A Mini Website To Promote Your Business

We are in the process of launching a new website called Finder.pm. We offer a Mini Website for small businesses to promote themselves. It’s aimed at the many small businesses that don’t currently have a website but can be a valuable additional presence for businesses already on the web.

The Mini Website is a single page with a unique address.
It is easy to set up and edit.
It costs just £3.65 per month.
As it’s part of a big website, it will be easier to find.

In order to deliver on the last point, we need to create a critical mass of pages. So we are giving away free-for-life memberships of Finder.pm

To get your free Mini Website, just go to finder.pm/join and when signing up, use the coupon code FINDER09016 which can used until the end of September.

Finder.pm can be your Mini Website, your social media hub or a portal for a new line of business. It’s up to you.

Please let me know how you find the sign up and creation process with an email to info@finder.pm. It’s early days and we are still experimenting 😉

Big Names Still Matter

Maximum exposure for MarinerIII

The digital revolution has given everyone a voice. But when it comes to maximum exposure, the big names of media still have the edge. So the owners of Mariner III, one of our clients, were delighted to get a major feature in the Wall Street Journal.

The Mariner III is a charter yacht, offering cruises, parties and events in the New York harbour area. Despite only coming out yesterday, the feature has already generated new business.

Vapour Trail runs the Mariner III website. We did some work to check SEO around the boat name as we didn’t know if the feature would include a link to the website. There wasn’t a link but searches on “mariner III new york” were returning the website as the first result on Google.

We also made sure we had up to date photos and blogged about the feature.

This was a really good outcome for Mariner III, bringing together the best of new and established media.

 

asunsti shawls

asunsti shawls is a new business based in Ashurst Wood in West Sussex. They sell beautiful hand made shawls from makers in the developing world. Shawls are typically made from locally produced materials and created by craftspeople using traditional skills. They make wonderful and are truly striking accessories.

asunsti’s website is based on the ever popular WordPress platform incorporating photography by Juliette Atkinson. Further development of the website to promote the shawls is planned.

Visit the asunsti website

Online Advertising For Small Businesses

I’d like to announce our new online advertising for small businesses service, Finder.

Politicians and business leaders frequently speak about the fact that around half UK businesses are not on the web and losing out on the ability to promote themselves there. We know from our own experience that owners of small business are often put off by the cost and perceived complexity of creating a website. So we thought we would do something to help.

Finder.pm is a website made up of individual business profiles. Individual businesses subscribe to the website and have a page of their own content to promote their business. Their name, logo, phone number, email address, website, social media links and a description of their business.

It’s quick and easy to sign up, there’s no set up fee and the service costs £3.65 per month. For that you get:

  • A page of your content. No ads for other businesses or crosslinks, just some Finder navigation at the bottom of the page.
  • A unique web address in the format finder.pm/yourbusiness
  • A page that’s structured to be easy for search engines like Google to find.
  • Your page delivered to potential customers when they are searching for your products and services.
  • A low monthly price of £3.65

Finder gives you powerful promotion tool for your business for the same price as a premium coffee or pint of beer each month.

Online advertising for small businesses

Because the Finder website is optimised for search, people are more likely to find your page when searching for the services you offer. Your advertising is powerful and focused by leveraging the advanced search of Google, Bing and other search engines.

If you want your business to “Be Found”, sign up with Finder. We will be launching in early 2016

24 Hours a Day

Question. When do people want to find out about your business and it’s goods and services?

Answer. Err, all the time?

Correct!

You might be very good at answering the phone, or have a fabulous virtual assistant who answers for you. But what hours does that cover? 9 to 5? 8 to 6? That still leaves a lot of the week uncovered. Not to mention bank holidays.

In a world of busy people, anytime is research time. On the train, on the sofa, late at night, at the weekend, whenever. If you cannot provide people with useful and interesting information about your business whenever they want it, you are missing out.

Let’s assume you run a soft furnishing business. No one needs an emergency soft furnishing service, so there is no point in your providing a 24 hour hotline. But people will be curious about your products at all hours of the day. So if you can provide:

  • Comprehensive information about your service.
  • Pictures and descriptions of your products.
  • Video of the transformative effects of your products.
  • A means of contacting you by email 24 hours a day.

.. you could be waking up each morning to a number of enquiries from very interested potential customers.

You can do all of this with a business website.

By combining a business website with the power of a search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, you can meet with people who are searching for exactly the products and services you are providing.

Amazingly, around half of UK businesses do not have a website and here at Vapour Trail we want to help change that.

Call us on 0333 123 0004 or email info@vapourtrail.biz and we would be delighted to help you develop a website that greatly extends the reach of your business.

Finally, some words of assurance. We are used to dealing with small and medium business owners. We talk your language! A new website will not cost a fortune. Our prices start at £249.

 

 

What Small Business Can Learn From The Election?

In case you hadn’t noticed there’s an election campaign going on. No, don’t click Go Back, there are important lessons to be learned! An election is actually a giant, nationwide marketing campaign. Numerous players all have a product to “sell” and how they do that can be very instructive.

Brand awareness

Any group picture will feature a forest of logos. That’s so you are left in absolutely no doubt about what that picture is about. This is a picture of X party activists, there’s lots of us and we support X party.

Repeat the message

We all know the sound bites: “fairness”, “reducing the deficit”, “the living wage”. We know them because they are constantly repeated, they enter the consciousness. That works with marketing too. How many people refer to “Starbucks coffee” as opposed to just coffee? I know quite a few. Some brands effectively enter the language: Thermos, Hoover, Google.

Be omnipresent

At election time there will be constant coverage on radio and TV, leaflets will come through the letterbox and posters will sprout at the roadside. There is no escape.

