In this inaugural episode I wanted to talk about something that has been driving me crazy for the past few years working with small businesses. Many small businesses (and even larger businesses sometimes) engage in web development of their business website in a wrong way. It is rarely the case where marketing drives decisions to add features or make changes to the business website simply because neither business owner nor web developer have the knowledge necessary. Frankly speaking, they shouldn’t. They are not marketers, they are experts in their respective fields. Watch the video to see what I have to say about this, or read the transcript below. I throw in a few useful bits of information you can take away for your business in this video.
Hi and welcome to Captain’s Log Video Series. My name is Viktor Nagornyy and I’m the President and CEO of Viktorix Innovative; the company behind ProjectArmy as well as a business guardian at ProjectArmy.
Since this is the first episode in the series, I wanted to take a few seconds to explain why I wanted to start these series. Over the years, working with a lot of clients, I always get asked the same questions over and over again. A lot of people, just general public, find me on social media; on Quora, Twitter, LinkedIn, they always ask me questions that are the same over and over again so what I wanted to do with these series is being able to answer some of these questions that everyone can benefit from without replying to the same questions over and over again. As well as cover some of the topics and issues that our clients and other people bring up in the comments section, on the social media, anywhere.
These series are designed to help educate not only our clients but pretty much anyone who finds it on Youtube, who finds it on Google and other search engines. It doesn’t matter, as long as you find it, I really want to help educate you for whatever you are looking for and whatever you need so I’m here for you.
To get into the topic of today’s video, I wanted to talk about something that is really been driving me crazy over the past few years working with a lot of clients, and that is that working with small businesses and what I mean small businesses, I mean- sometimes micro businesses where you have either just one business owner or consultant or some sort of service business, or you can have a few staff, employees, nothing too huge. When it comes to web development for the business website, business owners get involved because there is nobody else, they don’t have the money to pay someone to do it for them.
They get involved and they might hire a web developer to do some of the things on the website. The problem with that is that they don’t have, in most cases, the marketing expertise that is required to make a business website converting. To make it generate more leads, generate more sales. So what happens is that when you work- when the business owner works directly with the web developer and the web developer has no marketing experience, which they shouldn’t, they are an expert in their field, in web development, they don’t really need the marketing expertise. That is not why they got into it.
In that case, when a business owner works with a web developer directly, what happens is that, in many, many, many cases that I’ve seen is the blind is leading the blind. And what I mean by that is business owner sees something on the competitor’s website or he sees something on other websites or he reads something and says “Okay, you should have this on the website.” Without any thought, without any analysis, they send an email to the web developer “Can you add this to the website?” and the web developer is making the money so he says “Yes, let me do it.”
So they add a new feature to the website. There’s no thought behind it, why do you need that feature, why did the website in the first place –the competitor’s website, whatever the website was- has that feature in the first place. If you read something online and said that you needed it, they might have explained why you needed it but they didn’t really go into a lot of details in why you should need it, do you need it? And you just add it. Maybe in a perfect world it will work the way it was advertised or the way it was explained but we don’t live in a perfect world. Everything doesn’t work that easily and what would happen in a lot of cases, and that is where I step in in many cases, trying to fix issues that were brought up by just arbitrary adding of the features causing the website to get slow, adding things that distract people from converting and increase the bounce rate.
For example, one example is, let’s say social media sharing buttons. These days, every website should have should have social media sharing buttons for their blog posts and other pages. In many cases they do now but let’s say a new website was created that does not have the social media sharing buttons, so business owners reading like how to get more web traffic to his website, and one of the things that some people might recommend is make your blog post sharable online in social media so you should add sharing buttons to your blog post.
Okay, here is the feature that you need to add to the website –sharing buttons. Okay, here you go, you might go- if you have a developer that you worked with you just shoot him an email or you go and try to find someone to do it for you or you do it even yourself. So what you do is you, let’s say you work for a developer, you sent an email to that developer saying “Hey, can you add social media sharing buttons to my website?” The developer says “Yes, I’ll do it.”
So, maybe they figure out what type of buttons they want, maybe they want one of those where you have a little bubble with a number, the count number for how many shares were there, how many shares the article receives. Maybe you don’t get that one, maybe you get AddThis, maybe you get something custom. You figure out what buttons you want. Maybe you don’t really care and tell the developer “Add something like this that this competitor has.” So they do it.
