Seven Rules to Make Your Local Business Website Convert Better

 
One of the biggest mistakes local independent businesses make when they get their website online is they think having a website is all they need to grow their business using the internet.
 
Unfortunately it is usually a little more difficult than that.
 
You see it’s no good having hundreds of visitors every single month to your site if none of them turn into customers.
 
Below are seven ‘conversion’ rules you can check out and see if your site adheres to them. If not you might want to consider making sure your site makes use of as many of the tips below as possible.

 
Conversion Rule One – Layout

Is your web site easy to read and follow? Or when someone lands on it do they have to click around a few times before they find your price list or opening times? You want to make your site as easy to navigate as possible.
 
Do they have clear ways to be contacted above the fold. ‘Above the fold’ means when someone lands on your web site do they have to scroll down to find your contact information, prices or contact details. If they do have to scroll down you might want to put the important information like prices etc above the fold (ie towards the top of the web site)
 
Is the content mashed into one big chunk or broken up well into short paragraphs and therefore easy to read? If people land on a web site and it is blocked together in large chunks of text they are more likely to leave the web site as it looks like more ‘work’ to read through it than if it was short paragraphs.
 
Are there graphics that represent what the company does? For example a leaking tap for a plumber, scissors for a hairdresser etc. Graphics like these help conversion. Be careful on the images though. You only need one or two. Too many can make the site load slowly.

 
Conversion Rule Two – Headline

Do you have a powerful headline that speaks directly to what the customers problem is and how they can solve it?
 
The headline needs to capture the visitors attention. You will do that by speaking to the visitors problem directly. You need to get inside the head of someone using the internet to find your service. What would they want to see for them to decide your business is the one they should deal with?
 
Bad headline: Plumbers Based In Halifax. Established 1998.

Good headline: 24 Hour Plumber Based In Halifax. No Fix No Fee.
Guaranteed To Arrive Within The Hour.
 
The second headline is great because it outlines the benefits for the customer who picks your service. ‘No fix no fee’ for example is a great benefit for someone who is looking for a trustworthy plumber.

 
Conversion Rule Three – Credibility

Do you establish credibility and show you are a real business? How long have you been in business in Halifax for? Are there any pictures of your premises? Videos of staff or services? For example a hairdresser in Halifax could add a picture of the front of their hairdressers as well as some pictures of the members of staff.

 
Conversion Rule Four – Bullet Points

People will land on your web site, read the headline and then scan through bullet points before reading the rest of the site. So are there benefit laden bullet points on your web site? A bullet point is a one or two sentence line of text on your web site that really stands out.
 
Bullet points should be a benefit not a feature.
 
A seat belt is a feature of a car

A seat belt has the benefit of stopping serious injuries in car accidents
 
Chiropractor feature: Set in a nice building

Chiropractor benefit: Free from back pain
 
If you sell a service or products ask yourself what benefits will someone get from using them and you over your competition?

 
Conversion Rule Five – Special Offers?

What makes you the best option over your competition?

Is it price? Is it special offers?
 
* 24 hour call out
* 50% off first haircut
* First lesson – Pay Nothing
* Half an hour without paying on your first massage
 
Whatever it is you need to say it. Special offers are the best way to get a customer to come and try the service.

So offer some kind of deal for the first time they use your business.

 
Conversion Rule Six – Testimonials

Are there testimonials from previous customers? Testimonials are comments from previous customers. They provide social proof to people searching for a local business by showing them that previous customers are happy with their experience of doing business with you.
 
Video testimonials are the best. Then audio. Then written. If you haven’t been doing so you should ask your customer what comments they have about your business that you can add to your web site.
 
Ideally testimonials will be about specific results. For example take a look at hypothetical testimonials for an imaginary chiropractors in Halifax:
 
Good: ‘I visited Gary’s Chiropractor surgery and within 3 sessions my back pain was cured. It’s been bugging for me ten years and Gary had me ‘fixed’ in 3 weeks!’