So how does this relate to business?

Encourage people to visit your website. Make it easy to find via search engines (SEO). Update the content regularly so that people will find their visits useful. Use your website to demonstrate your knowledge about your area of expertise: create a Knowledge Centre.

Hand out your business card at any opportunity. Encourage people to visit your website.

Interact on social media. Comment, engage, provide information. Above all be human.

Get in touch with your existing contacts. Proudly announce yourself and your brand.

People vote for and buy from other people they have formed a bond with. It might be tenuous but it separates you from the other contenders. In first-past-the-post and marketing there is only one winner. Use all the tools in the box to be that one.

Vapour Trail is dedicated to helping you promote your business. We create and update websites, help you create a social media presence and work with you to market your business.

Contact us on 0333 123 0004 or info@vapourtrail.biz

50% of businesses don’t have a website

Is yours one of the 50% of businesses that don’t have a website? So how do people find you?

Traditionally businesses have been associated with a place: a shop, offices, a reception desk. Somewhere customers can see you and meet with you. Now new technologies mean that a business can be run from a spare room, a coffee shop or a car. This is obviously progress and means a huge cost saving, but comes with a downside: invisibility.

A shop is placed on a busy throughfare, it’s part of the scenery. People know you are there and pop in to buy and get advice. How do you engage with existing and potential customers if you don’t have that high street prescence? You do it online.

A small business website need not cost very much, but it enables anyone on the web to find you, find out about your goods and services and contact you.

It’s a fact that hardly anyone is using a paper directories like Yellow Pages anymore. Look at how they have shrunk in size! Search engines like bing.com and Google take you straight to the websites of suppliers. If your business doesn’t have a website, you are missing out on all those enquiries.

“It’s too expensive!”

Vapour Trail’s prices start at £249. How many sales would you need to close to cover that? In fact, not having a website is probably costing you money in lost sales.

“I don’t have the time”

It’s true that small business owners are time poor, but we are flexible and will work with you when you have the time. Would it help to meet at the weekend or late in the evening? We’re fine with that.

“I don’t understand the internet”

Here’s an idea. You concentrate on what you do well and we will look after your website for you. We will work with you to make your business better.

50% of businesses don’t have a website

Is that really true? Sadly yes. According to smallbusiness.com “61 percent use, or plan to use, a website, online store, or mobile website”. The telling phrase there is “plan to use”. This probably means that about 50% of businesses do actually have a website. Hence 50% don’t. These stats specifically refer to the USA but numbers for the UK are very similar.

Don’t let new business slip away.

Vapour Trail want to work with you to build your business. Call us for a chat 0333 123 0004 or email info@vapourtrail.biz

 

WordPress Expert in Croydon

Are you based in Croydon and want to make the most of your website? Or are you starting up a business and want to talk to someone about how best to proceed with your website? We should talk.

Vapour Trail has been in business for over 10 years and we specialise in providing and upgrading websites. We work with artists, therapists, garages, pubs, decorators, builders, shops, attractions and charities to deliver a hardworking website that projects your enterprise to the world.

To start off, we listen to you. We are building an advertisement for your business, not ours. We want to know what you do and why you are special, then we build a website to communicate that to the world.

We are proud of our reputation for communicating effectively. We don’t try to bamboozle people with technical speak. We don’t have fast talking salespeople. You talk to the person creating your website. We get to understand you and build a rapport.

WordPress Expert in Croydon

We normally recommend WordPress as the platform for small business websites. There are no licence fees, it’s powerful and delivers all the functionality you need. It’s also easy to use. If you have the skills to create and save a Word document, you should be able to learn WordPress. The key feature of WordPress is that you, the business owner, can take control of your content and keep it up to date. You can update prices and opening hours, add new products, add case studies and reports of latest projects. Your website will come alive with news about your business. An up to date website is also viewed favourably by the serach engines. They aren’t interested in websites that were last updated 4 years ago.

Let’s Talk

Call us and arrange a chat. If you are in the Croydon area, it would be great to meet over a cup of coffee. A consultation is free and we can get to know each other.

Tel 0333 123 0004 or email info@vapourtrail.biz

Picture of Croydon by Joe Dunckley

You don’t need a laptop for that.

Sales of mobile devices soar as sales of laptops level off. This is important news if you have a business website.

Every so often an article appears in the business news pages about the decline of the PC (personal computer). This might seem odd given that IT is a growing industry, but it is actually true.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to read email, search the web or shop online, you needed a computer: a laptop or desktop. Now those same tasks can be accomplished with a tablet, iPad or smartphone. Many people are realising that there is no need to buy an expensive computer when lighter, cheaper more portable devices as just as effective.

So whilst computer sales wobble, sales of all devices soar.

If you have a business website, you need to pay attention to this trend. Then you need to check how your website appears when viewed on a smartphone or tablet.

If your website was designed a few years ago, it was probably designed on a desktop computer and reviewed and approved by you on a laptop. It might still look good on a laptop, but if it is difficult to use on smartphone or tablet, you need to think about upgrading.

Imagine yourself as someone searching for your services on a smartphone whilst on a train (and a lot of people do this). If they display your website and the text is unreadably small and a lot of scrolling and pinching is required, they are not going to stay on the website. They will move on to an easier to use website i.e. someone else’s.

If your website is not smartphone or tablet friendly, you need to think about Responsive Web Design (RWD). This is a method of laying out websites so that they resize and realign themselves to fit the screen they are being viewed on. The pages can then be read easily and navigated with the minimum effort.

If you take a look at your website on an iPhone and think “Oh dear”, then please get in touch. We will explain the options in straight forward language to help you get the most from your website.

We’re on 0333 123 0004