Okay, so you have buttons on the website now, so you go to the website then you click on a tweet button to share it on Twitter and here pops up the window and what do you see? There is nothing in a window, like “What am I suppose to share?” There is no link in it, there might not be a correct title in it, there might be some other stuff in it, it’s like “What happened? Why doesn’t it work?” Taking a little bit more, different example, a Facebook update or share, you click it, you try to share- I just had an email from a client the other day, a Facebook thumbnail would not show up, the right one, on the ‘Share’ when she was trying to share a blog post on Facebook. It wouldn’t show up like “Why wasn’t it working? We have the buttons on it.”
The problem is that those simple buttons are easy to add, the problem arises that the website, the page that you are sharing needs to be social media optimized. You need to add things like Open Graph tags inside the code that helps social media websites understand what information to pull for that share, for that update – the image, the title, the description, the URL. So it needs to be social media optimized. And if the web developer is good and has some marketing experience, he might know that but in many cases, that is not the case. In many cases, you’re just going to have the buttons to share and then you wonder why nobody shares your stuff in social media. It is not social media optimized, people don’t want to share just a link on Twitter, they want to have either a title and a link so they can add a comment to it or just simply hit tweet and everything is pre-filled for them to make it so simple for them to share it. You are trying to make people’s lives easier on your website so they can do things quickly and easily.
That is why I think that marketing should drive web development, there has to be a reason for what you do on the website.
I had another client, not too long ago, sent me an email “Hey Viktor, I just added Google Translate to the website and I realize, is it good for SEO or is it going to hurt our SEO or do I even need it? I should have asked you first.”
I said “Well, probably for your type of business, 1: Probably you don’t need it. Are you going to get anyone from China to visit your website to translate it into Chinese? Or from Romania and translate it? Probably not. That is because you are a local business, you don’t really need those translate buttons unless you are a local but a global business like an eCommerce or stuff like that. Even then, Google Translate is not the best option for the automatic translation.”
But that is the thing, a lot of people do things to their website because they see things done on other websites. Just because you see something done on another website, especially on the competitor’s website, does not mean that it works, does not mean that it’s effective, does not mean that it actually needs to be there.
In many cases, you’re copycatting crap. When you copycat crap you will end up with crap so it needs to have a reason. It needs to be in line with what you are trying to do with your website, what you are trying to do with your business. What are your business objectives? What are your marketing goals? Those are the things that need to drive the decisions that you make for your website, nothing else. Just because you want it, it’s not the reason. Just because you saw it, someone else has it is not a reason.
Why? Why are you trying to add those social media buttons? Because I want to get more traffic. Okay, so what do you need to do for that? Okay, we need to make sure that people have an easy way of sharing those articles in social media so we need to make sure that the website is social media optimized, that everything is done. The other thing, the social media buttons –while I’m on the topic- is, what buttons do you add? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a billing of other social media sharing websites? How many buttons are you going to add? Are you going to plaster your website with all the buttons?
No, what you need to do is, again, marketing. That comes down to understanding what is your target market? And once you know what your target market is you know what websites, what social media websites do they like to use? You need to be where your target market is, if they use LinkedIn and they use Twitter but they don’t use Facebook, well why do you need a Facebook sharing button? Just because?
No, you need to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter. Maybe throw in Pinterest because not only do they use LinkedIn and Twitter but majority of your target market might be women and majority of the audience of Pinterest are women so that is where you want to be. Again, marketing is driving these decisions not ‘I want to’ or ‘I saw it’.
Those are the things that distract a lot of small business owners, those are the things that waste budget that you don’t even have on things that you don’t even need. That is why marketing needs to drive web development. You might say “Okay Viktor, I understand and I agree with you but isn’t there additional cost for that?” Well, in most cases yes.
When it comes to working with someone with marketing experience, if you are a business owner and you are working with a web developer and you need to provide that marketing expertise in that process, you would have to hire someone like a marketing agency, a marketing consultant to do that. And if you have the budget for it, do it.
But, this is really where the idea for the ProjectArmy came about, that small businesses don’t have a lot of budget and the budget that they have needs to be spent very, very carefully on the things that will work. Not on the things that they want or the things that they saw and liked. The marketing needs to drive those decisions and the budget that you spend needs to be spent very carefully on very concrete things.
So the idea for the ProjectArmy is, my philosophy is that, marketing advice should be free and that is what we do at ProjectArmy. As a business guardian myself, my job is to work with our business clients to help them sift through crap and ‘I wants’ because when they shoot me an email and ask me “Well, Viktor, I want to do this and that.”
