Friday, May 28, 2010

How to Grow Visitor Numbers to your Website

by Lousie McDonnell, 2Market

The Internet can be a great way of finding new customers and increasing sales.

But simply developing a website and launching it on the world wide web will not have an impact on your bottom line. In fact don’t be surprised if no-one is visiting your website at all. That’s why I’m always sceptical when I hear comments like, “I tried the Internet, but it just didn’t suit my business”. Nonsense.

I believe that Google is now being used in Irish homes in the same way the “Golden Pages Directory” would have been used in times gone by. The Internet or more specifically Google is used more and more by consumers whether they are searching for local cinema listings, a new car, to check their bank balance, a holiday, perfume ..... the list goes on..

So – how do you ensure your business gets some of the action! I believe businesses need to put a strategy in place which complements their marketing and sales activities in the real world. This online strategy will probably incorporate some or all of the following activities:

• Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
• Internet or PPC Advertising
• Email Marketing
• Social Networking.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Getting found in Google. When someone does a search for a key word or phrase related to your business, you want to be on the first page of results. That’s what SEO is all about. It involves working on your:

• website content
• page titles and descriptions
• links to and from other relevant websites.

Internet or PPC Advertising

These are the sponsored links that are found above Google’s organic listings and also on the right hand side of the results page.

If you are not achieving good results in Google organic results then PPC Advertising, using Google’s Adwords, may be a good option for your business.
You set up a campaign which involves choosing keywords and phases, on which you place a bid. The cost of your bid depends on the popularity of your chosen keyword and phrases. If the quality of your ad is good enough and your bid is higher than the competition, then you will achieve the number one position in Google. You are only changed when someone clicks through to your website.

Email Marketing

This is a great way to drive your target audience to your website. You need to build up a database of email addresses of customers or potential customers. It is important that you use specialist email programmes, so that your email is not treated as spam by your recipients email servers’. Then if your content grabs your recipients’ attention and is persuasive enough you should achieve click throughs from your email to your website. A compelling “call to action”, will facilitate converting this traffic into sales!! Check out my last blog for more information on email marketing.

Social Networking

This involves using social networking sites to find new customers. The premise is that people like to do business with people they know. Whether its FaceBook, Twitter, Flicker or LinkedIn, your contacts will also have contacts with whom you may end up doing business. The only cost usually is your time. Does it work – it sure does. Think outside the box and you will achieve results and increased sales.

2Market Online Marketing

2Market has created and implemented successful online marketing strategies for businesses not only in Sligo and Mayo but all over Ireland. Our clients like our no nonsense approach and of course our success rates! See what our customers say about us on our testimonial page. And please feel free to contact us to see how we can help your business win more online sales.

Call Louise McDonnell on 096 37777 or feel free to fill out an online enquiry form at

You, Inc.

by Brian Dolan, Progressive Business Development

Starting a business is just like riding a bicycle, when you’ve done it once, you can come back to it in years and find that all necessary skills are retained. Only those engaged in business ownership can realise the full import of the above sentence.

Any parent watching their firstborn meet their new bike with tears of joy and infectious enthusiasm will smile encouragingly, while calculating the travel time to the local hospital. Blood will be spilled today! And yet the bike is not confiscated and the child re-swaddled in the discarded cotton wool. How can this be? Schadenfreudian parents? A sports car brochure with no travelling room for Junior? Say its not so!

It’s not so! The parent are wiser far, and will bear the pain of watching the crashes and ineptitudes of the clumsy learner over an extended period, so as to provide the child with the knowledge, skills and experience to easily pick up a bicycle, hop on, and pedal safely to any chosen destination. Goal, struggle, victory!

It is well worth the effort and pain on the part of the new cyclist. This complex skill of remaining upright on two impossible knifepoints confers freedom on those who master it. And the doting parents allow the carnage to continue until success has been achieved.

