Over the last twelve months, some things have become easier for small business online.
And some things have become harder.
Under the ‘easier’ heading, I’d bundle all the technology that enables you to build mailing lists, add shopping carts, handle credit cards, create chat areas, automate content updates, etc.
In short, much of the basic technology that was once available only to larger sites is now accessible to smaller sites, too.
All this is good news.
But not everything has become easier.
Under the ‘it’s getting harder’ heading, I’d begin and end with the problem of attracting qualified new traffic to your site.
The big guys are making so much NOISE out there. How can you compete?
So here’s an idea.
Say or do something that’s worth talking about.
In other words, tap into that thing that makes the Internet unique – its ability to create connections between millions of people.
By way of example, let’s take another look at the imaginary nicksGifts.com.
You may have noticed that the ‘gift’ sector is a little busy at this time of year. If I want to be noticed, and don’t have the big bucks, I’ll have to do something that gets the network humming.
I want every visitor to see something on my homepage that makes them think, “Now that is interesting! I just HAVE to tell my mom about this. And my friends, and all those folks at work.”
Here are some ideas we can play with for nicksGifts.com.
- First, let’s make the entire site worth talking about.
There are already a zillion gift sites selling the usual stuff. So it makes sense for us to sell unusual stuff.
At nicksGifts.com, we’ll offer only gifts that are genuinely hand-made.
Plus, we’ll source them from interesting places from every corner of the globe.
Hand-made in Scotland. Hand-made in Uganda. Hand-made in Vietnam. Hand-made in Greece.
Already, we’re worth talking about. Just because our gift site is different.
(Yes, we’ll post a stringent policy to make sure none of our gifts are made with child labor, etc.)
- If we’re sourcing gifts from all over the world, particularly areas of the developing world, I think we should give something back and put aside some of our revenue to donate to local charitable causes.
That’s a good thing, and it’s worth talking about, too.
- If we get some good suppliers we can really work with, maybe we can get them to send our customers postcards. In other words, if you buy a hand-made gift that came from Uganda, it would be neat if, a couple of weeks later, you received a hand-written postcard from the person who made your gift.
That would be worth talking about.
- A few times a year, we’ll hold a competition and have customers win vacations to some of the places our gifts are made.
Could well be worth talking about.
How would this whole approach work for your site? Well, that’s something you’ll have to figure out.
But the plan you want to work to is this: Make every aspect of your site worth talking about.
Because when people talk about your site to others, you’re going with the natural flow of the Internet.
And you’ll acquire new prospects and customers at a very low cost.