“Okay, why do you want to do that?”, I ask.
“Well, we would want to increase our sales by 10% next month.”
Let’s say that as an example.
Okay, so let’s figure out what we need to do. We need to increase traffic to your website, we need to focus on- we need to create some offers that we can generate leads from it. Then, we want to make sure that your sales reps, if you have any, or maybe you are the sales rep you are the one man show, one woman show, you need to follow up with them.
We need to figure out what exactly that we need. I always tell my clients that you don’t pay bills with subscribers; you don’t pay bills with click-through rate. I want to see you send a check to Verizon and say- instead of saying dollars, saying 2,000 subscribers. See if they are going to cash it in. You don’t see that, you pay with money and that’s the lifeline of a business, you need to focus on sales.
The thing that I try to help my clients focus on is on those vanity matrix like click-through rates on the emails, Twitter counts, likes, how many times the article is Twitted. The problem with that is that those are important. They can be tied into sales, to understand what you need to do. Those are not that important, those are not critical. They help you understand where you are and what you need to do to improve and get better and to get more sales.
As a business guardian, that’s really what my job is, to help clients understand what they need to do to achieve their goals, to achieve their business objectives without ‘I want it’ or without wasting the budget that you really don’t have much of to waste in the first place, or things that you think might work.
We need to test it, we need to figure it out and providing that marketing expertise without any additional cost is really the philosophy that I instill in the ProjectArmy and our team to help small businesses. My motto is, and when people; when I talk to people, what I want to tell them is that our marketing advice is always free. We charge for the execution. A lot of marketing agencies might charge you, a lot of consultants – marketing consultants will charge you to answer your questions and that is fine, they are consultants, that is what they do. Everyone is trying to make money, everyone is in a business.
At ProjectArmy, when you are our client, we make sure that you don’t have any reasons to procrastinate marketing your business. We make sure that you don’t have any excuses to do things that you wouldn’t do because you didn’t know that you needed to do them, that you didn’t want to do them. We want to help you eliminate as many excuses as possible to help grow your business. And one of those excuses is “Well, nobody wants to work with me because I don’t have a budget for it or I can’t afford it.”
That’s one of the biggest issues that small businesses have. That’s one of the biggest issues why so many small businesses fail every year all over the world. Everyone has a good business; they have a good product, they have a good service but nobody is helping them. They might not know that they need help and they fail and I really hate seeing a lot of good people, smart people, intelligent people get into business, working on their passion because they are really passionate about what they are doing and fail.
It’s really hard, it’s stressful. It’s like “Well, I had this business. I thought it was great but failed.” And simply because they didn’t get the help they needed, because they didn’t have enough support. That is not right and that is what I am trying to do with ProjectArmy. And that is why marketing should drive web development, for your business website.
If you watched this video I just want to say thank you and I really hope you find it interesting and useful. If you like to provide some feedback, I would really appreciate it. If you are on our website, if you are watching this on our website, right below this video there is a blue box that says “Was this video helpful?” Please click yes or click no and provide the feedback to let me know if you found this useful.
If you didn’t find it useful click no and tell me why. I want to know why you didn’t find it useful and if there was something that I did not address that you wanted me to address just enter it in the box. I’ll make sure that it will make it into one of my next videos. And if you love social media as much as I do, you can tweet us @projectarmy or you can tweet my personal Twitter: @v1ktor. And you can find it below this video and on Youtube, in the description and on our website below this video. Tweet me your question, I’ll make sure that 1: You’ll get the answer and 2: If it is more than 140 characters, requires more than 140 characters then I’ll make sure that I’ll include it in one of my videos or at least a blog post.
If you love Quora as much as I do, I am always on Quora and one of the things I say is, in my description on Quora –in my bio- ‘I’ll always reply to your request to answer questions’ so go on Quora, if you haven’t, it’s a great way to generate leads in the first place. So go on Quora and enter your question and find me, request me to answer your question. It’s free, there is no money involved. Ask me to answer your question; marketing or a business question, whatever. Also, you can tag- add ProjectArmy as a topic to the question so we get notified. That way, we know that you wanted an answer from ProjectArmy and either I or someone else at ProjectArmy will get to it.
So, I’m always here, available to help you grow your business so don’t hesitate to leave a comment or submit feedback, ask questions. I’m here and I am not going anywhere. I’m here to help, take advantage of that.
And before you go, remember one thing, you don’t need a million dollar marketing budget to be profitable and succeed.