Ok: ‘I thoroughly recommend Gary’s Chiropractors!’

Below average (but better than nothing): ‘Lovely surgery’

 
Conversion Rule Seven – General Rule

Does your web site capture the attention of the visitor, let them know you understand their problem and have the solution, offer them proof you can help and explain why you are a unique service?
 
If not you need to make sure it does. You need to provide costs, opening times and why you are the best choice over your competition in the area.
 
I hope this article helps but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 
Good luck

 

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5 Business Booming Benefits – Day 5

 
Wow! Here we are – the end of the week already. I know time is precious so let’s crack straight on with our very last Business Booming Benefit Of An Effective Website…

(If you haven’t yet read any of this week’s previous posts – you can read the whole report from the beginning by Clicking Here…)

 
5) It can build long term business relationships

We all know the hardest part of any business is having to constantly find new customers and clients.
 
The best scenario is when existing customers return to “buy” from us time and time again – and also recommend us to family and friends.
 
Well your website (with a little tweak) is also a brilliant tool to keep your business at the forefront of your customers mind whenever they next need your service – or they know of someone who does.

 
It’s a very simple process which works fantastically well for independent local businesses – and this is what you do…

 
i) Build a list – encourage your prospects and customers to share their email details with you, by giving them something of value on your site.
 
This could be a special offer, discount voucher, entry into a competition, useful guide or information – or something as simple as offering to keep them informed of any special offers you may have coming up in the future.

 
ii) Keep in touch – how often you do so will depend on the average “buying frequency” of your customer.
 
If you have a business where a good customer may buy from you four, five, six or more times in a year – you should contact them about once a month. Hairdressers, florists, beauty salons, gift shops, dry cleaners, restaurants… in fact most retail businesses would be in this group.
 
At the other end of the scale there will be tradesmen such as plumbers, electricians, builders, garage services or carpet cleaning. For these businesses 2 – 3 times a year will probably be fine.

 
iii) Educate, entertain and entice – make whatever communication you email, one or all of these things. If what you send them is interesting they will read it – but if you are just trying to get them to part with their money every time, they will not.
 
Do this the right way and at the very least you will be at the forefront of their mind whenever they need your service again (or when their friends do).
 
At the very best they will spend more money with you on a regular basis.

 
If you are a hairdresser and your average client has their hair cut every eight weeks, if you can tempt them to come in every seven weeks – your turnover will increase by over 15% this year!
 
If you have a restaurant and your average customer dines with you six times a year, entice and encourage them to eat in your business twice more this year and your turnover will go up by over 30%!
 
And that is without finding any new customers and without introducing new and different products and services to them!
 
For the trades and services with less frequent spending habits, it is a little different – but it still works.

 
And it work’s because you give them something of value or interest – whilst at the same time, letting them know they are appreciated and valuable to you as a customer. Using your website this way – as a business tool, is a very powerful way to grow your business and reduce your advertising costs.

 
And so we come to the end of our 5 Business Booming Benefits Of An Effective Website – phew, it’s been a busy few days.

 
If you started the week thinking a website for your business would be a pointless waste of money, I hope I’ve been able to show you what an invaluable asset an effective website could actually be.
 
A website is so, so much more than just an online business card.

 
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please Contact Me for a no obligation chat – I’d love to hear from you.

 

5 Business Booming Benefits – Day 4

 
Welcome to Day 4 and today I’m going to start by sharing something that may be a revelation to some.
 
An effective business website actually has two very different, but equally valuable elements.
 
Most people just see a website as being a “marketing tool” and in doing so completely miss a huge part of what it offers your business.
 
What is often missed is that an effective website is also… a time and labour saving “business tool”.
 
Which element is more important to you will depend on your business – and what you most want your website to do for you. Often there is an overlap between the two.

