Eric Spellmann uses his ground-zero, non-technical approach to walk you through the process of “taking your business online.” Learn the key questions you should ask any web designer BEFORE you spend one dime with them. Having a great website is key to an effective online marketing strategy. His no-nonsense yet entertaining delivery will keep you glued to the screen!
Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice! 🙂
Hey I am Eric Spellmann and I’m here to show you how to get online. You know a lot of small businesses and people who want to start businesses want to be online. They feel that’s a secret to their success. Well let me tell you, online can be a great way to succeed in businesses.
However, you’ve got to approach it carefully. Now what I’m going to be doing is going over, and not too long of a video here, going over the basics of what you need in place before you ever spend a dollar with anybody. And I’m going to be making more videos to show you more in depth. And all of this is free of course. So, listen up. This is ground zero, non-technical, non-computer speak. Just pay attention and it will make a lot of sense. So, here we go.
Whenever we start talking about going online, we’ve got to answer bunch of questions. Now remember this is ground zero. First, what does online mean to me? I’m going to answer that. I’m going to talk about what that means. So, we’re not just talking in broad, philosophical ways. What should my website do? Believe it or not, the website is the hub, it’s the basics of everything online. And we’ll talk about what it should be doing so that you have good expectations.
How do I tie in Social Media? Social Media is critical. TV, Pinterest, Twitter all of those, it is critical that they all tie in and work directly to feed your website. How do you pick a vendor? Really a lot of you don’t start thinking about online until someone calls you and says hey you need a website.
Before you spend one dollar, this may be the most important part of this whole video, before you spend one dollar! Be sure and listen to this part of the video. How do you measure success? When it’s all said and done, the website is launched, how do you know that it was worth it? How do you know that the money you spent was worth, everything you put into it?
So, I’m going to show you how to measure that. Keep in mind this video is the first video. This is a broad overview. I am going to be going in depth on future videos on each one of these topics in great detail. Now once again, it’s not going to be technical. This isn’t for computer geeks. If you are a business owner, if you want to start a business and you know nothing about computers, this video is for you. So, keep watching.
What does online marketing mean to me? You’ll be surprised how many people come up to me and say “Spellmann I want to put my business online. Spellmann I want to use TV, I want to use Social Media to drive more people to….” A lot of people have no idea what that actually means. So, keep in mind that everything starts like a wagon wheel. The hub of that wagon wheel is your website. The website is a place on the Internet that people can get to 24/7! And they can get there and find out everything they can about your company.
But that’s not all they should be doing. There’s a lot more. But keep in your mind, there’s one place that is always available. You know, a pamphlet, someone has to go pick it up. TV commercial, they have to see it. A billboard, they have to drive by. But a website is something that’s always there, constantly, pushing who you are and selling what you have. So, the website is the hub. Keep that in mind.
TV. I could have mentioned Social Media here, but for all general purposes TV is the big elephant on the block here, so TV is what we’re talking about. And trust me, TV can be a HUGE way of driving business to you. Keep in mind one of its purposes though. If the website is a hub, TV is where you engage, interact with your customers. A lot of people think well maybe I can just have a website on TV. Well it’s not really how it works, you can have pages on TV and we’ll talk about that in future videos. But really, TV is where you can interact, and engage and help brand your company. And I’ll be showing you some sure fire techniques on how to do that.
Email. Folks, I’m here to tell you email newsletter marketing is one of the best ways to advertise on the Internet. And you’re saying “Well Eric I don’t want to be a spammer. I don’t want to be one of those people who just emails and emails and people get mad at me.” No! If you do it correctly, if you follow the rules and you put certain things in those emails, it will benefit you.
How do I know? I’ve been doing it 15 years. And I’ve discovered that my email system, generates more business for me than TV and all the other forms of advertising I have. So, trust me on this. Email is right, if done correctly! And I’ll be covering that.
What should your website do? Remember I said it was the hub right, so what should it do? Too many people think that a website is a glorified pamphlet, an online billboard. I’m here to tell you it should be more than that. In fact, good website design should have at least one of these goals I’m about to show you. There’s four. First, Leads.
The majority of you are going to want your website to generate a lead. Second, Sales. Now what’s the difference between that? Well, a lead is basically someone wanting to do business with you and the website puts them in your face. It’s up to you to make the sale. The website doesn’t make the sale in that case. But the website will generate the lead and not just any lead, it’s gotta be a qualified lead. We’re not just talking about dragging people off the street, and putting you in front of random people. No.
A good website powered by a strategic online marketing campaign will generate qualified leads. In other words, people who are actually searching for what you want to sell em. Now a sale, when I talk about a website generating a sale, what I mean is that you have a shopping cart. And people can actually put a product in a shopping cart, they can pay for it and then you simply ship it to them.
Okay, a lead is where we capture their information. And then you call them back. So, when it’s all said and done understand what you really want them to do. Let me give you a good example. A Realtor wants his website to generate a lead. The goal of a Realtor’s website is not to generate a sale. I mean think about it, you can’t put a house in a shopping cart!
So, what a Realtor wants is he wants someone to contact him and say “Hey! I was on your site. And tell me more about what you do. Or hey I saw this house listed on your site. Can I get a tour?” The website in that case generates a lead. So, decide whether if you’re in a property business, decide whether you want the website to generate a sale or a lead?
If you’re a non-profit, then really what you’re wanting is to cut costs. Because you know, nonprofits aren’t trying to necessarily generate sales and they’re usually not trying to generate leads. Although, a lot of nonprofits want to use a website to generate donors, and to generate volunteers, and so technically those are leads but the majority of non-profit websites, they want to use a website to cut their costs, to cut their human resource, to make communication cheaper and easier. So, in those cases we talk about a website generating support.
Finally, and this is the one area that probably goes across all of them, it’s Branding. Whether your website is going to generate leads, sales or support, we need to make sure that your company is branded. Now you know what branding means, right? It means that people remember who you are. People remember say, Spellmann & Associates or Eric Spellmann, that’s branding.
We want people to think Amarillo web design, Spellmann. We want people to think Realtor and whatever your name is, or insurance and whatever your name is. You following me? We want to connect that, we want to brand it. Now a lot of time that’s done with a logo but there’s so much more to it and I’ll be covering more about how important branding is on a website.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of web designers out there who think the sole purpose of a website is branding. Once again, that kind of gets back to that “billboard, pamphlet thing”. And if that’s all a website does, you’re not getting your money’s worth. Proper online marketing requires much more!
How do you tie in Social Media? Well, keep in mind what Social Media is and I said this before it’s all about interaction, it’s all about engaging someone, it’s all about communicating with someone, it’s all about answering questions, it’s all about talking and giving your expertise and actually helping people. It’s not about just blatantly advertising in people’s face.
Okay, so I don’t want you to go on TV and say “I’m selling this, buy it now.” No no no no no! People will call you a spammer, people will “unlike” you, yeah in the real sense too. They don’t like that. But there is a way to correctly use Social Media that will generate business. And I’ll be covering that feature in future videos.
Who are the main players? Well as of today it’s basically TV, Twitter and Pinterest, those are the main ones. And TV takes the lion’s share. And so a lot of the videos I’m going to make are going to be how to use TV to benefit your business directly. What is the main purpose? As I mentioned before, to engage, to engage, to engage. You want to make sure that people are talking to you and talking about you in Social Media.
Remember that, talking to you and talking about you. You want it being done in a good way. You don’t want people saying it in the bad way, which brings up online reputation. Don’t go out there and buy those online reputation systems. I’m going to be giving you some videos and show you for free how you can manage your online reputation so hang tight.
How do you pick a vendor? Folks before you spend one dollar with anybody because I know you’re getting called saying I can have you at number one in Google. You need a website and I can build it for this amount. No! You got to know some of these things so listen up. Some of you have been waiting for this whole section so here it goes.
Number one, realize that there’s basically three types of web designers out there. There’s graphic designers, there’s coders and there’s marketers. Okay so what are they, what’s the difference between them? A Graphic designer is typically someone who used to build billboards or pamphlets. They know Photoshop and they know Illustrator, those are programs. And so basically they say you know what I can make pretty pictures, so I can therefore make pretty websites.
Their goal is to make a pretty website and that’s what they will tell you. That’s what they will say “We will make you a very professional, beautiful, national quality website.” Well that’s all good and fine and I also agree that’s important, however that is not the GOAL of a website.
I guarantee you, if a graphic designer who doesn’t have any marketing sense builds you a website, it will do nothing. Maybe a tiny bit of branding, if someone happens to find you, but you won’t get any sales and you won’t get any leads. So, try to stay away from those graphic designers mainly because they are missing a very important piece.
Coders on the other hand, those are the computer geeks. I kind of put myself in that category, little bit. Coders want to make it functional, coders understand the code. In fact a lot of coders don’t use programs that build webpages, they work at the code level. They want to be very functional and clickable. And sometimes they use things called Flash and make it all do explosions and things like that.
Coders are coders, and a lot of them don’t understand marketing. Some do, but a lot of them don’t. And so, if you just hire a computer geek, the guy who fixes your computer or something to make your website, you could be running into trouble.
So, the people I do want you talking to are marketers. People who actually understand that this website is not being built for you. This website shouldn’t appeal to you; it should appeal to your customers. And not only appeal to them, it should cause them to take some sort of action.
If whoever you talk to about a website, does not ask you the question “What do your customers want?” Leave immediately! If their first question is “What do you want in your website. What do you want your website to say?” Nahhh. This is isn’t about what you think about your business. This is about what your customers think about your business.
So, make sure that you talk to someone with a marketing background before you ever spend money, and ask them what is their marketing background, and what is their theory on web design, and what should the goal of a website be?
In fact, that’s probably one of the best questions to ask them is what is the goal of a website? And see what they say. And if it’s not generating leads, sale, support. If all they say is branding, if all they say is to have a presence, the goal is to have a presence, FLEE!
Who owns the work? This is a big one. What most people don’t realize is that in most states around this country anyone who builds a website for you, they own the rights to it. Even if you pay them for it, they own it still! And so let’s say you have someone build you a website, and you become dissatisfied with them, and you want to move your website to somewhere else.
Well, guess what? The person who built your website, he may not let it go! He has the rights to it. So, one of the things I want you to do next time you talk to a web designer or someone trying to sell you a website is you say “I want in writing that this entire website, all the files, all the codes, all the graphics, all the pictures, and all the raw Photoshop files, the raw Illustrator files you used in creating this website, I want in writing that those belong to me. And then if I ever become dissatisfied with you Mr. Vendor, you will put them all on a disk and give them to me, and I can take them somewhere and put that site up.”
The sad fact is, a lot of web designers are going to say No! And that should be a red flag for you. After all, the website is yours and it shouldn’t be tied to some geek, some guy. Make sure you own it.
Who can update the site? Ask that question. Say “Mr. Vendor can I update the site or do you have to update it? If I have a change for the website do you have to do it, or can I do it?” These days it’s becoming easier and easier for regular, non-technical people to be able to update their own website. So, I would almost recommend that you request that.
Unfortunately, a lot of designers design in an old code styled way where only unless you have FrontPage or Dreamweaver can you update the site. So, make sure that when you ask for updating that site, it’s just something you can log in to without you buying any specific software. It’s something for you to log in to on the Internet for free and update your own site without even calling someone in, especially for you small businesses, where you don’t want to be nickeled and dimed for every single change out there.
Make sure that they are legally secure. Make sure the vendor is legally secure. Now theres two things on that. Number one; make sure that all the pictures and graphics they’re using are legal. Believe it or not, there are some cheap graphic designers, coders whoever, they will go out there and you say you want a picture of this. They will go out there on the Internet, search for it on Google and copy it from some other website and put it on yours. The problem with that is, you don’t own that picture.
And believe it or not, a lot of these large places that own all these photos, they have automated programs that will search the Internet and go look at your site, and if they see a picture on there that you haven’t paid for, that you don’t own. Guess what. You get a lawyer letter. You get a letter saying “Hey you are breaking the law, we are suing you. Or you are breaking the law. Pay us thousands of dollars.” You did not want that.
Now you’re probably going to write back to those people and go “Hey it was my web designer. It wasn’t me.” Guess what. It doesn’t matter. It is you! They will go after you, not the web designer. So, make sure, in writing, make sure that all the graphics, all the pictures used are legally yours. If they’re going to be using stock photography make sure they have an account with like Istock Photo or one of those. They actually have the licenses to those. Okay.
Second, you want to make sure that they have what we call an “Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy.” I can’t tell you how many times some random web developer will be typing something on a customer’s website and make a mistake, could be a small mistake. But the problem is, all of a sudden you, the business owner, because of that mistake on your website you get sued.
For instance, what if the web designer which is putting in “test text” and maybe it said something defamatory about someone, just in gesture as a joke. And what if that slips by, and accidentally makes it live on your website. And then those people see it as defamation because of being public, they sue you. You’ve got to have it to where the mistake of a web designer does not legally liable you. Make sure that web designer has an Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy, to protect you.
Ask him what kind of pricing there is. Some web designers charge an upfront price, some charge a monthly price, an ongoing price. Some charge both, in fact most charge both. So, if someone charges you that upfront price, make sure that they are listing exactly what you are getting for that.
Make sure you know exactly how many pages that includes, what’s on the pages, what kind of photos, make sure you exactly understand what that price includes. Second on the monthly price, typically that includes website hosting. In other words basically your website has to exist on a place somewhere, so you’re renting a home or renting a plot of land for your website to be on, you’re going to pay that web host a certain amount every single month.
But in addition they may be throwing something else in there as part of monthly. May be you’re going to meet with them on a monthly basis, maybe they’re going to send you statistics on your website, which I hope so. We’ll talk about that. Maybe they’re going to consult with you, maybe that includes some updates. Find out for sure what is all included in that.
One of the big things to find out is, if you do sign up for some sort of monthly package, are you tied in for a year? Or is it month-to-month? That’s a big one. Always ask “Can I cancel, given a month’s notice? Or do I have to go, am I committed for a whole year?” A lot of international companies, they may offer you a cheap price per month, but lock you in for a year.
How do you measure your success? One of the big things is to understand your statistics. Statistics, statistics. Now I know your eyes may be glazing over. But trust me on this. It’s not just about hits, it’s not just about file transfer, it’s not just about any of that.
It’s about understanding the statistics. Because, keep in mind. Remember this. You need to have this embroidered on your wall. “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” And measuring the results of your website is key to success, is key to understanding return on investment. So, you make sure that whatever vendor you’re going to use, they are able to explain and report to you the statistics you need to know whether this website is even working right or not.
Think about it for a second. If you’re generating leads with your website, you want to know if it’s actually generating leads. If it’s supposed to generate sales, how do you measure that? We’ll be covering a lot of the statistics and what you should know and why bounce rate is more important than hits, and why hits are completely irrelevant! We’ll even be talking in future videos about why traffic isn’t your goal on the Internet. Having tons of people come to you isn’t the goal. And we’ll talk about what is!
You need to be able to say “Because I had this website, as soon as it was built I had “this many more leads” or “this many more sales” or “we were able to cut our budget because the website is saving us money.” So, you’ve got to have those numbers to calculate ROI.
And so many web designers, who work out of their home, or graphic designers or coders, they don’t understand the whole ROI principle, Return on Investment. How long it takes to pay off what you spent on all of this. And so they’re not even prepared to answer that.
And, so if you say “How am I going to calculate website ROI?” And they give you a puzzled look. RUN! FLEE! Because they are not marketers, they don’t understand the business side of a website. Because after all, that’s what I am here to tell you about, the business side of a website, the business reason to have a website.
Which brings me up to the last piece. I told you this is going to be a short video. I’m not going to overwhelm you, I’m not going to be preaching you for an hour each time. This was kind of an overview. And I’m going to be breaking it down and sending you future videos on each one of these: How to generate those leads? How to pick a web address? We’re going to be going over all that.
So, I know this was an overview. In the meantime visit my website EricSpellmann.com. Give me a call, email me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions. Because remember, if you don’t understand it, you shouldn’t buy it. And understanding is the key. So, keep watching, and until then I’ll see you in cyberspace.