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Local Website Promotion Adds Value to Business

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Local businesses will find that effective website promotion adds new customers and strengthens relationship with existing ones.

But a business owner with limited online experience may get disappointed when the money spent on a nice looking site doesn’t produce the desired result.
Quite often the problem is that too much money is spent on the website and not enough on promoting it.

The Problem With Search Engines

Anyone who relies only on search engines to deliver traffic will find that results are spotty at best. It takes some knowledge and expertise to optimize a website for search engine. It also takes a great deal of work, especially for larger sites.

That knowledge and expertise requires either a lot of research and skills that business owners may not possess. They also might not have a budget to hire an expert in search engine optimization.

Search engines also are doing more to keep their visitors on their sites unless they click on ads. As a result, what is called “organic search” is not nearly as effective as it was some years ago.

Social Media Challenges

Social media

© 2021 Scott Bateman

Business people may also think they can get traffic to their sites from social media accounts. Unfortunately, social media websites are getting stingy with allowing their visitors to leave.

Like search engines, they are doing more to keep them on site by limiting how much a social posting gets distributed. Instead, they are pushing hard to make businesses buy advertising to get those clicks.

As well, some categories of business don’t receive many clicks from social media accounts to their websites. Retail businesses in particular often have that problem.

So advertising is becoming more important for getting website traffic. Social media accounts and search engine optimization are still valuable, but in some ways less important and effective. How much should a business spend on website promotion?

Website Promotion / Production Formula

Let’s say you spend $20,000 a year to advertise your business in traditional local media, such as newspapers, cable and broadcast.

The production or creative part of an ad campaign is often included in the price of a newspaper ad. You might pay a modest amount for the production of a broadcast spot.

Website promotion should be treated the same way. The production of the site should be far less than half of the annual online budget.

Take that $20,000 a year budget above and allocate 30 percent to online or a total of $6,000.

Now allocate 25 percent of that $6,000 or $1,500 total to “production.” That is the amount you should spend on site hosting (typically about $10 a month) plus any creative or update fees.

Many site hosting companies have design templates that come with the hosting. Some website software packages also come with design templates.

Finally, you can find templates on the Internet, many of them free, through search engines.

With $1,500 allocated for production, that leaves $4,500 for advertising.

That amount can split between response-oriented text ads targeted to your local area using products such as Facebook or Google ads. The rest can be spent on brand-oriented display ads on local newspaper or broadcast websites.

Ask your local account executive for discounted rates for buying print or broadcast together with online.

Beware Expensive Site Builders

It is not an exaggeration — in fact, it is a real example — that one website building company can charge $10,000 and another $1,500 for the same website.

Do shop around for at least three bids and look not only a price but also the builder’s portfolio, reputation and customer service.

Consider that an expensive site build or rebuild will eat into the advertising budget for online and potentially the budget for all advertising channels.

Don’t Forget Free Advertising

Beyond the advertising budget lies the “free” promotional tactics. Although they don’t cost money, they do cost time. The time is best spent on the tactics that yield the most results after experimenting with each one.

The online tactics include social media, video publishing and email marketing. Video publishing is easy to do with existing cameras. Many email marketing vendors offer free accounts to anyone with a small list of subscribers.

The “offline” tactics include putting the website address in signage, invoices, receipts, business cards and traditional advertising. These offline tactics are a free and easy way to remind existing customers about interacting with the business online.

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