 
In the first 3 days, we mainly looked the “marketing” benefits, including how;
 
– just having a website can make you stand out from your competitors
 
– you will be seen as one of the most serious and professional businesses in your market place – and an “expert” in your field
 
– it provides instant credibility and builds huge confidence and trust with prospects
 
– it acts as an online business card or brochure, to showcase your talents
 
– quality, relevant and easy to find information on your site demonstrates the level of service your customer will experience when they do business with you
 
– including your website address on your business cards, flyers and print ads, makes your business seem more professional – even if they never visit your site!

 
So how can a website be an effective “business tool” as well as a “marketing tool?”
 
Well we touched on one of the ways yesterday, when I mentioned how important it is for someone to be able to go to your website and find all the information they need.

 
If they can find out where you are, what time you’re open and what you can do for them – they are not taking up your valuable time, contacting you to find out.
 
And they won’t get peeved off if you don’t answer the phone because you’re engaged, busy with another customer or closed half day on Wednesday!
 
Of course the purpose is not to dissuade people from contacting you or so that you never have to talk to anyone ever again, but to give people the option.

 
So this finally brings us onto our penultimate Business Booming Benefit – and yes, this and our fifth benefit tomorrow, are both counted as business tools.

 
4) It pre-sells and prepares to buy
 
All the things we have mentioned so far this week are a part of this process.
 
If your prospect has a good experience at your website, by the time they contact you they will be ready and eager to sign on the dotted line.
 
OK, it may not be quite as easy as that – they will want to know you can provide them exactly what they want, within a certain time frame at an acceptable price – but they are definitely what you’d call a hot business lead.
 
You won’t have to persuade or sell to them, because your website has already told them you are the company they would prefer to do business with.

 
You might not think a simple “informational” website can be that powerful – but it can. This is because they have found you on line, or tapped in your web address from your flyer, etc – and they are looking for what you are offering.
 
Are you now starting to see possibilities and opportunities for your business?

 
Tomorrow in our fifth and final article of the week, I reveal without doubt the Biggest Business Booming Benefit An Effective Website can bring to your business

 

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5 Business Booming Benefits – Day 3

 
Welcome back to Day 3 of this week’s 5 Business Booming Benefits Of An Effective Website – let’s jump straight in…

 
3) It creates confidence and trust
 
There is an increasing expectation for a business to have a website – and even a concern or doubt if there isn’t one.
 
If you don’t yet have an online presence for your business, you will be losing some potential business to a competitor who does.
 
When a business has a website it is seen as being more professional and serious – more modern and dynamic – more established and less “fly by night”.
 
This is especially important if you don’t have many years of business experience and contacts to rely on – or maybe you are mobile and don’t have a premises where your customer can visit you.

 
I do try to resist clichés – (“it’s a real no-brainer”… “it’s been a journey”… and the one that really makes me cringe… “it’s been an emotional rollercoaster”) – BUT I just can’t keep this one in!
 
Having a website really does “level the playing field” for your local business to compete with much larger companies and organisations. In fact it will usually raise you above the larger businesses because you will provide a level of personal service they cannot even get close to.

 
And talking of service… a website is a marker of the level of customer service you offer throughout the rest of your business. If someone can go to your website and quickly and easily find the information they want – this will deliver that all important, positive first impression.
 
Whether they are looking for your address, telephone number, opening hours or details of your service – they will now have the information they need to take the next step.

 
And it’s a bit of a misnomer that only people under 40 are searching for information on the web. The older generation are catching up and becoming much more web savvy all the time.
 
My Mum, who’s in her late – sorry – mid-sixties, says how frustrating it is when she goes on a website to find contact details and opening hours for a business – and really struggles to find them.
 
She says unless they are a business she already knows and trusts, she will click away and look to find someone else.

 
Having a website for your business increases your credibility and inspires confidence and trust in a prospect or customer who is “looking to buy”.
 
And it is with “pre-selling and preparing to buy” that we pick up tomorrow – on Day 4 of our 5 Business Booming Benefits Of An Effective Website.

