Starting a business in Ireland is a brave decision to take in the current fiscal and economic climate. However entrepreneurs are a resilient and driven bunch and once you decide to start your own business it is difficult to shake off the bug.
Digital Marketing for Your New Business
Not too long ago you would have had to factor a significant marketing/advertising budget into your business plan. Some sort of advertising spends in newspapers, magazines, radio, or television would have been a necessity.
The good news nowadays is that smart digital marketing can provide a fantastic return on your marketing efforts at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising spend. Search engine marketing, social media marketing, pay per click, podcasting, video marketing through channels like YouTube, blogging, and various other cost effective guerrilla marketing tactics offer huge opportunities to smart small business owners.
However it is important that you are not bamboozled by all of these new marketing opportunities. Establishing a clear digital marketing strategy at the outset which is ideal for your particular business is vital.
Nobody knows your business like you do and there is no “one size fits all” strategy in marketing your business through digital channels. Each start up business is like a human being with an individual character and will require an individual and tailored approach into your target market(s).
And it is not a scientific process. It will involve trial and error, tweaking, changes both major and minor and an evolving learning curve. It will require an emphasis on one or a combination of the various digital marketing opportunities available. What works best for your business will only become clear over time as you monitor the results of your marketing efforts. So, where do you start?
At a minimum I would recommend
- A website/blog
- Video marketing
- Social media marketing with the emphasis on the website and video marketing initially.
The success of starting a business in Ireland in 2012 can be significantly enhanced with a content rich website which solves the problems of your target market together with cost effective video marketing on your own YouTube channel. The start-up costs for this strategy is miniscule if you do it right.
Once you have a clear idea of what your website is trying to achieve and the type of useful information or product demonstrations or education your videos will cover you will have an effective and scalable digital marketing strategy. This strategy can and should be tweaked and enhanced as your business grows and you monitor feedback and engagement with your website, YouTube channel, and whatever social media sites are best for your business.
Those readers of a certain vintage will be saddened to hear that the Dandy will be printed in December 2012 for the last time. The Dandy is going online and “exciting developments” are in the pipeline according to it’s publishers, DC Thomson.
The stunning fact that stuck in my mind when I heard this news was the drop in circulation from a high of 2 million weekly sales in it’s heyday to a low of 8,000 per week.
Yes, 2,000,000 per week to 8,000.
So if you are worried that Desperate Dan has eaten his last cow pie-fear not but future consumption will be online.
The adventures of Korky the Cat, Bananaman, Beryl the Peril will continue in a digital environment as young readers departed in droves to play computer games on the internet.
If you have ever doubted the importance of the internet and it’s role in changing the way business must be carried on nowadays surely the story of the Dandy is sufficient evidence that all is changed and a “terrible beauty is being born”.
If you are a small business owner the lesson of the demise of the physical version of the Dandy can only be ignored at your peril.
Across the road from my office there is a sign on top of the barber’s shop. It is a biggish sign from a local painter/decorator who sought to capitalize on the traffic coming into town for the local canal festival.
His sign had his contact details, no website address and a “Find Us on Facebook” exhortation prominently displayed.
A couple of days later I was in my local garage paying for my car service. On the counter of the reception of the garage was a prominent “Find us on Facebook” sign-again no reference to the garage’s own website.
It struck me as ironic that these two typical small Irish businesses are sending traffic to Facebook.
On the one hand we have two small businesses suffering with the difficult economic and financial conditions in the Irish economy currently.
On the other hand we have Facebook, a global brand and worth more than McDonalds, Visa, Dell, Hewlett-Packard at approximately $80-$100 billion.
And these small businesses, along with millions of other small businesses in Ireland and worldwide, are sending potential and existing customers to Facebook. Once there can you be sure that your potential new clients will actually find you? Or is it probable that they will find something else that interests them?
It is hard enough for small business websites to generate traffic and visitors, either online or offline.
There has to be a better way than then sending them to Facebook.
There is in fact a better way-your own website catering for the specific needs of your business.
The type of website that is best for your business will depend very much on your particular business, it’s industry, your budget, and where and how your potential new clients look for solutions. Smart digital marketing involves recognizing that there is a way into every market and the key is to find that way at a price that suits you.
Digital marketing for small business can seem intimidating, complex, and expensive. It doesn’t have to be.
Here is a simple but effective method of promoting your business on the internet without spending more than €20 (this is a conservative figure-you can actually do it at no cost but the €20 will allow you to buy your own domain name).
For the sake of this example I am going to assume that you are a painter/decorator in Mullingar, County Westmeath.
Firstly go to WordPress.com or Blogger.com or Typepad.com-all of them will allow you to start a free blog/website. Choose a blog name relevant to your business or use your business name/personal name.