Freedom arrived so suddenly, being held upright by a sweating grumpy father to speeding down an incline and leaning into a curve is only the turn of a crank and chain. And now we get to do it again, and again, and again. The feeling is addictive. Speed, danger, and tenuous control, a heady mix, fire each synapse with intensity like never before.

Yesterday we were bound to our house, straining on a short leash; today the world awaits our every inspection. Our friends can be easily visited, Messages can be delivered for our mothers, and the sun is brighter and warmer on our backs than ever before. Fields with frogs and trees are within our grasp now, and still we can get home in time for lunch. Life is good.

And so, when we complete our formal education, and begin the practical exercise, our friends and family once more grit their teeth against the inevitable pain to come. They know, and at this stage we know, what lies ahead.

Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, wondering can we really have any measure of success at this. Expending effort to barely stay upright and thinking that walking seems so very attractive at this moment. God could make wheels if he so chose; aftermarket attachments must surely void the warranty on this complex bipedal bio-processor.

Speed kills! Slow down boys! A rich camel can’t enter Heavens gate! The rich have our money, if they had less we’d have more! Take what information you need out of context, but stop the hurt. This can’t go on. Get a job!

I refer to the choice that we all make as we begin the practical assessment after school called life. Not making a decision is a decision. Abdication of personal responsibility is a decision. It’s all a decision, whether conscious or unconscious, forced or freely made. Choose a job or choose to work for yourself. We make this decision once, and then we make it again daily for the rest of our lives.

Starting a business is just like riding a bicycle. You will get hurt. Blood will be spilled today. Calculate the travel time to your local lending institution before you start, finances are about to become cripplingly painful, and a cash injection may be required to ease your pain. Pray you never need a complete transfusion!

Your friends and neighbours now have a new rich source of entertainment, and tickets are free. It’s a public performance, hope you learned your lines. Of course you didn’t, the script isn’t available, its improv at its rawest, and it’s generally ugly. WHY am I doing this?

At this point, if you don’t know the answer to this question, the bike wins. Park it petulantly over the hedge, and proceed to the job centre. Walking never looked so good. Speed kills, slow down boys, we like out of context if it supports our decisions. Hang the relevancy, the lads are in the pub every night, why aren’t I down there with them? Why not indeed? Why not?

It’s about the warmer sun; it’s not about the blood. It’s about leaning into the curve with the pedals scraping the road. It’s about being terrified and exhilarated at the same time. It’s about winning at the game of life.

Protection keeps us alive from birth to early childhood. Education keeps us alive from early childhood to early adulthood. At early adulthood most of us die, but continue our daily grind until burial after our seventh or eight decade. Protection at early adulthood has the opposite affect than after birth; it kills off our entrepreneurial spirit, and forces us into a prebuilt box, commonly referred to as a job.

Not to worry, these boxes are no longer being manufactured to the same standards as experienced by our parents. Boxes made today rarely last more than twelve months, and some are much flimsier than this. Even the best-built boxes are deteriorating, and our children will only know them by stories and legend.

Remaining upright on an impossible knifepoint is not about balance, so don’t expect it. It’s about being always a little out of balance, first one way, and then the other, but constantly gaining momentum.

Of course it is scary, but the speed gained more than compensates for any inconvenience. There is a choice to be made. No decision is a decision, and its being made for you right now.

The game is on, pay attention.
The ascent is perilous, but the view is magnificent! B.Dolan
Contact Brian Dolan at 071-96 45752 e-mail 087-2374695 Linkedin:

Welcome to the Sligo Enterprise Blog!

In this section of the site we have asked our mentors and trainers to submit pieces on their experiences and thoughts on the world of small business as they see it. Most of our mentors have been working with small business for many years and have garnered a wealth of experience as a result.

To kick things off we have Brian Dolan of Progressive Business Development who provides us with a philosophical comparison between bike riding and starting in business called You Inc, and a guide on How to Grow Visitor Numbers to your Website from Louise McDonnell of 2Market-Marketing and PR.

Thanks to both for their kind submissions!