 
I look forward to seeing you then

 

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5 Business Booming Benefits – Day 2

 
Welcome to Day 2 of this week’s 5 Business Booming Benefits Of An Effective Website – if you missed Day 1 it is immediately below this article or you can Click here to go straight to it.

 
2) It provides a perfect introduction of you and your business
 
You can give your prospect much more information on a website than it’s possible to include on a business card, flyer or in a print ad.
 
It tells your visitor who you are, what you do, what you stand for, how you are different from everyone else – and why they should choose to do business with you.
 
You don’t need a flashy, animated, “clever” site to impress your visitor – in fact, quite the opposite.
 
A smart, simple, easy to navigate website – stamped with your uniqueness and personality – is just what you need to create that memorable impression.

 
It is much easier and less “salesy”, than a phone call or a conversation face to face… for both parties.
 
This is a very important factor these days. More people want to make their own decision, from their own research – and would rather do this without speaking to anyone in the process. Sad maybe… but true.

 
You will have a good idea what your customer is looking to find out about your business – and you can give them all the information they need to know to take the next step.
 
You can say everything you want to say without interruption and they are relaxed because they are in control.
 
If they like the sound of what you are offering – and don’t forget, they were searching for you for a reason – they will then get in contact to find out more.

 
A few months ago my partner was looking for Horse Riding Schools for herself and our daughter. She searched online and looked in the Yellow Pages, but she didn’t consider any business that didn’t have a website.
 
She wanted to get a feel for a school that was right for them both.
 
If none of the Riding Schools had websites, she would have had to phone or visit to check them out. But enough did have websites for her to make a judgement and a decision – and she has been very happy with the choice she made.
 
The businesses without websites never got over the first fence – pun intended.

 
At the very least an effective website is an online business card or brochure for your business. But, as we will see over the next few days – it is so much more than that.
 
I’ll be back tomorrow for Day 3, I hope you can join me…

 

5 Business Booming Benefits Of An Effective Website

 
Starting today and every day for the rest of this week, I am going to bring you FIVE of the Biggest Business Booming Benefits an Effective Website – mixed with a few simple online marketing strategies – will bring to your business.
 
You see, just putting up a couple of pages and calling it “a website”, is no longer enough.
 
But don’t worry, I’m not trying to kid you it’s difficult to create an effective online presence – actually it’s just common sense.
 
It’s all about the way you share your message with your customer – as if you are in the same room together and talking face to face. I have some real life examples a little later on to show you exactly what I mean.

 
So let’s start the week ahead with our first benefit – and it’s a big one…

 
1) It makes your business stand out
 
I heard a report on the radio recently which said, 80% of UK businesses now have a website. From my own research and experience, I would say the number of independent local businesses with websites – is currently much lower.
 
Of the 200+ businesses who regularly advertise in the excellent Go Local magazine in my local area, only slightly more than 50% currently have a website. And these are businesses obviously quite “savvy” and proactive in their marketing.

 
If you provide a product or service in a sector where the majority of your competitors don’t have their own website, your business will stand out “head and shoulders” above them. You become one of the premier business providers in your field – and are seen as a “professional” in your area of expertise.
 
If you provide a product or service in a sector where the majority of your competitors already do have a website, getting your own presence online is a bare minimum requirement. But even here, it is still easy to have a website that stands out.
 
You see, many business website are little more than “contact pages” and don’t attempt to “connect and engage” with the customer at all. They may explain what they do – but not what they can do for their customer.

 
Here are a couple of examples – one bad, one good – to show you what I mean… Click Here… when you have finished reading the last part of today’s post.

 
So “standing out” is not just about having a website, but about how you share your message with your prospects and customers.

 
Finally, being able to include a website address on your business cards, flyers and print ads – is just as important a benefit as being “found” when people search for you online.

 
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned how important it is to make sure your website stands out by looking better than all your competitors. That’s because it doesn’t!
 
Yes, it’s important it looks sharp and clean and not cheap and tacky, but having the flashiest, fanciest website can often have a detrimental effect.