Write a page/post about you and your business with your essential details in it-make sure to include your address, business name, opening hours (if relevant) and your contact details. If you use a post for this information make sure to make your post sticky-this means it will always be on your home page.
Once a week or fortnight do a new blog or post about the services you provide, tips for painting and decorating or any special deals or offers you might have on the go. Commit to this one post each week or fortnight and try to provide some useful information for painting/decorating like how to strip wallpaper or how to paint externally.
Go to Hubpages.com and Squidoo.com and make a free page/lens which will be about your business or painting and decorating. Make sure to get a backlink from each of these pages back to your blog.
Open a Google account which will in turn allow you to open a YouTube account. Make a video and upload it to YouTube. This video is easily made with any modern phone such as an android phone or iphone or indeed any phone with a video camera. Most good modern phones will allow you to upload your video directly to YouTube.
When you upload your video to YouTube put your business name or the phrase “painter Mullingar” in the title and in the description. Put a backlink in the description back to your new blog and ensure that you tag the video properly with keywords relating to your business. Make sure that your description also includes these keywords such as “painter Mullingar, Mullingar painter” and so on.
Under your YouTube video you will see that you can embed this video in your blog-grab the code and paste it into a new post in your blog.
Make a slideshow with Microsoft Powerpoint which comes preloaded in most home computers. Upload your slideshow to Slideshare.net and Authorstream.com and just like with YouTube put in some relevant keywords/phrases in your description and title.
Also put a backlink back to your blog. (The backlinks for these 2 sites and YouTube need to start with http:// and then the url of your blog. For example if your site is mullingarpainter.wordpress.com your backlink should be like this: http://mullingarpainter.wordpress.com)
Regularly add content to your blog. Before long when somebody is looking for a painter in Mullingar you will have a great chance of being found either through your blog, your YouTube video, one of your Powerpoint presentations or the other properties you have built on Squidoo.com and Hubpages.com.
None of the above will cost you a cent. You can buy your own domain name for WordPress.com or Blogger.com for less than €20 but it may not even be necessary if you continue to add tips and guidance about painting and decorating on your blog.
1. Digital marketing is the use of new media-such as the internet, video, mobile phones, laptops, iphones, android phones, iPads, rss feeds, social media sites, web 2.0 sites, blogs, podcasts, email etc.- to market your business.
2. The wide, and growing, range of these marketing options can be overwhelming and confusing for many small business owners.
3. The proliferation of “experts” in social media marketing, search engine optimisation, video marketing, mobile marketing, and so on has added to this confusion.
4. Any similarity between digital marketing and traditional advertising is purely unintentional and coincidental.
5. Digital marketing offers the small business owner a fantastic opportunity to engage in direct marketing at a fraction of the cost required in the recent past.
6. “Direct marketing” is a phrase coined by Lester Wundermann in a speech in MIT, in Boston in 1967. He later stated that he wished he had called it “personal advertising” which gives you an indication of the power of direct marketing which involves targeting your potential customer directly. Contrast this personal approach with an advertising campaign on the tv, radio, newspapers, magazines for dog food which will interrupt non dog owners as well as dog owners indiscriminately.
7. Digital marketing is truly great news for small business owners because with shrewd, guerrilla marketing type strategies and tactics and clever use of the best digital channels for their particular business they can get a disproportionate return on their efforts. Up to 15 years ago they had no chance of competing with the ad spend budgets of bigger and richer competitors.
8. It took Coke 50 years to build a global brand with traditional advertising on tv, radio, newspapers and magazines.
9. It took Google 2 years to become a global brand with no advertising spend. Yahoo needed 3 years and YouTube did it in 1.
10. Have you ever seen an advertisement for Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, Google, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube on tv, radio, newspapers or magazines?
11. Twitter launched in 2006 and has roughly 500 million active users.
12. Facebook is rumoured to have 25% of its servers dedicated to the phrase “lol”.
13. Pinterest launched in beta in 2010 and was listed in Time magazine’s list of “50 Best Websites in 2011″. In January 2012 it had 12 million users and worked out of a small apartment up to 2011.
14. Digital marketing changes everything from the perspective of marketing your business.
The easiest, most effective, and cost effective way to increase your website traffic is to publish content on your website-lots of it. You can describe what you do as writing blogs or publishing posts and/or pages. The purpose and effect is the same-more traffic.
And the more you publish, the more traffic you will get. This is not a sexy strategy. It does not involve Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, media buys, Adwords, social media marketing, marketing channels, demographics, metrics or any other buzz words.
It simply involves publishing information that I know my target market for this website will search for and appreciate.
Set out below you will find the phrases and words that searchers have typed into the search box in whatever web browser being used, generally Google, which has brougth these searchers to a solicitor’s website that I own and control.
