How to attract business

Advertise your small business with a custom website

Let’s say you have a product of service that someone — Rachel, for example — really needs. How do you let her know about it?

Click on each of these three common marketing strategies:

Pay to produce a TV ad; buy commercial time on the local cable system.

Unfortunately, Rachel uses a different TV provider. Plus, her DVR lets her skip almost all commercials.

Pay for direct mail design, printing, mailing list, and postage.

Even if the piece shows up in her mailbox, Rachel is going to throw it away without opening it, because she’s too busy to read junk mail.

Go door-to-door, catch Rachel at home, make your pitch face-to face.

Rachel has pancakes cooking, and four errands to run before noon. This is her only day off, and you’re an unexpected obstacle.

Interruption marketing

All of these approaches are examples of “interruption marketing” — advertising that tries to interrupt whatever Rachel is doing with a sales pitch she’s probably not interested in at the moment. This sort of message may even annoy her, which is the last thing you want to do. Wouldn’t it be much better to answer her questions about your product or service when she is actively seeking something like it?

Now think about a well-designed website — and by “designed,” we’re not just talking about colors, fonts, and alignment. Your website needs to be properly structured so that it not only attracts Rachel, but entertains, educates, and guides her toward a better understanding of how to solve her problem.

There is no ‘we’ in ‘Rachel’

Too many websites are designed to present a lot of mushy hype about a company — going on and on “About Us,” and “Who We Are,” and “What We Do” in the form of mission statements, boasting, and the like. Unfortunately, Rachel is not interested in this stuff. It’s not what she’s looking for.

Wouldn’t it be better to give her what she actually is looking for?

Using the tools of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we can get a much better idea of the sorts of keywords and phrases she would likely use at the moment she is searching for the kind of products or services you offer. Incorporating those keywords and phrases into the most important elements of a web page will make the page easier for her to find when she searches, a good first step.

Next, when she does visit the page, it must instantly assure her that she’s come to the right place — and get straight to helping her. If she begins to see that you do understand her problem and know how to solve it, she may take the next step by making a purchase, or contacting you, or whatever that next step would be.

Rinse — and repeat.

Thanks to amazing content management tools like WordPress, improving a web page through tweaks and edits at any time is incredibly easy. Say you’re in the shower when you suddenly remember a key point you’ve forgotten to tell Rachel on your page. Simply sprint, dripping wet, over to your laptop, tablet, or even smartphone and add the critical words.

Using web analytics tools like Google Analytics, over time you can see trends and patterns in the way visitors find and use your page. You’ll learn things you didn’t expect. This sort of information can be put to great use in making a good page even better.

Finally, instead of merely addressing one seeker’s question on one web page, imagine building an extensive set of pages over time — each focused on a another question or problem that your potential customers might have. Compared to other forms of advertising, adding pages to your website can cost virtually nothing, yet add up to some very valuable equity before long.

Isn’t this much more sensible than pouring money into advertising that’s either discarded or ignored?