 
More about this tomorrow when I will be back with the second Business Booming Benefit Of An Effective Website – Providing a perfect introduction.

 

Returning to School for Lessons in Marketing – Part 2

 
(If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please skip to the bottom of this post to read it first)
 
I hinted the other day that my local Primary School’s great success in using some really powerful marketing principles to connect, engage and “get to buy” – may have been more by accident than design.
 
Today I’m going to have to be even more up front.

 
The most up to date and cutting edge techniques they are using to communicate with their customers (ie parents) – is probably more about protecting the environment and going green than anything else.
 
Nevertheless, in looking for ways to save money and energy and become more efficient, they have turned to the tools that all the smart business owners are now using to effectively market their product or service.

 
And at the same time they have become even more efficient and effective in building their relationships and getting people to buy!
 
None of these tools are brand new, you’ve probably experienced them all personally – but are you using them consistently in your business?

 
Website
 
They have had a website for quite a while and use it to both connect with potential new “customers” – and communicate with existing ones. It is used more for general background about the school, but there is also some information about recent activities and upcoming events.
 
Most importantly the website is not presented as an alternative to personal contact, but a purely a pre-cursor to it.

 
Newsletters
 
The school has always sent out printed newsletters 2 – 3 times a month. Now it gives the parents the choice whether they would like to receive them via e-mail.
 
Some people may choose the email because they want to help cut down on costs and also the environment – others so they can be sure they are actually getting the newsletter and it’s not left in their child’s drawer until the end of term!
 
(Yes, the latter was me. Sorry headmistress for not completing the survey sent out at the end of November!)

 
Text Messaging
 
This is the most recent addition to their communication arsenal.
 
They use this as a final reminder for upcoming events (usually a call to buy) and also when there is an unexpected change in events at the last minute.
 
It’s a very immediate medium which has a much better chance of being delivered and read. It takes a fraction of the time to send than a phone call and it is better received because it is less intrusive on people’s time.
 
As more people get used to receiving communication in this way – more people find they prefer it.

 
What’s Next?
 
I wonder how else they will be using the internet in the future, to make their communication more efficient and effective and to succeed in their ultimate objective of reducing their carbon footprint even further.
 
Completing school dinner menus online… teachers uploading homework assignments and records for parents to see… Facebook… Twitter… there own mobile phone app??? Who knows where it will end?

 
What can you learn from a village Primary School that you can do in your business right now – to connect and engage with your customers and get them to buy?
 
How can you encourage your potential or existing customers to share their details so you can keep in regular contact and occasionally tempt them to buy?
 
This is the secret of modern marketing. If you are not doing this, you are missing out on a huge amount of potential business.

 
I will leave you to ponder on that one, but will be back with some fantastic, easy to implement ideas for you in the New Year.

 
I wish you a very Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope that 2011 will be an even more successful year for your business.

 

Returning to School For Lessons in Marketing

 
After 10 years, I knew I would never be in the same place again.
 
Physically – well it’s possible… if not likely. Emotionally… no never.

 
GLBO - Carol ConcertA couple of days ago I was sat in the church for our youngest daughter’s Carol Concert – the last one before she moves up into “big school” at the end of the summer.
 
A journey that started all those years ago with our son – was now coming to an end.
 
I’m sure anyone with children now in their teens, or older, will understand how I feel. These early years really are the most magical – after this, things are never quite the same again.
 
I made the most of the moment.
 
A moment made even more poignant not only by the nostalgia of the season and the heart warming excitement of the children, but also because it was snowing as we walked into the church.

 
The local Primary School is very much the centre of our community for all those who have children there. I have never felt that connection with our son’s Secondary School – and don’t expect it to change when our daughter joins him next year.
 
It would be very easy to put it down just to the increasing independence of the child as they get older, but I don’t think it’s just down to this.
 
