your cost before you make $1. Are you getting value for this? If you don't have a system  for monitoring leads from your marketing how will you know how well anything works?

    How will you combine your activities for marketing and test where you get the best bang for your buck?  Where does social media and online marketing fit within your overall marketing plan?

    A marketing plan is not a plan if it is in your head. It needs to be set out and planned and costed and budgeted for in order to be able to provide you with any good result and intelligence that you can use going forward for future years.

    This is another area that your business depends on you to gain the skills you need to keep on top of this.

    Professional Courtesy

    You have a phone message. Are you going to return the call? Today? Next week? What about the quotes you promised to deliver? Are they delivered yet? How well have you set them out for your customer to study?

    Too many businesses are just slack when it comes to those issues of manners in business. You got a referral from someone in your network? What did you do to show your appreciation? What do you do to reciprocate that act? You go to network meetings. How much thought do you give to how you can introduce people to potential customers and actively promote those people who support you in some way?

    Not returning calls, not replying to enquiries are all signs that you don't care. Period.

    Not paying your bills is a sign that you have no respect for the people who have provided you service.

    When someone has to chase you up for things that are for you then that is a demonstration that you don't care about your business so why should they?

    On the other hand, those people who think of others, who return phone calls and go out of their way to demonstrate quite basic manners really stand out and shine. With very little effort they can be standing above the crowd just with a few simple measures.

    Which kind of reputation would you prefer?

    Businesses Suffering

    Every day the news is filled with yet more reports of new closures, more businesses going into liquidation and more families being left in despair over business failure. Many of these will also have put their homes at jeopardy in the process.

    We need strong local businesses and to that end we need businesses to operate effectively and efficiently and to be monitoring their business numbers and activities so they know right where they are and can react to change as necessary. Not as so many do, to be just doing what they do, oblivious to the issues can run them into trouble.

    Ongoing education is now required in many industries for technical aspects of the industry.  It is your job as the business owner to take measures to ensure that you are educating  yourself overall in matters relating to business, to your marketplace and to technology is being added to on an ongoing basis.

    The markets are changing and the opportunities too. There is no place for complacency in a healthy business. These issues can look daunting but they are actually quite simple to fix. That small amount of effort can reduce a lot of stress for everyone including the business owner.

    Remember. We're watching. 

    Who have you seen in business that you admire who shines at being on top of all these issues in their business?

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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Friday, September 09, 2011

    Networking. Who Loves Ya, Baby?

    Driving to an appointment the other day I pondered - not for the first time - the huge number of business hours each week, each month, each year, going into what is called networking and wondering "Why isn't this working?"

    And it dawned on me the similarity between these networking sessions and what happens behind closed doors with what we sometimes call lovemaking.

    Here's the shocker.

    Lots of people are clueless in bed too.

    When it comes to networking, we can be like the erstwhile lover, screaming in silence "no - not that... do this..." but yet never say a word out loud to the one we are with... while the partner fumbles around, achieving little, save for creating frustration, irritation and perhaps regret.

    Just like in sex, we can expect people to know what we want most, what we need for it to work out well and an interest in the interaction culminating in satisfaction for both parties.

    People are terrible mindreaders.

    Or like just a casual hook-up with someone  whose name you'll never even remember or maybe cross the street to avoid if you see them later.

    Networking, if it is to be successful needs both to be concerned about the outcomes for the other.

    Not standing aloof waiting to be serviced.

    Are you a considerate networker?

    Successful networking should be about building relationship and sharing a mutual interest in getting good results for each other and those they refer for assistance.

    Time to end the Wham-bam casual bumping into strangers.

    What's your best strategy to encourage mutual gratification in networking?

    Come on now. Networking. It's Business Time.

     Social Media For Business Survey 2011

    Networking Imposters
    Networking: Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You

    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog