Dave Allen is author of ‘Learning to Fail: 5 rules for using social media in higher education‘. As part of his role as a university’s digital marketing manager, Dave runs training sessions, and led a tutorial on blogging for my MA.
I caught up with him over Twitter and ask some questions to help research my #MAent enterprise idea…
Let it be noted I’m following Rob Fitzpatrick’s recommendation and using the MOM test, i.e Dave doesn’t know what my enterprise idea is.
What do you think are the issues for small businesses when trying to market themselves online?
It’s hard to say, as I don’t run a small business, and it varies massively depending on the sector. However, any organisation that ultimately needs to promote itself, or its services needs a marketing strategy that reaches, encourages and allows its potential customers to purchase its products/services in the places they’re likely to be at their most receptive. Naturally, the web, PPC, PR, social, email and SEO then form a massive part of this marketing strategy. The challenge for many small businesses, however, is where exactly to start with all this, how to be found easily – be it their website or social accounts amidst all the noise, and then how to structure their site to best engage with visitors and convert them into paying customers.
RB: “The challenge is where exactly to start with all this. How to be found. How to stand out amidst the noise. How engage with visitors.” My online training idea can definitely help with these.
What advice would you give them to help with these issues?
Practically for those starting out; start small, keep it simple and build out. By which I mean, for the website, sign up to a reliable web hosting and domain name service that offers 1-click WordPress install. Install a paid theme, then create a minimal site with static about, contact and product/services pages. Then use a blog feed to generate interesting, useful or funny content that people want to click on from social feeds, email newsletters, Google searches, etc. to drag them to your site. This approach takes time, but is worth it. Also, be very literal and descriptive in your page titles and headlines. Google search makes up 60-80% of web traffic for most UK sites, so think about what people might be searching for.
RB: “Creating a basic website, blogging, content that people want to read, SEO.” Again, my online training idea can help with all of these.