All Media Internet Marketing Strategies – Bainbridge Island

Do not build your dream on rented real estate. Pay-to-play websites will always belong to the provider.

The hard truth is that the most agonizing thing a Modern Merchant will tackle is how and when to grow into some form of an online presence. 
When we do, it does require a whole new type of investment. The monetary price is actually quite small compared to renting a brick-and-mortar location small. The investment of time and resources to animate our ideas can be overwhelming. Many of you share the toll it took on you, the hours away from your family, the struggle to publish something you were not embarrassed by, and the simple fact that keeping it current is daunting, so you let it languish. 
The Covid-Pause years had me believing the need to launch online access to your goods and services would overcome that fear and push a good number of you into taking the leap. I was wrong. From my conversation with the storefronts in my town, going online was never a goal. Here is a quote I can share, “ I didn’t go into business to sell online. I created my store to share my passion and create a space for people like me to shop and share ideas. “ If I must go online to survive, I will choose to close.”
That feedback made my head spin. Today I simply hope to turn your focus to what and where even a simple website could benefit your business overall, NOT that every brand should sell but that every brand should be available online. 
I love a good visual, so one morning I drove slowly down the main street of our town. It was a Tuesday at 9:00 am (ish). I captured this short video on my phone. 

Runtime one minute.
What do you see in this video?

  • 11 restaurants, – A candy store,
  • An ice cream shop
  • A toy store, two tea bars, A bakery
  • A world-renowned bookstore
  • A health food store, A gem shop
  • A dog store, two hair salons
  • Two art galleries, four Realtors, three banks, two grocery stores, and roughly 15 boutiques.

Yet I can only state this as a fact because I live here, not because I can see it.

This hub of commerce on our small island has become overly reliant on tourism. Yet, no visitor could ever know what jewels and wonder await them by simply walking the extra-wide sidewalks designed to beckon them. Enter the cell phone and our trusted advisor Google.
I don’t have to sell you on the idea that none of us burn shoe leather running around town seeking items of need or interest instead, we pull out our phones and search. Causal shopping, more than any other type of shopping, is a magical mix of curiosity, discovery, and opportunity. At that moment showing up can make or break your business. A full 70 percent of us will begin our quest to buy or be inspired to buy with the words, “In stock and near me.”
I dedicate this website to the idea of living where the solutions exist and that for all of us in some form is online. Notice I didn’t say sell I said to show up. I offer three basic ideas for success designed to get your business online for almost zero cost. The first is Google Business Profile, the second is claiming and maintaining a social media page on Facebook or Instagram, and the third is launching a website for your business. As I state in the video below, the ONLY location of the three basic straps you can own is a website. 
Much like the cars we drive, all websites come out the gate with the basics. A whole industry was created to overcome the fear of going online and selling online by players such as SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly, and Go Daddy. I call those pay-to-play options. When I speak to groups, I try very hard to point out that subscription tools such as these fill the need, but as base models, they inherently have no ability to empower your business. In this section, my only goal is to alert you to the choice that needs to be made apparent to consumers of these tools. You are renting that website and tools you don’t own them. Now that may not seem important, but it is paramount for you to understand. 
I see the pain, fear, and frustration in my retained clients’ faces when crafting these rented websites. The time away from their families and the investment of resources they would rather have spent elsewhere is real. 
Renting your website means you no longer own any of your content. Once published, your images and your text belong to the rented space and become unretrievable.  If your card expires and your payment lapses, your entire investment, large or small, goes away. If you decide to move your website at the advice of a professional to a more empowered tool such as WordPress, you cannot back out your website images and content to a location on your computer and re-install it into your WordPress version. The only thing your own and can move is your Domain Name.
Let that sink in. For many of you, getting that website launched was a war you narrowly won, and to realize that you have zero power to take your investment elsewhere can be a gut punch that sends you back to not having a website. 
  • WordPress allows full ownership of your investment. Simply put, it allows you to back up your files to your computer. Why is that so important? From a technical standpoint, here are a few reasons you should care.
  • Your card lapses, and the account closes before you realize the error. You can remedy the payment and reinstall the website in minutes. 
  • You decide to sell your business, and the new owners want the website but not at the location you have it hosted. You can provide a copy of everything to them in an instant. 
  • If your website GOD FORBID gets hacked, you can remedy the issue without needing tech support which, the last time I checked at Go Daddy was 30 to 60 minutes of wait time.
From a marketing standpoint, you cannot independently track your website activities. This means working backward from the results is not possible. Subscription websites provide you with vanity metrics, not unfiltered data. The ability to run an ad and track the results you paid for does not exist. The ability to build a buyer’s profile based on years of traffic does not exist. It is impossible to see where visitors to your site go, how long they stay and understand where they were online when they found your website and entered it. The list goes on and on. Marketing is messaging, not selling. Marketing is not a one size fits all experiment. Marketing is math and, therefore, can be predictable and productive. Learning to use the three tools I recommend to craft your unique message and grow your business all comes down to working backward from the results.  Don’t build your future on rented space. Reach out today to get your online presence into a WordPress website with a Google tracker so you can know and grow.