Every small business owner needs to be very conscious these days of where every cent is going. They need to make tight budgets and stick to them diligently or they could face having to shut down their business altogether. One of the key areas where small business owners make mistakes is in either spending too little or too much on advertising costs. Advertising, marketing and promoting your small company or business can make or break you and you need to get expert advice before you commit too much dough into the process.
The first thing you need to do is some research. Before you even hire any outside experts or firms you need to know some key things yourself. The first thing you need to ask yourself is: who am I selling to? In other words, what is my target market? Who will buy my products and who do I want to buy my products? These are two different questions and you need the answers to both before beginning. Advertising costs can seriously spiral out of control if you do not have a clear cut plan of action.
You need to find out who your competitors are and what they are doing for advertising and marketing, including what their websites look like and how they sell their products. Does their website have a shopping cart feature or online catalog? Is there an interactive reply box for customers to contact you? How is the contact made? Are there Flash banners or other animations? You need to rate each of their sites on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being the best and having the most desirable features. In business it is okay to steal ideas and things that work, that is why people protect their trade secrets so dearly. There is nothing wrong in modeling your own website with your competitors, especially when you are first starting out and have no room for error.
Website building and design are expensive and there are several ways to go about putting one together. First figure out what you want it to look like and storyboard or map out each page and the various links. Once you have that you should find a firm or freelance artist that specializes in putting together websites. Most companies and freelancers use Dreamweaver or some other similar program like Front Page to build their sites. You will want to see samples (live website urls) that match what you have in mind for your own site before choosing your designer. You may want to hire a copywriter though if you go with a firm they will usually provide that as part of the price.
Advertising costs in the web building part are going to be expensive, but you can control them with a little legwork.