Consumer Guide to Web Marketing

Posted on by Mark Fernandez

How to avoid the pitfalls of web marketing and get
effective, results based website marketing solutions
crafted properly for the best possible price.

Purpose and Intention of this Guide

I have been in the web industry since 1999 in various roles including a Web Awards Judge, Web design and Marketing Lecturer, Web Marketing Company Owner and Web Developer and consultant. In that time many clients and prospects come to me after being ‘ripped off’ by other web marketing companies. The complaints about the industry are as numerous as they are common and it was not always on price.

Complaints include: high pressure sales tactics, confusing or vague project details, poor or incomplete workmanship, excessive overcharging, hard to get a hold of developers, charging in 30 minute increments for website updates, retaining copyright of your design and web work, over promising and under delivering. Some clients bought from overseas developers that had given a low quote but ended up charging more than they would if they got the solution built onshore. Other owners had 12+ month long development times, low quality of work, locked into contracts where they did not own their own branding or contractually obliged to keep using high priced services and of course over charged. Some people don’t even know they have been ripped off until they come into contact with a reputable web developer.

Unfortunately the web industry is unregulated, very young and evolving rapidly -it is a bit like the Wild West. Fortunately with the right information and a little research all this can be avoided. Dodgy operators can be easy to spot provided that you head this advice and don’t let temptations of a low price keep you from seeing the warning signs.

Few business owners would argue that a web presence is an absolute ‘must have’ in this digital age. In a recent survey by MYOB of small to medium business owners they found 62% still did not have any web presence. In a presentation I delivered to a group of 200 business owners I found the that 75% of the businesses that had some kind of website were dissatisfied with the company that delivered it and of those 83% did not get the results they expected. Many people I speak with would not refer the web developer they chose to friends or family.

In my experience business owners ask the same basic questions and base their decision on the answers to the following questions:

  1.  “How much will it cost?”
  2.  “How long will it take”?
  3.  “When can the work get started?”

 There are always a few exceptions but for the most part these are the three most popular questions. It has always amazed me that there are so few questions asked about the business experience of the web marketers, the processes he or she uses to complete the project, questions about the employees, subcontractors, standards used, proper scope of work, the difference between price and value.

I believe the reason for this lack of questioning is due to one or more of the following reasons:

.                      Buyers don’t know what they should ask.

.                      They don’t know how to ask or are too afraid to ask.

.                      They take too much for granted, dangerously assuming that most companies follow ‘standard’ business practices and that web development companies don’t really vary much from one contractor to the next. “My cousin built a website how hard can it be?”

The purpose of this guide is to help you become intimately aware of the ‘ins and outs’ of how the web marketing business works. Not only will you know exactly what questions to ask but you will also be much more at ease and less apprehensive about asking them because you’ll

understand that any reputable company will appreciate your intelligent questions and will likely be far more interested in working with you as a result.

Furthermore, by exposing you to all of the ingredients of effective web marketing and showing you what you will need to look out for, you’ll be in a much better position to make an educated decision when it comes time to hire an effective web development company for your next project. This guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and tools that will enable you to see, quite obviously, the right company for your particular project.

This is not a ‘how to’ guide on managing a web marketing project. While it may be hard to believe, there are contractors who require very little, if any, ‘managing’ on your part. In fact great operators will guide you through the process, manage expectations and make sure all the elements are in place at the right time.

It is not about getting a website marketing solution for the cheapest possible price. It would be far better getting the best possible solution for your marketing budget. You owe it to yourself to make sure you understand the pitfalls to avoid when searching for a provider to deliver you results.

Engaging a web design and marketing company is not just about getting a bright and shiny new website and ticking the box, it is about making sure your website is built properly, delivers a great return on investment, is easy to grow and promote and delivers 24 / 7 / 365.

What makes a project successful?

I am sure there are variations on this definition, but for the sake of this guide let’s assume that we want to use marketing to grow our business so every dollar spent should return $1+. To achieve this, a successful project is where:

  1. An interview is carried out to determine the true goals and your expectations of the project.
  2. Your expectations are in line with your marketing budget.
  3. The objectives and goals are clearly documented; they are measurable and have a time frame attached.
  4. You are left feeling pleased and satisfied with the results and would feel great about
    referring your web marketing company to you best friends or family
  5. There are systems in place to ensure quality; therefore the quality of work is completed to a high standard and in alignment with the project goals.
  6. You and your web designer respect each other and are looking forward to working together on an ongoing basis.
  7. You feel you paid a fair price based on the results you achieved
  8. The delivered solution is an asset to your business and will be instrumental in its growth and possible sale.