Search phrases 1st July 2012 to 27th July 2012
auctioneers license ireland 2012
judgement in the us enforceable in ireland
section 68 letter sample
top marks .ie
cost for solicitor to represent you at dublin district court
can i study law if i have road traffic offences
does ireland recognize u.s. judgments
stepstone mortgage funding limited v fitzell
redundancy calculator ireland
serving custody papers from us to ireland
exceptions to redundancy payments in ireland 2012
free legal aid dublin
solicitors mortgage arrears
free solicitor in dublin
guardianship in ireland
conditions for free legal aid
unfair dismissal cases 2012
what will do with summons for debt ireland
ireland redundancy calculator
companies that serve court papers in dublin
example letter from solicitor for court summons
courts server at dublin ireland
declaration of parentage ireland
were in charge car after alkohol
courts server in dublin ireland
how to register a trademark in dublin
irish laws for damages and trade mark infringement by isps
can a civil summons be served at work in ireland
john brennan sean dunne d4 hotels domain
costs of solicitor to defend debt case
ireland redundancy legislation
cheap day solicitors dublin
propery service provider
dublin solicitors that deal with bank debt
anyone fill out standard financial statement bank of ireland?
rainford –v- newell-roberts
design a good redundancy package ireland
transfer of undertakings ireland cases
stepstone mortgage funding ltd v. fitzell
legal requirement redundancy ireland individual
partnership in business
hague convention appeals stay ireland
how can i check if i have any debts dublin
solicitors in dublin
drunk in charge
sheriff serving papers
letting agent licence requirements pre 2012 ireland
family law and fathers solicitors dublin
complain of employer in dublin
psp dublin property record
demand letter for payment
summons server dublin dhl
road traffic solicitors dublin
npsra june 18th update
letting licence dublin
copyright infringement solicitor dublin
solicitors to pursue debts
grievance procedures unfair to employee 2012 corkl
debt collections notices letters in ireland
precedent particulars of demand ireland
personal injury solicitors
sample personal demand letter debt collection
data protection solicitors dublin no win no fee
what to say when questioned by gardai
letting agent new licence law ireand
solicitors fees for debt collection
property service accountants report
code of conduct on mortgage arrears 2012
contract of engagement auctioneers
film solicitors dublin
why guardianship is not given in ireland
avoiding court after receiving a civil summons
drunk in charge of a car how long can a case go on in ireland
ireland poor performance dismissal ireland
auctioneers regulations ireland
free legal aid solicitors for foreigner in dublin
court register ireland guardianship
home owner options ireland arrears
enforcing a uk judgement in ireland
common law rights domain name
employment appeals tribunal solicitors dublin
circuit court personal injuries summons
birth certificate appropriate declaration in dublin
injuries board what do you
stepstone high court dublin marps
top solicitors in dublin criminal 2012
recognition eu judgment automatic ireland article 33
accountants report for auctioneers
return date debt ireland
property services regulatory who pays for the employees
status of children act 1987
affidavit of service dublin
mortgage protection payment if unfair dismissal
dealing with reduncancies in irelan d
franchise ireland law
free lawyers in dublin criminal
drunk charge dublin
federal express service ireland hague
dublin summons service
solicitors fees debt collection
phased redundancy ireland
how to defend a civil summons in the district court
auctioneers license ireland
effect of a judgment mortgage registered in 2012
copyright solicitor dublin
redundancy law ireland
brussels regulation notice of summons
how long does a bank dept summons last for in ireland from issue
grievance procedure ireland redundancy
marital solicitors dublin
charge out rates for solicitors dublin 2012
restrictive covenants independent contractor
criminal justice act right to not incriminate ones self
summary of unfair dismissal law in ireland 2012
joyce case irish supreme court criminal legal aid
precedent for ordinary civil bill for recovery of a debt
collective and non collective redundancies
what is non collective redundancy
business partnership in ireland
district court order section 2 of guardianship of infants act 1964 forms
summary of mortgage recovery process in ireland
start mortgage court decision
terminating a franchise agreement when the agreement has expired
auctioneer s license new procdure
what does gardianship mean ireland
district court summons company employer conviction
solicitors copyright infringement
non collective redundancy
examples enforcement of foreign non-eu judgments in ireland
children guardianship act 1964
summons server dublin
order given judgment not collected
enforcement of irish judgment in united states
code of conduct and mortgage arrears high court cases
franchise lawyers dublin
can you recommend a solicitor who deals with guardianship in dublin
traffic offence cases in naas district court
Each of these searchers is a potential new client. Clearly this is the purpose of this website and is the purpose of most small business websites.
The strategy at work here can be utilized in virtually all industries and businesses. And a critical point about all of these searchers above is that they are actively looking or searching for something-generally a solution to a problem they have. (You may also be interested in lead generation for solicitors)
Contrast this with spending large amounts of money on advertising which “targets” people indiscriminately-those who may need a solicitor and those who have no interest or need for what you have to offer- in a scattergun approach.
