Over75 local business owners and marketing enthusiasts joined accountancy firm Harding Lewis at the Sefton hotel’s Garden Room on Thursday 22nd May to take part in a free digital marketing seminar presented by renowned marketing expert Steve Hackney of the UK based Academy for Growth.
Entitled ‘How To Run A Website That Sells’’ the hour long presentation, which forms part of an ongoing series provided by Harding Lewis, was attended by representatives of Manx businesses from a variety of sectors, including a number of small to medium sized businesses eager to enhance the sales conversion process facilitated by their current web-presence.
Following an opening address by Managing Director Andrew Gerrard, the afternoon seminar was introduced by The Venerable Brian Partington OBE, president of Hospice IOM, who provided an insightful and inspirational history of the organisation from its arrival on the Island in 1983 through to the present day and the challenges it faces. In closing, Mr Partington thanked Harding Lewis and attendees for its kind donations on the afternoon, which included an additional £5 from Harding Lewis for each attendee.
Mr Gerrard then returned to the stage to introduce Mr Hackney as a leading authority in the world of digital marketing. A former professional rugby player with the Leicester Tigers and the England national squad, Mr Hackney began his career in e-commerce at its beginnings in 1996 and has since gone on to create a series of marketing programmes, systems and services that have been used by hundreds of accountancy firms and businesses in over 250 industries, 46 countries and across every continent. Mr Hackney introduced his presentation with a preliminary demonstration of his credentials, “not to boast or to show off” as he himself remarked, “but from a businessperson’s point of view, one of the first things I learned is not to take advice from just anyone.” Mr Hackney then went on to provide what he described as a crucial, seven step website success formula for creating a 24/7 business sales resource, or a website fit for the modern online environment.
Centred upon the concept of creating an automated ‘marketing hub’ to generate sales and/or enquiries, Mr Hackney described seven steps to achieve this: the creation of a sales funnel, the process of conversion, the identification of the primary business objective, the importance of page layout, the application of video online, the identification of secondary business objectives, automated follow up procedures, and targeted traffic; “an area which warrants an entire seminar of its own,” he added. “If you put all of these seven things together, depending on your primary objective, you’ll enjoy more enquiries, or more sales.”
“Ultimately,” he continued, “you should have started to think of your website as the most important part of your business. Whether you like it or not, your website has to be an integral part of your operations. The reason why many business owners are reluctant to use it to its full potential is because it doesn’t work, not functionally, but objectively. In other words, the sales funnel is blocked and no matter how much traffic you get to the website, a blocked sales funnel results in far fewer enquiries or sales. The proceeding hour long presentation was met with an enthusiastic response from attendees, and generated a series of questions from the floor on topics such as search engine optimisation, sponsored search engine advertising and automated email software to bring the afternoon to a close. Mr Hackney concluded his presentation with some parting words of advice: “If you’re an entrepreneurial business, my advice is to go only with entrepreneurial suppliers and take an entrepreneurial approach to every aspect of your sales process. You’ll be very surprised at what someone who understands the details can do for your growth potential.”
Commenting on the success of the free business growth seminar, Harding Lewis’ Andrew Gerrard said: “Playing an active role in the Island’s business community is critical to sustaining the incubatory commercial environment that serves to diversify our local economy and provide consistent opportunities for future growth. With the help of business growth experts such as Steve, events such as these help busy entrepreneurs to focus on those aspects of their business that may go overlooked, or enhance those areas of their business that will take them to the next level. Every event in the series has been a resounding success thanks to the enthusiasm of our speakers and attendees and I look forward to many more to come.”