 

Having all your needs and criteria met will obviously contribute to your satisfaction. It is not only great for you; it is excellent for the web development company. You can both look forward to a long relationship and you are more likely to refer your friends.

Moving forward, the rest of this guide will be written with the above definition in mind.

Before we consider the important things you need to know about getting a great solution I would like to dispel some costly myths and misconceptions.

.                      Buyers don’t know what they should ask.

.                      They don’t know how to ask or are too afraid to ask.

.                      They take too much for granted, dangerously assuming that most companies follow ‘standard’ business practices and that web development companies don’t really vary much from one contractor to the next. “My cousin built a website how hard can it be?”

 

The purpose of this guide is to help you become intimately aware of the ‘ins and outs’ of how the web marketing business works. Not only will you know exactly what questions to ask but you will also be much more at ease and less apprehensive about asking them because you’ll

understand that any reputable company will appreciate your intelligent questions and will likely be far more interested in working with you as a result.

Furthermore, by exposing you to all of the ingredients of effective web marketing and showing you what you will need to look out for, you’ll be in a much better position to make an educated decision when it comes time to hire an effective web development company for your next project. This guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and tools that will enable you to see, quite obviously, the right company for your particular project.

This is not a ‘how to’ guide on managing a web marketing project. While it may be hard to believe, there are contractors who require very little, if any, ‘managing’ on your part. In fact great operators will guide you through the process, manage expectations and make sure all the elements are in place at the right time.

It is not about getting a website marketing solution for the cheapest possible price. It would be far better getting the best possible solution for your marketing budget. You owe it to yourself to make sure you understand the pitfalls to avoid when searching for a provider to deliver you results.

Engaging a web design and marketing company is not just about getting a bright and shiny new website and ticking the box, it is about making sure your website is built properly, delivers a great return on investment, is easy to grow and promote and delivers 24 / 7 / 365.

What makes a project successful?

I am sure there are variations on this definition, but for the sake of this guide let’s assume that we want to use marketing to grow our business so every dollar spent should return $1+. To achieve this, a successful project is where:

  1. An interview is carried out to determine the true goals and your expectations of the project.
  2. Your expectations are in line with your marketing budget.
  3. The objectives and goals are clearly documented; they are measurable and have a time frame attached.
  4. You are left feeling pleased and satisfied with the results and would feel great about
    referring your web marketing company to you best friends or family
  5. There are systems in place to ensure quality; therefore the quality of work is completed to a high standard and in alignment with the project goals.
  6. You and your web designer respect each other and are looking forward to working together on an ongoing basis.
  7. You feel you paid a fair price based on the results you achieved
  8. The delivered solution is an asset to your business and will be instrumental in its growth and possible sale.

Having all your needs and criteria met will obviously contribute to your satisfaction. It is not only great for you; it is excellent for the web development company. You can both look forward to a long relationship and you are more likely to refer your friends.

Moving forward, the rest of this guide will be written with the above definition in mind.

Before we consider the important things you need to know about getting a great solution I would like to dispel some costly myths and misconceptions.

8 Most Common Costly Misconceptions about Web Marketing

Myth #1 – All Websites are Built the Same and it’s Just the Look and Price That Varies.

This could not be further from the truth. For a start, there are almost unlimited variations in building a website. There are different website management platforms, marketing techniques, visual design variations, hundreds of ways you can go wrong with a website without changing the way it looks. Some techniques will get you kicked out of Google while others will make Google love you and your website.

More importantly the website is right at the end of a successful web marketing campaign and could play only a small part of the whole process. Even though most people think you just need a web designer there are important roles that need to be filled and that can rarely be done successfully by one person. For example, someone has to do a thorough investigation of your goals and objectives. They need to interpret the information you provide into a requirements document that takes into account your target markets. This document must then be discussed with a person with web architectural and usability knowledge then they get a web designer involved who will create the look and feel. The design is handed to a web developer to code and create web pages. It is good practice to get your content written by a copy writer for best results and then a web marketing person needs to get involved to set up search engine optimisation and generate a traffic strategy through paid, organic or social media traffic.

Overriding this is a comprehensive understanding of the following: Who is your target market? What types of offers will appeal to your prospective clients? How and who is going to communicate with them? What is your content strategy moving forward and how will all this be measured, tweaked and managed? The price and results will vary by how many of these tasks are completed and how well they are executed.

Ultimately your website should include specific elements that educate and generate leads for your business.

Myth #2 You Should Always Get Multiple Quotes

This idea is probably responsible for more disgruntled business owners than any other factor.

Why?

If you are trying to get a quality solution for a fair price then just comparing quotes can be misleading. Companies rarely follow the same format when doing proposals

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