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How Do I Grow My Business?
ACCESS, MARKETING, TRAFFIC
Since setting up in New Zealand in early 2012, gauk Media has been surprised at the number of businesses coming to them asking for an Online Business Solution.
Each case is different but one thing is clear, they all had just three basic requirements:
- Access to Market
- An Affordable Marketing Platform
- A Steady Flow of New Visitors
At the same time various towns in the region were installing free WiFi to their commercial centers and looking to leverage this opportunity.
However, a big issue soon became apparent. Towns appeared to have a limited, out-dated or flawed web presence and no strategic solution to take full advantage of the new technology. The advice they were getting from ‘traditional web agencies’ was that they needed to make their current websites ‘Mobile’.
gauk Media had noticed a recent surge in hype surrounding the ‘Go Mobile’ revolution and many agencies appeared to be cashing in nicely, thank you very much!
The reality is that making a flawed website ‘Mobile’ is like painting stripes on an old car in the hope it’ll go faster … it is a complete and utter waste of time and money!
If the website you are making mobile is not doing its job then you’re just making a bad solution smaller!
Furthermore, in recent years Google (the only one worth mentioning) has changed the way they rank websites. To cut a very long and confusing story short: If a website owner is not at the very top of their game, at the cutting-edge of development or lucky enough to posses deep pockets, they’ll see their pages slip down and down Google results … And that’s a FACT gauk Media have learned to their very great cost.
The first town we looked at had an old directory of shops available in the town. This was no platform for business to grow and visitors to enjoy.
Issues Facing Business Owners
- Small fish in a big pond
- Too few hours in a working week and high staff costs
- Struggling against static footfall
- Difficult to expand or extend existing floor space
- Struggling against the corporate giants
- Relentless pressure by consumers
- Pressure from group buying sites
- High marketing costs
- Restrictive entry costs to technology
Traditional Marketing Options For Businesses
As business owners ourselves we know just how difficult is can be to market successfully. We were lucky enough to have enjoyed several relatively successful online business ventures and were savvy enough to build large customer databases whilst the sun was shining. We have been able to use that customer base to launch subsequent ventures.
But what if we had to start afresh?
Now that’s a very difficult proposition indeed!
Current Marketing Options For Business
- Pay to advertise in the Press
- Pay to advertise on Radio
- Pay to advertise on TV
- Pay to develop ‘Brand Awareness’
- Pay for flyers & distribution
- Pay marketing consultants
- Pay to develop technology
- Pay for online advertising
- Pay for visibility on search engines & social media
Barrier to entry of eCommerce (selling products online)
Then there was the issue of selling products online with all the fantastic advantages this holds, 24/7 shopping, low cost or no cost stock storage, testing the market … the advantages are endless.
eCommerce is the future allowing business owners to expand floorspace, test products, keep staffing costs down & enjoy a quality lifestyle … but it’s not THE answer… running an online store is not generally a proposition to be taken lightly:
- Initial build costs & self-serving development
- Server hosting, technicians & backup
- Payment & card processing technology
- Complex & confusing system management
- Ongoing upgrade & development costs
But the biggest problem is that even with that fancy, online store, the business is still a small fish in a very big pond!
In short, having an online store does not solve the fundemental issues of Access, Marketing and Traffic
There were a number of issues we had to address to come up with a truly revolutionary solution that businesses would buy into.
Traditionally, business owners need access to traffic to grow their customer base, but the busiest traffic sources are controlled by the corporate giants and guess what! … They, are answerable to their share holders!
These companies have invested heavily and are working to generate a profit … for themselves.
Over the years we have tested pretty much all advertising avenues and found it painfully difficult to get a head above water. Google advertising simply does not work for low to medium priced products. Facebook will charge you up to US$10 for a single click through to your website, regardless of whether they buy or not! And it’s the same for most traffic sources we’ve come across.
When we tested advertising for our auction directory website gauk Auctions, the keywords ‘bankrupt stock’ cost US$4.00 with Facebook (more at Google).
Now. with an average ‘conversion to sale’ rate of 1% is would cost US$400 to return a US$25 subscription!
It gets worse!!!
Advertising networks and social media platforms are actively ANTI-BUSINESS … and the reasoning is logical. Every time a business is successful in driving customers from Facebook for example, Facebook looses ad revinue!
You can’t even promote your business to your followers on your Facebook page without having to pay a ‘Boost’ fee.
So here’s the thing … gauk Media CAN generate traffic for our clients because we have built and can tap into our own traffic streams. This traffic has taken over ten years to build at great cost … we need to cover our investments too, so would have to charge for that personalised service.
The solution we were looking to create, one with the potential to generate visitors and revolutionise the way New Zealand businesses moved forward embracing new technology required a simple to use, low cost platform … and a fundamental change in thinking!
The phenomenal success of group buying sites like Grabone, Groupon, Treat Me relies on the fact that consumers get together to drive down the costs of products … often so low that it puts the business owner out of business!
The system gauk media have developed involves business owners working together to combat the relentless pressure and not only survive, but prosper.
Here’s how we’re doing it!
We’ve broken the service down into individual geographical areas and towns which we’ve called Hubs, and each hub offers a unique service to business owners.
Each Hub then feeds information to a national search engine called The Grid. This top level search is know as a Destination Management System and the one we’ve come up with is not only beautiful to look at and use it’s utterly new and unique.
So anyone searching anything in New Zealand will be able to find it on this beautifully simple, intuitive interface.
All businesses are marked on a Google map with markers and can be filtered by category etc, so if someone only wants accommodation they set the filter to that and as they drill down for more information they will find all the businesses listed in a Hub.
The Grid and Hub pages are capable of using Geo-Location on the mapping. In simple speak, The grid can establish where you are, mark you on the map and show you destinations of interest in a selected radius.
If your car or camper breaks down, set the search filters and it’ll show you all the garages within 20k and if you want a nice place to stay the night simply select that filter. The Grid will even allow you to make a reservation at a local restaurant before you turn in for the evening.
Each Hub (town or district) has:
- A feature-rich business directory, which is designed to be a showcase for each business (see the directory)
- A powerful Online Shopping Mall. Business owners can add their products and receive payments into their bank account (see the a demo shop)
- A marketing platform for special offers based on the extremely popular coupon format (see the marketing platform)
This is all low cost and it works to generate its own traffic as individual business owners tell their clients that they can be found in the directory, shop and the coupon site.
This all works beautifully:
- The network generates its own traffic
- Business owners have a point of contact and showcase in their directory
- Business can sell online 24/7
- Selling online this way creates an equal opportunity
- By crafting special offers carefully online, they can draw more clients into their shop
- There are tutorials and special offer calculators by Robertson Chartered Accountants designed to stop business promoting unsustainable offers
- Business no longer has to worry about Google as users can find everything easier and more efficiently on The Grid
The following info-graphic will show more clearly what we’ve come up with.
The grid is currently in testing with The first Hub coming online in the very near future.
We are growing The Grid from the ground up and rolling it out one Hub at a time to ensure stability and sustained growth. We are partnering with business organisations and representatives to ensure a comprehensive coverage of each Hub as they plug into our platform.
If you are interested in getting YOUR Town on The Grid and can help with strategic introductions, then please get in touch right away!
We’ve had an extraordinary period in development and eagerly look forward to a time when the stranglehold corporate giants exert on regular business owners is released … and with YOU on board