“Selling” is not a dirty word. In Ireland we don’t like the “hard sell” and are understandably put off by it unlike in other parts of the world, most notably in the United States. However I was recently forced to consider the attitude of some Irish people to the notion of selling generally.
However I was recently given a back handed compliment in relation to something I had written. The commenter stated that what I had written was an excellent piece and agreed generally with what I had to say but that my piece descended into an ill disguised sales pitch or something similar. As if a sales pitch or selling was somehow to be frowned upon.
I sell stuff. I sell myself. I have no apology to make in this regard.
Come to think of it we all sell at one time or another.
The solicitor or barrister seeks to persuade the Judge or jury that his client’s version of events is more credible than the other sides. We as children sought to persuade our parents that going to a disco or club was a good idea. (Our children do it to us now.)
Fundraisers solicit donations on behalf of their charities and seek to persuade us that making a donation is a better use of our money than the many alternatives. Employees seek to persuade their employer that they are worthy of a pay rise or promotion. Organised religions seek to persuade that their interpretation of the bible, Qoran or tradition is worthy of support and more credible than not believing. Politicians sell us their persona and policies (until they are discarded post election).
Selling is persuasion, attempting to move or persuade somebody that our point of view or product or service is worthy of their consideration or time or money.
Marketing is “ill disguised” selling. You can find many definitions of what marketing is but ultimately it comes down to selling or persuasion-be it our brand, our company, our products, our services, our image.
If your marketing is not selling (in a narrow or broad sense) you are wasting your time and resources.
What do you think? (you can let rip in the box below)
When I was a little boy I used to cycle from Kilbeggan in Westmeath to Tullamore in Offaly, a 14 mile round trip, to go to the “pictures”.
I was 10 or 11 and I felt like Buzz Aldrin launching for the moon. That’s Aldrin, not Lightyear.
It was always a Sunday matinee and invariably involved cowboys like John Wayne sorting out the baddies (Lee Van Cleef featured in this role regularly).
If the movie was in colour it was a real bonus and I only discovered this important fact when the curtains were pulled and the credits started to roll.
Nowadays my kids can download movies from the web (don’t ask) before they even reach the multiplex.
The pace of change wrought by the growth of the internet has been truly incredible. It is inevitable that this growth and change will continue at an unknown pace.
What is known though is that if you are a small business owner and you are not tapping into this power you are in real danger of missing out and getting left behind in growing your business.
Many significant things haven’t changed, things like the fundamentals of persuading strangers to do business with you.
But the venues and methods by which you as a business owner can persuade more strangers has changed dramatically.
Some of these methods are free, some are cheap, some are cost effective and some are a complete waste of time and effort.
In the same way that movies nowadays-despite the special effects and three d/wide screen/etc. options-return to recurring themes of redemption, love lost and regained and so forth so should your small business marketing return to recurring themes of trust, usefulness and problem solving for your target market.
Here are 26 costly blunders I have encountered recently when advising small business owners about marketing their business on the internet.
1. Paying seo “specialists” to rank your site for phrases that don’t appear on your site. The good Lord can’t make this happen.
2. Failing to use video.
3. Using video, uploading to YouTube and not inserting links back to your site from the description box.
4. Poor/amateurish LinkedIn profile.
5. No LinkedIn account or profile.
6. White text on a black background-check out Google.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com, Apple.com, Youtube.com, Pinterest.com-all have one thing in common.
7. “Doing a blog” and thinking it is a good use of your time; publish great content that your visitors will appreciate because it helps solve their problem.
8. Failing to find out what your target market is looking for (see 7 above)
9. Failing to give it to them.
10. Advertising on Facebook for “likes” (send the money to a worthy cause instead-maybe the homeless in Dublin).
11. Countless traffic leaks away from your site-Facebook/Twitter don’t need your traffic. You need theirs.
12. Not using email to connect with your audience/potential market.
13. Poor permalink structure-using http://webdesigndublin.org/?p=123 rather than http://webdesigndublin.org/small-business-websites
14. No internal linking on your website.
15. Boring, uninformative About Us page.
16. No photo (see 15 above).
17. Asking people to become subscribers to your site but not giving them a reason to opt in.
18. Simply asking people to “read my latest blog” on social medial sites like LinkedIn-give them a reason-“what’s in it for me?”
19. Not enough or poor content on your website.
20. Broken links.
21. Crap, boring titles giving no encouragement to actually read what you have written.
22. Website posts not categorized-smacks of either a) careless or b) amateur or c) both.
23. Failing to use images.
24. Using images but no alt tags.
25. Thinking the search engine results pages are organised alphabetically.
26. Thinking you can pay to get on the first page.