An opinion piece by one of our Directors.
It’s becoming all too real, the focus on trying to figure out how to keep our businesses going, let alone thriving, in a time of uncertainty balanced on when we will see inflation end in this cost-of-living crisis.
I’ve been in business for a while now (a few decades), from a Royal Warrant holder within high-end retail in Windsor to the commercial management sector in Oxford and now as a Director at a marketing agency based in Bournemouth.
With the exposure that my career to date has given me, I’ve certainly seen more than a few down-turns in my time; from the 1980s housing crash with negative equity, mortgages rising to unspeakable amounts all the way to the more recent pandemic that gave us the heady days of Covid-19. When we thought that the tide may turn and we can begin the upward push, the gauntlet has now thrown a crisis that sees many making decisions between heating or eating this winter.
Only this week I spoke with a potential client who has a requirement for a new website as their current site is archaic with broken links, which in turn is impacting his customer engagement levels. He has now taken the decision to postpone the much-needed investment in marketing as he is unsure on the future of his business and whether it will even survive. What a decision to make, invest to survive and potentially thrive or wait and see if you survive at all.
Is the decision to ‘hunker down and weather the storm’ really the best way forward? You have trained and worked to get to where you wanted to be, perhaps even at a cost of friends and family that have supported you in your journey, so, is this a good time to push forward?
I think yes.
As a business, looking at costs is good and can help, albeit only a little, however doing nothing is in fact going backwards. Your competitors will decide that their only route to success in this period of uncertainty will be to forge ahead and fill the gap you’re leaving in the marketplace, this applies to your website and marketing presence – as this is your shop window to the world, as you know.
Websites with broken links maps not loading, perhaps with no SSL certificate, email and calls not connecting or dare I say not even mobile friendly. You cannot wonder why you are not getting a return of investment (ROI) on your ‘brand’, you have to address these fatal flaws now or you will have to move aside as they come through and leave you in their wake.
You need to be looking at a new website using a platform that can grow as you grow and invest in some of the following to support that growth;
- Google Keyword research
- Solid SEO foundations,
- Name images
- Apps – where your clients/customers can easily book a meeting
- Google my Business, Trustpilot, TripAdvisor and or Checkatrade links
- Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc links
- Appointment booking
- Medical notes (GDPR)
- Delivery slots
- Order tracking
- Online reviews directly feeding to the website
- Trade association links
- Logos of clients you have done work with
- Payment services, GoCardless, Stripe etc
- Accounts /invoices
- Client portal for invoice and raising tickets
- Newsletter sign-ups
- Services you do
- Areas you cover (don’t just dump loads of towns and village names – Google will not like this and down rank the site)
- Credit card logos (trust factor)
- Online payment service
- Medical insurance company logos (health related businesses)
Above is just a few of the things that can be added to your website and most of these will help with SEO at the same time, allowing your business to run smoothly, operate seamlessly and most importantly allow you to get that critical ROI you need and deserve.
By not taking advantage of your competitors’ lethargy, you are missing the opportunity in front of you to gain traction in your marketplace and be seen as an authoritative leader in your field.
I have seen websites that have not been updated in years and therefore Google has decided that the site is not worthy of sending their search algorithm bot to take a look – this really happens! You could opt to use a cheaper DIY builder like Wix, Weebly or even Yell, although in choosing these options you forfeit the ability to liaise with local developers, own your site or have continuous verbal communication.
Yell advertising- no-one has ever said Yell Me, so spend the monthly advertising on SEO or Google advertising and make a diffidence to your bottom line. You’re a professional, you know what you are doing and therefore a web designer that works full-time at their job or agency knows what they are doing and how to support your business goals. Cost saving on a cheap site option will not reap the benefits of the increased revenue that you seek. Spend your hard-earned money on a site that’s working effectively, will generate you more business interest and therefore leave you to concentrate on your business’s growth – that’s ROI.
As a final thought, a lesson I learnt at an early age – my great-grandfather owned a funeral directors in the City of London at a time when cars were just being invented, he said that cars were just a fad and they wouldn’t last so he would stay with his horse-drawn carriages – after 60 years in business, he had to close as he refused to move with the times.
When there’s a downturn be brave and advertise as much as you can, as only the strong will survive, and what’s the alternative? Retire or go on Universal Credits? That’s not why you became an entrepreneur!
Let’s be strong and brave together!!