The hidden treasure for small business owners
If there’s one constant that comes from the conversations we have with small business owners it’s the uncertainty they feel when it comes to creating and managing their online presence. Too much conflicting advice and too many fork-tongued gurus offering their latest snake oil (guaranteed to make your website shine!).
Well, help is at hand thanks to the caring, sharing community that can be found on Google+.
There are some key points that come through to ensure you are starting from a strong foundation.
Be clear about what you want from your website - business goals.
Understand your customers and their needs.
Do the things that work towards achieving your goals and meeting your customers' needs - anything else is wasting resources.
This is just a small cross-section of the good advice available on Google+. Do take the time to take a look at the posts from the individuals as well as the events (click on their images or their name). You will find they post and share some valuable information that will help you get the most from you online presence.
The Small Business Webtech Show
Two people with a passion for helping Small Businesses, John and Marilyn Moore, manage to draw together people with the knowledge and experience to provide practical guidance for all business owners in this Hangout on Air (HOA) series.
John has been programming in a variety of languages for more than 25 years and currently employs those skills helping small businesses with all the technical aspects of their websites.
Marilyn's goal is to make the changes occurring in search and the impact that is having on business, accessible and understandable to the small business person. Watch for her insightful commenting on Google+.
In the three shows listed below John and Marilyn are joined by guest host
Owner of Fat Eyes Web Development, Gina has a gift for creative writing that draws in the reader. You’ll find many tips and a great deal of inspiration in her posts.
and the special studio guest
Bill modestly describes himself as interested in seo, search engines, searchers' behaviours, the future of search, the semantic web, music, the environment, and how the Web works. His knowledge is extensive and he reads Google patents for fun!
Mike is a life time entrepreneur with a wealth of experience who is currently offering sales acceleration and business development services as Managing Partner of My One Call LLC.
Mary is an Internet Marketing specialist with over ten years' experience of developing successful marketing strategies for technology, alternative energy and healthcare organizations.
Ammon (aka The Black Knight) is well respected in the online world. He has been in the business since it was a business and his knowledge and experience shine through in any encounter. Always take the opportunity to listen to, and engage with, Ammon.
Is your website an asset? A scene-setting discussion. Your website has the potential to be a major element of your business but without the right investment it can be a liability.
Integrating your website and business processes. Your website as an employee, a global conversation with your potential customers.
What does it take? Level of investment. Clearly defined goals. Knowledge of your business and your customers.
How? Problems with proprietary systems (e.g. your business website for $5 per month). Content Management Systems. Working with web developers. The cost/skills equation: lower initial cost equates to more time/skills investment from the business.
What happens after your website is launched? Keeping your site relevant. Allocating resources.
Where to watch?
Original Google+ Event - always valuable to read through the comments on the event page for extra insights.
Timestamp Post - a common practice on Google+. Lists the flow of the event with links that take you directly to that part of the video.
Owner of web strategy and email marketing firm Shovi Websites, Stephan is an advocate of the web presence as an employee with a purpose approach. Yep, makes sense.
David is the co-owner of boutique web development firm Confluent Forms LLC. He has a demonstrable expertise in creating websites that make a positive contribution to their owner's business.
A geek who can still speak in plain English, helping small businesses and solopreneurs be successful and profitable through comprehensive site consultation and training including WordPress, SEO, performance, and security. Owner of the much respected BlogAid.
What is web centric? Your website as a hub, connecting all your business activities. The website as a multiplier for your efforts.
The need for a comprehensive business strategy, unique to the circumstances of that business.
Customer intent - the rise of mobile and local searches.
Content ideas - being innovative with your content to keep visitors engaged.
The power of reviews. The importance of a Google My Business page and customer reviews for a local business.
Live Chat - easier to implement than you might think and a great way to make an immediate connection with potential customers.
Where to watch?
Author, Speaker, Analyst. David is at the forefront of changes in search and how these changes affect business. A prolific writer and commenter on Google+. Watch out for his Sunday Read - rabbit holes a-plenty!
Ammon (aka The Black Knight) is well res... wait... haven't we been here before? Yes, back for a second time in this series. Actually Ammon pops up several times in this resource list - he is that good!
Mark is Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting. Renowned for his well-reasoned postings on any aspect of marketing and a contributor to many leading marketing websites. You can rely on Mark to share the best information and research currently available.
Having the right mindset - breaking away from the allure of the quick fix.
Being clear about how you want to be perceived. Do the things for which you want to be known. Connect with the right people.
Marketing is all Word of Mouth.
Technical SEO - getting the basics right.
Putting the real value into your website. Listening to customers, providing answers and showcasing your expertise.
The 4 Es and the 4 Ps and their relevance to your website.
Standing out - Being memorable and being top of mind.
Being thoughtful about perceived wisdom - does the advice fit your business model.
Persistence and focus - taking control of things you can change for the better.
Finding the support you need.
Where to watch?
Fundamentals of Online Marketing Series
A series of six Hangout on Air shows that explores, in some detail, how businesses can make the most of the opportunities presented by the connected world. The one-to-one conversation format enables these shows to go into a little more depth. There are a lot of useful thoughts and ideas presented here, often too much to absorb in one viewing. Get a notepad ready, take your time and give them the attention they deserve.
Vincent is a sales and marketing consultant serving the needs of professional service providers including Dentists, Lawyers and Accountants. He has a healthy aversion to confirmation bias.
Ammon's third entry on this list. You shouldn't really need any more recommendation than that!