One of my first internet marketing clients was my carpet cleaner, a man who’d been keeping the rugs fresh at my (pet-friendly) house for fifteen years. He calmly explained that for his website all he needed was for me to put his door hanger online with his business name as the URL.
I was dumbfounded.
“But your website has to be your sales agent!” I cried. “It should collect email addresses and other prospect information! It has to familiarize your customers with your business style! Humanize you!”
He explained that he would prefer to perform all of those functions by himself, face-to-face or at least via telephone. The doorhanger would do.
“How will you catch consumers looking for your services in your neighborhoods?”I railed. “You have to link your local profiles on Yelp and City Search back to a decent website! A professional looking website!”
Local search? Hadn’t I seen his 50’s era truck in my driveway? The one with the wooden bed and frame? It was quite the draw with the locals.
“Well! You may as well not even have a website if you just want the nothing you’re proposing!”
Oh no, he continued. He needed a website. People were asking him if he had a website and he should be able to say yes. It was a legitimacy thing.
“A website can do so much more, tho!”
He was firm. He wanted to get himself in front of people and just talk to them serenely about his cleaning services. That’s how he always made the best sales he said; that’s what always worked for him.
At this point I had to pause. I could see his point.
Jean Paul is probably 6’2” with the long, blonde, curly ringlets women pay big money to get fried into their hair. A surfer, he stays fit and tan. But more than this, he’s a very down-to-earth, friendly, unpretentious, happy guy. A Saint Bernard puppy in a REI model package. Matthew McConaughey in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat. No wonder he wanted to get in front of people. Presence and personality were his two best selling points and he would make sure he leveraged them. Good for Jean Paul.
I put up his website, www.tradewindscarpetcare.com two years ago through Homestead.com, an Intuit company. It cost him $7 per month to have a URL that had only his business name, hosting included (more now, but maybe $10/month?). I did what he wanted—scanned the damned door hanger, put it into jpg format and uploaded it to a 2-page site. I thought for sure he’d call me for an upgrade, but in two years, he never has.
Yesterday, Jean Paul came to my house to get the carpets cleaned up. He cheerfully volunteered that the website was working well for him.
“So it’s actually bringing in customers, then?” I asked, astonished.
No, he replied, but when people ASK if he has a website, he can reply that he does: tradewindscarpetcare.com. But, he continued, did I want to know what did really work well for him?
“Yelp? Did you finally get on local search? Your Facebook page? ”
Not Yelp. Not Facebook. The door hanger.
He then patiently explained how he has his kids go around the neighborhoods hanging his door hanger in a neat plastic sleeve on all the door knobs. After all, it did display him. And the vintage truck. That strategy gets him one new customer a week and it’s cheap.
Some Businesses Can Get Away with the Most Minimal of Websites
I guess I get to say this because I don’t sell website design. But with the right business model, owners can get away with minimal search engine optimization and SEO copywriting, too.
Right now, Google is offering Californians FREE websites through its “Get Your Business Online California” program. I imagine this program will expand state by state, provided it’s profitable. With this strategy, Google demolishes a big barrier to Pay-Per-Click sales, Google’s cash cow. Pay-Per-Click ads have to point back to a website, after all. “Get your Business Online California” is being orchestrated through Intuit’s Homestead.com program. Non-Californian’s can get pretty much the same offer on www.homestead.com for $10 per month for the website template and hosting. That’s about as close to free for a website as you can get. Its drag and drop format makes it simple to learn and get set up quickly.
Confused by the Traditional/Digital Marketing Mix?
If you are , it’s no wonder. In addition to print/TV/radio, business owners now have to determine whether their brand can benefit most from search engine optimization, social media marketing, optimized content marketing, pay-per-click and local search. The vendors in each area will tell you that theirs approach is the most crucial of all.
These days, marketers must MICRO-tailor their strategies and campaigns to each individual business, not just the industry. What works for a vintage clothing store may not work for an urban men’s fashion brand. Micro –tailoring is possible, however, because of Google Analytics, the free program that tracks how many clients land on a site, where they come from, what keywords they used to find it and so FREAKING much more I don’t even want to tell you. The bottom line is: you find out what works for your brand online by trying different strategies on a limited basis and then analyzing the reaction. You don’t have to spend too much on social media before going back to door hangers.
Optimized Content Goes through all the Digital Marketing Channels
If you need to get oriented as to where to start or where to go next with your digital marketing strategies, Informed Web Content can help. Contact us for your free 20 minute consultation. Because we pride ourselves on 100% straight talk, don’t be surprised if we recommend door hangers. We may even give you a printer’s phone number. You can also check out our Free Tools page where you can pick up a 45-page Business Blog Start Up Kit in workbook format, our Brainless Brainstorming Tool for Getting Blog Posts Done and our Social Media and Blog Topic Spinner and Organizer. These tools teach you best digital marketing practices as you explore your options and develop your own campaigns.