It does not matter how much marketing you do, if your website is not good enough you will be wasting money, and so before we even discuss marketing we always look at your website first. Once your website is at a good standard, we then look at how to drive traffic to your website using digital marketing (online media - Google, social media, etc.).
In terms of marketing, we always start with Google as all of your potential customers do too.
We have all received an email from somebody promising they can get any business listed on page one of Google and many have jumped at the opportunity, but it takes a lot of work to reach page one and so these kind of offers are extremely ambiguous. In basic terms there are two sides of Google - ads where businesses pay-per-click to appear in searches, and non-paid organic results (websites that are relevant to searches).
When we set up a brand new website for a business with no ‘track record’ on the web, we always suggest advertising on Google using Google AdWords, where businesses pay every time a person clicks their ad. We research what potential customers search for, and give estimates to how much each click might cost and what kind of daily budget we recommend. If clients choose to go ahead with Google AdWords, we get them set up by creating ads and then insert keywords to trigger those ads to appear on Google. This can be a great way to appear in plain sight of your potential customers and start receiving a good amount of targeted visitors to your website.
Organic results (non-paid listings) in Google can take a long time to rise in the searches, but these are highly relevant to what people are searching for, and if your website is listed organically in searches you do not pay anything to be there - it is free advertising. That might sound great, but there are a range of factors that influence your ranking in Google, such as your domain age, if your website is mobile-friendly, if your content is clearly-written and relevant to the search (without ‘stuffing’ many keywords in to one sentence), if your website has other relevant websites linking to it, if your website is updated regularly, if your business social media pages are popular, if your images use ALT tags (image descriptions if the image is corrupted and a description of the image is displayed, or if a person browsing your website relies on text-to-audio software), etc.
Aside from Google, we also explore other avenues of creating awareness of your business, such as advertising to huge numbers of people on social media - either you can pay to run ads or you can build up a following over time. We also advise businesses on what they should and should not be posting on social media from the very beginning.
The simple fact is “if you build it, they will come” no longer applies; the web is too saturated for that to be true, which is why you need an effective marketing strategy to build awareness of your business.