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Website Promotion Adds Value to Local 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.

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. That knowledge and expertise requires either a lot of research and practice that business owners may not have or 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. What is called “organic search” is not nearly as effective as it was some years ago.

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.

So advertising is more important for getting website traffic. Social media accounts and search engine optimization are less important and effective. How much should a business spend on online advertising?

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.

A website and the promotion that goes with it should be treated the same way. The production of the site should be far less than half of the annual online advertising 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 $4500 for advertising.

That amount can be 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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