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Hello. Is it possible to grow your business even during a recession? The answer is yes. Find out how with the hints and tips in this month's Newsletter ... 
Welcome to The Studio Monthly, June 2009
How to Grow Your Business Through the Internet

According to recent press reports the current recession is the worst for 50 years, with GDP slumping by around 5%. So much for the bad news. However, there has also been a lot of talk recently in the media about how online fashion website ASOS are bucking the economic trend. OK you may say, but ASOS are vast so they would be able to grow during a recession. But hang on, the same press comments also report that although absolute rates of growth for Internet trading are slowing they are still way ahead of  like for like figures from the High Street.

The fact of the matter is that the Internet and other online marketing provides businesses (including yours) with the best opportunity to grow, yes, even during a recession.

There are only 3 ways to grow your business

Without being too obvious, there are really only three ways to grow a business:
1. Increase the number of customers
2. Increase the average spend of customers
3. Increase the number of times a customer makes a purchase

Increase any of these three areas by just 10% and you will see a 33% increase in your turnover.

Basic stuff I know, but here's the thing, the Internet and online marketing provide you with the tools to succeed in all three areas. Here are some tips on how to effectively use the Internet and online marketing to achieve the growth you need.

1. Increase the number of customers

You need more customers. So how do you do it? To begin with you need more people to visit your website, which means people need to find it. The most effective way to achieve this is by getting onto (and then stay on) the first page of search engines. To do this your website must be search engine friendly, and second you need to run a search engine optimisation campaign.

Find out more about search engine optimisation campaigns here.

Another way of getting your message out to potential customers about your website and your product or services is by using email. Email has quickly established itself as the most cost-effective way of both finding new customers and keeping hold of your valuable existing customers. But it has to be done properly, or your emails will just disappear into the ether without giving you any idea of what happens to them. So just playing around with email is not going to get you the results you need. You need a dedicated email system that allows you to create and send effective emails that gets people to visit your website or contact you directly and then reports back on exactly what happens to the emails once you've sent them.

Find out more about using email here.

2. Increase the average spend of customers

Here are some worrying statistics.
1. Did you realise that a staggering 50% of visitors to the typical website leave within 8 seconds?
2. Did you know that only about 1% of people who visit the typical website make a purchase from or make contact with the business?

So what do these have to do with increasing the average spend of customers? Well to begin with I really hope your website isn't typical, because to get people to buy and then spend more you need to make sure your website gives them an exceptional experience. To start with that means it must be attractive, interesting, compelling and easy to use.

In addition, if your website is ecommerce it must allow you to show your visitors special offers, associated products, discounts or reduced shipping on multiple purchases, just to name a few. If it doesn't you are robbing yourself of the opportunity for your online shopper to increase their spend.

At the very least you must provide your visitors with information about the benefits of what you have to offer, to make sure your product or service solves their problem or meets their need. When your website does all of this they will not only buy from you, but also spend more.

In most cases the content of a website let's it down. Writing website content that works is not as easy as you may think. Most business people are good at running their business but not so hot on writing website copy. So you should consider using a professional copywriter with website experience. You will find that effective website content will transform the profitability of your website.

Find out more about how professional copywriting can make a difference here.

3. Increase the number of times a customer makes a purchase

This is mainly about giving your customer the best shopping experience you can. It is a well proven adage that anyone should only be 3 clicks away from finding what they want, be it information or a specific product. That means your website must be designed and built with this in mind, including easy to navigate menus, a search facility and a simple check out process if you are selling online. 

A great shopping experience and tempting reasons to return to your website will mean your customer will come back for more. 

But don't forget email is a powerful tool to thank your customer and keep them informed of new products or services, sales and offers using newsletters and sales emails.

If you haven't explored the opportunities of ecommerce now is the time to do so. If you already sell online, now is the time to check that your website is keeping up with the latest online shopping trends. For example, the use of wish lists and running multiple stores from a single eCommerce system.

Check out our eCommerce demo website to get a taste of what your online store should offer.

Take back control

The lesson this recession is teaching us all is that we can't afford to ignore or be complacent about the power of being online. The beauty of the Internet is that it is a world where perception is reality. It's not the size of your business that matters. Instead, to be successful the way you present your business online must be stronger than your competition. If not, then it will be them who grow their business and not you.

How we can help

We are specialists in using the Internet and online marketing to grow your business. Find out more about what we can do to help grow your business here. Not only that, but we are different to most web design companies you will meet in that we focus closely on ensuring everything we do for our clients gives them a return on their investment. So why not contact us now. To see some recent examples of our work go here.

To make an enquiry contact us here, or ring us now on 0845 6187342.

More website design tips... Quote of the month...
3 clicks and you're out - User friendly website structure:
 People surfing the net are looking for information as quickly as possible
 Your website structure must help them, not hinder their progress
 Web designer Jeffery Zeldmanisl came up with the 3 click rule
 The rule says a website user should be no more than 3 clicks of their mouse button away from what they are looking for 

 This should be the measure used when designing the structure of a website so it's  intuitive and coherent. Ignore this and you will lose many of your website visitors

 Follow our blog for more hints and tips

The creative solution of our website
is beautiful - exactly what we wanted -
very clean and clear yet colourful.

We have 2.5 times the number of visitors
that our old site had and more enquiries too. We've had good feedback and I get the impression that the enquires we do get
seem to have more confidence in using us from the start, having seen the website.

Joanne France - Business Development Manager 
Leicestershire and Staffordshire Scientific Services 
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