Let’s face it – most small business owners are not website designers or internet marketers. As a result, they often make costly mistakes that are a huge detriment to their online AND offline success. Start learning from the mistakes of others and make sure you don’t duplicate these three very common blunders in your small business.
Using a free email address
This one drives me crazy and I see it all the time. So many small businesses have email addresses on free email domains like aol.com or yahoo.com. If you are a small business owner using a free email address, ask yourself…
What is it communicating to my customers when they see yahoo.com or gmail.com on the end of my email address?
There are a few things a free email address might communicate to your customers and prospects:
- The company is new and it hasn’t been around long enough to get an email address on their own domain
- The company is cheap and can’t afford $10/year for their own domain name
- The company is not very tech-savvy and doesn’t understand how easy it is to get a personalized email address
These perceptions on the part of your customers may not seem like a big deal to you but in competitive markets, small business owners must utilize every advantage to make their company stand out among the competition.
So why not get an email address on your own personalized email address? Not only will it communicate a higher level of professionalism for your company, it will also promote your company’s domain name and drive some extra traffic to the website simply by people seeing your domain name in your email address.
And oh, by the way, it’s really not difficult to get an email address on your domain name. If you already have a domain name, it shouldn’t cost a penny. And if you don’t yet have a domain name, it will cost less than $15/year to get your own domain name and email address.
Many small businesses don’t have large budgets for marketing and promotion and they typically try to pinch pennies on their website. What they may not realize is they are costing themselves a lot more money over the long term with a website that is ugly, confusing, and dysfunctional.
There are many options for building a website. Large companies in the small business space like Intuit and Vistaprint offer website builders for a small monthly fee to lure small business owners in droves trying to meet their tiny budgets. With these cheap website builders, you usually get what you pay for…not much.
Small business owners should consider stretching their budgets a bit to improve their website design and marketing. Maybe that means hiring a professional website designer or maybe it means spending more time with a higher quality (and more expensive) website builder. (For a great low cost option for building a slick website quickly and easily, check out my Weebly Review)
Where ever the extra time and money is directed, if it improves your website, it is time and money well spent over the long term because it will give your company a more professional appearance online. Visitors to your website won’t be disgusted by your website and that should translate into more prospects and customers.
Not Trying Pay Per Click Advertising
Getting a number one position in Google is a top priority for many of my clients. What many don’t realize is that getting a number one ranking in search engines is not as easy as entering some metatags- especially if you’re targeting a competitive search phrase.
In order to get rankings in search engines that produce significant traffic, it usually takes a lot more time AND money than small businesses are able to invest.
Have you ever seen the sponsored ads in Google? You can get your small business website listed in this area for keyword searches you choose. When your targeted keyword is searched, your ad will be displayed and you will be charged per click ONLY when a visitor clicks on the ad and visits your site.
Many small businesses shy away from trying Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising because it can be expensive. It could be a costly mistake NOT to try it because you may be missing out on a potential cash cow.
What if you could spend $1,000 on PPC advertising and make $2,000 in profit every month? That would be a great investment and one you would be happy to repeat month after month. Many small businesses owners see the $1,000 cost number and never move forward because investing $1,000 is too scary for them – BIG mistake!
Now let’s be realistic – not everyone is going to be able to invest $1,000 and make $2,000 profit month after month, but the key is to at least explore PPC advertising as an option and be willing to invest some money to try it for a couple months. You never know – it may create a better return on investment than any other form of advertising you have tried.
If you are interested in trying out Pay Per Click advertising for your small business, the author of this article, Ryan Bowman, is a Certified Adwords Professional and accepting 50 clients for his affordable Pay Per Click Management Service designed for small businesses.
Image courtesy sboneham