Why not get a free pass from your web designer?
Almost any web design firm will provide their kind of web consulting for free. Of course there is a hook in the deal and you know this. It's no secret that they want you as a client and it seems like a good deal all around.
However, when a design firm provides consulting they don't mean that they will provide insight into the fundamentally different types of web marketing available to you. Things like choosing short term goals or choosing long term goals - but not both; or like understanding how your web market is of two minds. Nor do they mean that they intend to show you more effective and less expensive ways to design and market your web business.
When you sell your own products and service to people that want them at no cost or low cost you are inclined to remind them that they get the level of quality that they pay for. The same is true for web consulting.
Take a look around
You are now on a website that has a great deal of information and web knowledge that is absent of technical language and can be easily understood in business terms. You could learn all the important aspects of achieving long term web marketing goals right here, but that's not all. If your website is for a 'Green' business or inventive and entrepreneurial business then you also have an opportunity to receive web consulting for a very low fee.
How low? And why?
A lot of what business owners have previously been told, and sold, with a web design is not to be found in this website. What is to be found here is help with web marketing in a virtual web environment. The web is not a material marketing environment and your web market behaves differently from the way TV and print markets behave.
The web has swallowed all other marketing media and then changed the rules for their behaviour. Newspapers online are not the same as in print. Television shows no longer have prime time on the web. Telephones are now video-phones and long distance is almost a thing of the past. Although the web looks similar to a number of different media it is more than the sum of its parts.
Just as the web changed how former media behave online it also reveals a different way to think about web marketing.
What is it that is really different?
There is a false assumption that your website can market to anyone, and that may have seemed a likely reality to you until you understand that your website has to attract your specific market. When your market is called "Car Owner" it will not respond to anything other than automotive issues and problems. Your website needs to be focused to attract only your web market. And even then your market is made up of two minds and your web page needs to be clear about which of two minds it is talking to.
There is a buying cycle that most buyers engage in even if they are not aware of doing so. There is a smaller portion of your whole market in the late stages of the buying cycle and they knows what they want and they are ready to buy now. Then there is a larger portion of your market that is undecided and they are the ideal people to form lasting relationships with.
Uncertain buyers are costly to educate in a material reality but not so in a virtual web reality. Your web page can provide knowledge and bring thousands of people up to speed every month at no extra cost. And it is the same knowledge you would provide face to face with a customer.
Your choice comes first
Which of these two extremes are the kind of people you want to reach? The answer is important because you cannot reach both with the same attitude.
See for yourself
Long term marketing goals based on sharing can be termed "Pull Marketing" because sharing attracts; and the short term goals using advertising can be termed as "Push Marketing" because they push for the sale.
Push marketing and pull marketing are so very different in nature that to use both on the same page is a schizophrenic behavior. This kind of confusing message is usually seen in a business website that looks like a full page ad. The text content isn't sufficient to provide useful information for the new potential buyer to make an intelligent decision to purchase, so it misses the mark there; and when the business website focuses on the product or service for sale and ignores discussing the market's need to solve their problem then it misses the mark with a ready buyer also.
This type of trendy web design is found all over the web and the advertising it displays is misplaced on the business website.
You can hire someone else to direct and delegate the work for your web business, or you can learn some basic principles of the web and call your own shots. Being able to call your own shots is helpful in the building stage as well. To make the best decisions it helps to see your website as a business and to have a business attitude.
Start local and build your niche
It's common sense to start locally and get the near-by market first. You'll learn a lot from the local market as you expand to regional markets then national markets and finally a global market.
How big does your business want to grow?
Try asking a business question
Why take the time to learn web technology when you can force all technical conversations to be answered in business terms? You never had to learn plumbing or electrical trades in order to build or renovate your home. Why not expect web technicians to speak in simple practical terms?
Business questions should always trump technical lingo and this puts the controls securely in your hands.