How many of times have you read an article telling you to expand your business's web presence? Such articles by well respected experts often offer great advice, but what about proof of doing the hard work? I don't know about you, but I'm one who is inspired and learns by true success stories. Here's one true story some of you may already be able to relate to. For others, it's a valuable lesson.
Jan always knew she had to have web presence, but never knew just how effective a Web site could be as a form of marketing. Her real marketing efforts at the time consisted of phone book listings, magazine ads, cold calling and letter campaigns, none of which brought her agency any great results.
About seven years ago, she had a Web site built for her business, Your Collection Solution, LLC. It was created by the local yellow pages provider in Rochester, New York as a stand alone type Web site using her own domain name. Her site was indexed with Google and all the major players. After two years, you could count on one hand how many calls her three page site generated. It just didn't justify its monthly cost in addition to the initial set up expense.
Two years later, an associate commented negatively about her Web site and suggested she get some help updating it. Jan, not really knowing what this entailed (but knowing new business calls were slow), took the comment to heart and decided to take action. To avoid making the same mistake twice, Jan devoted time to learn about her Web site, what it potentially could do for her, and do enough research which eventually lead her to my services.
During the initial Web site evaluation, it was certain Jan wasn't prepared for the eye-opening experience which was to follow. My first question was a simple one "what is the geographical market for your collection agency?" She said "all of New York State." So I opened up my web browser, typed various versions of "collection agency NY" into Google, and all Jan could do was look in frustration as competitors appeared on the first page. "Some of these people aren't even qualified!" she commented. Jan quickly noted her Web site link was nowhere to be found, even beyond five pages into the search results. "No wonder my Web site doesn't do anything for me!" she stated. "I had no idea. I just assumed this kind of stuff was handled for me when I bought the Web site."
We proceeded further and point out obvious problems. At this point, Jan looked fit to be tied. In the process, Jan was shown her Web site had huge potential, but because of poor planning and poor design, it failed miserably.
Let's pause for a moment and learn from Jan's experience so far...
Jan's first mistake wasn't hiring the yellow pages. It was not doing enough research to learn exactly what a Web site can do for her business and how search engines evaluate Web sites.
Jan's second mistake was hiring a web developer who doesn't specialize in Search Marketing. What Jan needed (but didn't know at the time) was a Web site to perform well in search engine results for her search terms to attract interested visitors.
Jan's first step toward success was listening to an associate who looked at her Web site and said "your Web site really needs help!" This is an important point here. When was the last time you had an unbiased opinion of your Web site? As business owners, we tend to forget how we are perceived publicly. Remember, perception is often more relevant than fact. If your site is poor, your business can be perceived the same way.
Jan second step toward success was taking action. She made it a priority, scheduled the time, and finally began to learn what her Web site is all about. Jan began to read articles online and discover basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, how Pay Per Click (PPC) ads work, what organic search is, and what all that does for a Web site.
Jan third step toward success was learning she should search for web designers who specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for businesses as a standard practice in web design.
Now let's finish the story...
Throughout this whole process, Jan said "Regardless of how disappointed I'm feeling, my understanding of Web sites and the necessity of one is soaring. I feel like I entered the world of technology. I learned so much, including what my competition is doing."
Jan hired me to build a new Web site for her business. We determined her old Web site was just too bad to salvage and not worth the effort to fix. Her new site was built with people AND search engines in mind.
Once Jan's new site became active, it took less than a month for it to take on a life of its own; so much so that it had just become Jan's number one marketing tool. Jan began receiving new business calls on a daily basis, and since the site's upgrade, her client base has quadrupled in just a year. As a result, Jan happily added additional staff to handle the increased volume.
Jan's marketing dollars are now solely devoted to the Web site and its continual optimization. She's abandoned the magazine ads, mailings and cold calling -- even the phone book ads. Her main keywords "collection agency NY" became so successful; she expanded her Web site and business to include all of PA and NJ.