June 19, 2002
As a small business owner or manager, you have one principal goal: increase your profits. Whether you are a sole proprietor looking to increase your own income, or a corporate manager looking to increase shareholder equity, your bottom line is the bottom line. Whether you need to move more widgets or provide more services, ultimately you need to increase your income by expanding your revenue while decreasing your expenses. You need to reach new customers, and keep your current customers coming back for more.
If you want people to purchase your goods and services, they need to know that you exist, and what you can do for them. You need to communicate information about your products and services to as many potential customers as possible. This requires more than just broadcasting your message. To be truly efficient, you need to tell your story to those who will actually want to do business with you. You need to focus your efforts.
There are several media available to you for getting your message across. The most basic is simple word-of-mouth. This costs you nothing, but you also have very little control over how your message is communicated. For a small, local business, this may work fine, but in the Internet age, where your customers probably don't come from a small neighborhood, this is not enough.
Traditional electronic media are available to you. Local radio and television spots can reach a great number of people in your community. The question here, however, is just who your message is reaching. These ads are focused on a rather broad demographic: sugary cereals on Saturday mornings, razors and fast cars on sports shows, and so on. If this is sufficiently focused for you, you may be in good shape, except that these spots can be fairly costly. A 30-second radio spot can cost $100 or more, depending on the market; a television ad can cost over $1000 for the same spot, with network spots going for much more. In addition, there are production costs, with professional actors, editing, and so forth. They are also pretty ethereal--when the ad is finished, it goes away.
Print advertising has the advantage that it doesn't disappear when the reader has finished looking at your ad. They can go back and look at it again. For local coverage, print advertising can be pretty inexpensive. A four-line classified ad in the local newspaper costs practically nothing. Even display ads can be fairly inexpensive, given that you will reach a large number of people. For national coverage, print can become quite expensive. The rate sheet for a respected national new magazine charges over $200,000 for a one-page color ad in their national edition!
In all these cases, you have to look at who is being targeted. In print ad, you are looking at everybody who reads the magazine or newspaper. Does everybody who reads that publication want to buy your product? If not, then this is probably not the most efficient use of your marketing dollar. Even with focused traditional electronic media, you may be reaching a broader segment of the population than you want to--you may not be interested in all women in the 18-49 group, for example.
What about the World Wide Web? We've all seen banner ads on websites. These may get your message to a more focused group, but there are problems that come with banner ads. Banner ads have become so ubiquitous that many people simply ignore them. Or worse, they have software that will actually remove them from web pages as they view the pages. Your message doesn't get to anybody that way.
Pop-up ads and their newer incarnation, the pop-under ad, are often not appreciated by users on the Web. Having several browsers opened on a user's desktop can be quite disconcerting for them.
You probably already have a website; otherwise you are probably looking seriously at creating a presence on the Web. Your website works for you 24/7; people can always come to your site to see what you have to offer. You reach people who want what you have, because they come looking for you. They want what you have, and they want to hear your story.
If you have a famous brand, people will have an easy time reaching your website. If, however, you aren't a Fortune 500 company, it may be a bit tougher. Search Engine Marketing may be just the thing for you. You want your website to have high visibility, with the goal of leading qualified traffic to you. How much more qualified could your prospects be than to have them actually looking for you?
Marketing via Search Engines may be the most cost-effective techniques available to you. Many Search Engines will list your site for free; others for a relatively small fee. Just because your site is listed on the popular Search Engines, however, doesn't mean you're home free. Have you ever done a search and seen that there were a million matches for your search terms? Have you ever tried to look at the one-millionth match? Usually people are interested in only the first page or two of results--typically the first thirty matches or so. If you happen to be number 31, you are out of luck.
We know how to get you to the top of these lists of Search Engine returns, and to keep you there. While nobody can guarantee results, we can greatly improve your site's ranking on the major Search Engines. If anybody tells you that they can guarantee you a #1 ranking, don't believe them. There are no tricks to achieving a better ranking, but there is hard work, combined with experience, that will move you up into the coveted "top thirty" spots. We have that knowledge; we have that experience.
We want you to achieve a sustainable high ranking in Search Engines that people actually use, and to do so at a price you can afford. Our Code of Ethics is your assurance that we will put all our efforts behind your site. The details are important to you, and they are important to us. We can work with you and your website developer to make sure your site ranks as highly as possible.
Working with your small to mid-sized website, we can:
We look forward to the opportunity to put our experience to work for you. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and see how we can help increase your ranking in the Search Engines and Directories.
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