Clarity - Levelfield's Small Business Blog

- Jeannie Samson, President, Inc

  • Internet Advertising 101

    8/26/2008 4:15:41 PM Link |  | Add comment

    By now, pretty much every business has a website.  A good portion of those sites, look great.  But as any fourth grader can tell you, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  In the end, it’s all about function.  Good looks are not enough.  Fortunately, using your website to bring business through your door is not all that complicated (assuming you have the right tools).  It just takes some effort. As with most everything, the more effort you put in (and the better your structure), the better will be the results.  If your website isn’t generating the business you’d like it to, here’s a few tips:

    1)    Collect Information.  Your website must have an information request function.  This will allow interested visitors to input their names and pertinent information.  A good website, like a Levelfield website, will have a sales management system that stores those leads and allows you to act upon them.  Ways to use the info will be discussed below. 

    2)    Act Immediately.  The quicker you follow-up on an information request, the better chance of it becoming business.  Use the info you get from interested parties and call.  Yes, the phone is a part of internet advertising!

    3)    Send a Regular Newsletter.  This is a way to reach existing and potential customers, both equally important in marketing.  Make the newsletter pertinent (if you need to have more than one newsletter to address more than one market, do), informative, engaging and helpful.  You want to offer more than a product or service.  You want to better people’s lives, regardless of what it is you do.  Make the newsletter do this.  If you are a dietician, give eating tips.  If you have a mattress store, talk about the advantages of different types of mattresses for different types of problems.  Also, make sure you advertise specials, sales, open houses, etc.  Give your customers something they can use.  Give potential customers a reason to use you. 

    4)    Blog.  Blogging, short for web-logging, is all the rage and for good reason.  It serves you in two important ways.  First, it is personal.  People like personal.  We don’t get out as much as we should.  We sit in front of computers and at desks.  A blog is a conversation.  It is anecdotal.  You tell stories in a blog.  You tell why you are in your business, what drives you.  If you own a furniture store, you write about your grandfather’s rocking chair and the memories it conjures.  If you own a staffing company, you write about a particular company or person you helped.  Believe it or not, that might not be the most important function about a blog.  Search Engines love blogs!  Google, Yahoo, etc., love changing and constantly updated content.  It brings them to your site over and over again.  The more you update your blog, the more they stop by your site.  Further, it gives search engines unusual ways to find your site.  If you’re that furniture store owner and you blog about your grandfather eating apple pie in his rocking chair, someone might stumble onto your website by searching for “apple pie.”  That is the beauty of the blog. 

    5)    Don’t clutter your website.  While search engines love content, too much is too much.  All the time, I see websites with lots of great information that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read.  People hate clutter.  Be simple.  Be visual.  Get to the point.  No content is bad.  Too much is worse.  Find equilibrium.  Keep your site neat, balancing visuals with pertinent information.  This won’t help bring people to your site but it will keep them interested once there.

    6)    Advertise your website.  I find it amazing when I get a business card or read a billboard or brochure with no website listed.  Assuming you have a good website, a functional website, you should want people there.  Make sure your website is on all your promotional materials.  This should be a no-brainer but you’d be surprised!

    There are literally hundreds of ways to market and advertise online.  These are just a few, just the basics.  Fact is though, if you focus on these, use them well, with persistence and discipline you will see results.  Remember, the internet is all about communication.  A website is not a brochure.  It should be interactive, evolving and dynamic…more than a  pretty face.

  • Marketing Tools for Small Business

    8/13/2008 7:41:13 PM Link |  | Add comment

    There is an endless supply of web designers.  You can design your own site.  You can have a templated site made for you.  You can pay someone thousands upon thousands to build you a nice looking site.  Why choose Levelfield?

    Simple.  Because our sites are designed to generate business, to put you in touch with prospective clients and keep you in touch with current ones.  Like a lot of companies, we custom design sites.  We'll make them as beautiful as you'd like.  We'll make them ugly too if you're adement about it!  From the customer's prospective, our sites look like a lot of good sites. 

    Just like in a book (and a person), it's what's on the inside that counts.   As a business owner, you have access to a huge set of tools that allow you to reach out to customers continually, know where they're coming from, and keep communicating with them. 

    Behind all of our websites is a huge set of tools that allows you to change and edit your own content, collect, store and manage leads, market via email and newsletter, write a blog and send it out to the world through an RSS feed.  And you'll be able to look at graphs, charts, and statistics out the whazoo that'll tell you exactly how people and how many people are using your site. 

    For a small business, Levelfield has achieved a great deal of success.  How?  We use the exact same tools we put into every one of our websites.  Look at our portfolio.  It's worked for us.  Let it work for you.

  • Passion Makes Small Business Go

    8/1/2008 4:14:59 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Marketing a small business takes passion.  Owning a small business demands it.  If you’ve lost the enthusiasm for your business, take a step back, breath, then jump back in full force.  The second you get comfortable and relaxed, your business will start to slip.  That doesn’t mean you have to be on edge and anxious.  Rather, it means that for your business to succeed, you must attack each and every day with zest.  Otherwise, maybe you weren’t meant to be a small business owner. 

    Being a small business owner isn't about being comfortable and reasonable.  It's about being a doer, having a vision and making it happen.  Owning a small business is a challenge.  It can be rewarding but it will never be easy.  When your business struggles, you'll be told, "be reasonable...why dont' you get a real job?"  I've heard it myself.  Reasonable people produce limited results.

    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man," wrote George Bernard Shaw

    Go out and be unreasonable.  Make things happen and enjoy it.  Your business will thrive!


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