Either consciously or subconsciously, our local Primary School is very successful in applying the 3 basic principles, that I call The ABC of Modern Marketing;
 
A) Develop a connection,

B) Nurture the relationship, and

C) Get us to buy!

 

Could Your Local Primary School Teach You A Few Things About Marketing?

 
Well, let’s see how they apply these laws to their “business”?
 
A) They develop a connection in Reception Class by showing they care for our children. They want exactly the same for them as we do – The Best.
 
Our children usually have fun at school, the teachers tell us how well they’re doing – how great they are – hell they sometimes even make us feel like they love them as much (or more) as we do!

 
B) They nurture the relationship – keeping us updated about our child’s progress and what is going on in school.
 
They talk to us in the classroom or the playground, send newsletters home and holding regular parent’s evenings. They invite us in to assemblies, Sports Day, to accompany them on trips out of school, the Christmas Show and of course the Carol Concert.
 
They always have time to talk to us.

 
C) They “get us to buy” – in more ways than one.
 
They let us know how important we are to them… to help them in the education and development of our child. We spend time helping our children with their homework – to help them, and the school, maximise their full potential.
 
They also present a master-class in extracting money from our pockets!
 
Christmas Fairs, Summer Fairs, Shopping Evenings, PTFA Summer Ball, Book Clubs, School Photo’s, Bonfire Party, Christmas Raffle, Car Wash for Year 6 Residential Trip… the list goes on! And this excludes events like Harvest Festival and various charity events they support but don’t get any benefit from themselves.

 
I doubt they really know how good at “marketing” they actually are.
 
I know in this case we have to move on – but I don’t WANT to leave. I want to stay a customer forever

 
However, your customers usually don’t have to leave. If you connect, engage and treat them well, they will stay with you forever.

 

Can you apply the same principles to your business?

 
A) Develop a connection – Develop the right marketing message and, just as importantly, the right marketing medium – to attract your ideal target customer.
 
Reach out to get them to visit and “try out” your business for the first time.
 
Give them great service and make sure they want to come back for more.
 
B) Nurture the relationship – Encourage them to come back again and find a way to get their details to stay in touch in between times. Treat them better – and make them feel more special and cherished than your competitors do.
 
C) Get them to buy – Once they have bought from you 3 to 5 times you have a regular customer. You will find it very easy to get them to spend more money, more often in your business.

 
And if you’re impressed – and maybe even slightly embarrassed – about how well a Primary School is applying these basic principles, you will be stunned by what else they are doing!
 
I’ll be back in a couple of days to show you how they are way ahead of the game when it comes to the very latest in Social Marketing techniques.

 

Begin With The End in Mind

 
GLBO Exit PlanIt may be a bit of a cliché, but did you “begin with the end in mind” when starting your business?
 
To be honest, not many people actually do.
 
You probably started your own business because you had an idea… a dream… a passion… a vision of what you wanted to achieve. Something you could do better – or in a different way to everyone else.
 
Or maybe you just wanted the freedom of being your own boss.
 
But did you think beyond this… to what you ultimately expect it to provide for yourself and your family?
 
What is your exit plan?
 
A) When the time comes to retire or move on, you intend to sell the business – and secure a large lump sum to fund your “pension.”
 
B) You plan to get someone to carry on running your business while you take a step back – and receive an income from it.
 
C) You are going to put enough money aside over the years so you can just walk away from the business – or pass it on to someone for a nominal fee.
 
D) You are prepared to be to carry on working in your business as long as you are fit and able to do so. (Not really an exit plan at all!)

 
What is YOUR exit plan?
 
If you don’t yet have an exit strategy for your business, don’t panic – it’s not too late to develop one.
 
If you would like your exit strategy to be working towards either A) or B) – you have to start looking at ways you can build your business into an asset.
 
However the harsh and brutal truth is, if you don’t have a business that can’t run without you, you don’t really have a business at all – you have a “job.” A highly stressed income source you can never truly walk away from and relax at the end of the day because you are your own boss – but a job nonetheless.
 
