A ‘Site’ to Behold
Why a business’s online presence can be its most valued asset
What story is your business telling the world?
As businesses expand and grow, so do their stories. One way to share their evolution is via their website and social media presence. According to a recent survey, 92 percent of business owners believe that having some sort of online presence contributes effectively to their digital marketing strategy.
With so many things competing for business owners’ attention, what should they do to ensure that the story they’re telling the world is an accurate representation of what they do?
Keith Yurgosky, a small business consultant at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has spent more than 20 years studying the evolution of the World Wide Web from its “fad” phase to its becoming a necessity for daily life. Holding an MBA in marketing, he specializes in assisting businesses develop their online strategy, from search engine optimization, to web presence, and more.
“Marketing is constantly changing,” he said. “Marketing isn’t only advertising—the first thing you need to do is find the right product that people want. Business owners need to realize that marketing is ongoing — just because you tried something once and it fails doesn’t mean that you should quit.”
Mr. Yurgosky offers several tips for businesses seeking to improve their overall marketing strategy to gain customers as well as credibility.
- Create your brand and promote it vigorously. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re known as the authority on whatever it is that you’re selling,” he said. “You can do this by actively networking and letting everybody know that’s who you are.”
- Know your target market. “You have to know who your target market is so that you can figure out how to reach those people,” he said. “That’s the area where you obviously want to go and find the advertising channels in that market that people are looking at—that could be newspaper, radio, television, social media, or the Internet.”
- Develop a strong online presence. “People think that Facebook is the answer to everything and that they don’t need a website,” he said. “What they don’t realize is that Facebook isn’t letting everyone see your posts unless you pay for it. You should have your own website that you have control over. You want to use the tool of social media to funnel traffic to your website and build your own following.”
- Don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket. “Social media is just one avenue to raise awareness of your business,” he said. “and while it is a great tool and it helps level the playing field quite a bit, it shouldn’t be your only form of advertising. However it is a inexpensive as far as marketing goes.”
- Word of mouth works. “When people pick a domain name, they should choose one that is easily passable by word of mouth—don’t try to use acronyms that only you understand,” he said. “You want your business and website name to be something memorable so people will remember it and help spread it via word-of-mouth.”
- Keep up appearances. “Think about what image your website portrays about your business,” he said. “You want to have control over that image and be able to update your site regularly. When you depend on someone else who isn’t 100% dedicated to your business to help maintain your site, they aren’t going to be on the same timeline as you and that can hurt your business.
And one other major lesson Mr. Yurgosky tries to teach business owners is to value their time like they would value that of any other employee.
“For anything that you’re going to try to do for your own in your business, try to put a dollar amount on your time,” he said, “For example, if you’re a house painter and you need a specific service and you think your time is worth $30 an hour. Are you better off painting a house if that’s what you do to make money or maintaining your website. If yes, then you should hire someone else to help you with that particular business need. If it takes you 10 hours to do what takes someone else three hours to accomplish, you’re losing money.”
To make an appointment with Mr. Yurgosky or any of the other small business consultants at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center to discuss your business’s particular needs, visit www.scrantonsbdc.com.