If it isn’t already, you need to be thinking about how you can grow your business to a level where it is too much for you to handle all by yourself. If you only ever have a business that generates just enough income to support yourself, you will only ever have options C) and D)
 
For options A) and B) you will almost certainly have to be “earning off the work of others” – but this doesn’t have to mean hiring employees. (MUCH more about this in later posts and future articles on this site)

 
Getting Your Local Business Online is one of the most efficient and effective ways of growing your business both quickly and sustainably. And it works equally well whether you sell a product or provide a service.
 
Whilst you’re thinking of your exit plan, and if you haven’t already done so – grab a copy of my Essential Marketing Strategies for Local Business by Clicking Here
 
If you would like a free consultation about your exit plan – or what an online strategy can do for your business, I would be very happy to talk to you.
 
Contact Me Here

 

Why The Future Is Online For Your Local Business

 
The internet is huge – and it’s only going to get huger!
 
Ok, I’m not sure that “huger” is a real word, but hopefully you’ll soon understand how hugely important and hugely vital it is for your business. In 30 seconds time you might be thinking, “What has this got to do with me?” – but stick with it 🙂
 
Recently released research – commissioned by Google, shows how just how significant the internet now is to the UK economy.
 
Amazingly it is currently the fifth largest economic sector in the UK – with more spending in and around the internet, than other huge sectors such as construction, transport and utilities.
 
“The internet is pervasive in the UK economy today, more so than in most advanced countries,” said a partner in the firm who carried out the research. Under its scoring system the UK was rated sixth in the world, above countries such as France, Germany and the USA.
 
But crucially it found… “Small businesses that actively use the internet report sales growth more than four times greater than that of less active companies.”
 
Wow! What would it be like for your business to just double your sales?
 
For the full article go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11635318

 
The government has already identified this importance – and has announced at least 3 major initiatives this year.
 
At the beginning of the year it backed Getting British Business Online, a campaign by Google, BT and a number of other organisations, in which the internet giant pledged to help up to 100,000 businesses by providing a free website. (You did have to build it yourself though!)
 
In June, David Cameron continued where Gordon Brown had left off and appointed Martha Lane Fox, one of the original dotcom pioneers – to become his Digital Champion. A month later she launched her Network Nation Manifesto and with it, a plan to get millions more people online by the end of 2012.
 
And this week the coalition announced it is investing £830 million to give the UK, Europe’s best broadband network by 2015.
 
Even though this is 25% less than the previous governments pledge and they’ve pushed the completion date back 3 years – it is still a significant commitment in these cash-stretched times.
 
Ok, so what does this investment and focus mean for your business?
 
Our use of and reliance on the internet is only going to soar over the next few years. If you don’t recognise and embrace this, you may still do ok, but will never maximise the full potential of your business.
 
This doesn’t just apply to businesses that sell a “physical product” – and can extend their reach from locally to nationally, or even internationally. Not by a long way.
 
Smart businesses will be using their websites and the internet to develop relationships that keep their customers coming back for more time and time again. And go on to recommend them to friends… without even being asked.
 
Having a business website or a visible online presence, will be an expectation – the norm – let’s take that as read.
 
Traditional ads are becoming less effective, fewer people pick up the Yellow Pages as the first means of search – and the massive influence smart phones such as the iphone are having in our society, is clear for all to see.
 
Martha Lane Fox has identified that 10 million adults, around 20% of the adult population, currently do not know how to use the internet! If this figure drops as dramatically as she intends it to over the next few years, just think for a minute of the irreversible change this is going to have in the way we look for, find and select local products and services.
 
For those who can see the opportunities, there are truly exciting times ahead for independent businesses.

 
For some fantastic tips, tactics and strategies you can start using today in your business, grab a free copy of my exclusive special report “How to Get More Clients… Spending More Money… More Often… in Your Business”. (There are also lots of ideas you can use without a website too!)
 

Click here now
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