On Vashon, we have some unique challenges when marketing our product or service. Vashon Island marketing is made MUCH more difficult because of a little body of water called the Puget Sound which separates us from potential customers, thus dividing our customer base into two distinct groups.
The first group we probably already know, it’s Vashonites. Folks who live on the island, play on the island and spend on the island, without these fine people, our businesses would never make it through the winter. These are our “regulars”, our “bread and butter” our base. These folks have habits that we can count on. We see them up and IGA every Tuesday. They’re filling up at Mom’s in the morning. We are creatures of habit and that’s VERY evident with islanders. We do certain things over and over again.
The second group, which is much harder to reach and understand are the folks from town or abroad. These are visitors or tourists to the island. These people are hard to find because we don’t really know when they are coming if they are coming and why they are coming to the island. Fortunately, we have some people working to identify and reach out to this crowd, folks like Explore Vashon, The Lodges on Vason and The Vashon Island Chamber, which assist with island tourism.
Now that we understand those two groups, now let’s look at your business. Let’s ask yourself, “Who is my ideal customer?”. I said IDEAL. I want you to think about the perfect customer you would want for your business. We need to identify who those folks are, in detail. We need to profile them before we can target them with our marketing. So, to end this first post on marketing on Vashon Island, do me a favor, fill out the questions below and profile your ideal customer.
- Financial status
- Marital status
- Lifestyle activity (are they active)
- What do they like to do in their free time?
- Dependent status. Do they have pets? Do they have children?
In the next blog post, I will show you how to USE the data you have collected in this marketing profile exercise.
Getting a website is easy these days, but there are important steps you should take and issues that you can avoid IF you plan correctly. A great website can be considered a HUGE asset when you decide to sell your island small business.
Also, places like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever. All of these platforms OWN your data. It’s not yours.. it’s theirs. This is why they want you to stay within their “walled gardens”.
The ONLY thing that YOU truly on internet are 2 things.. Your Website and your Email List.
When creating a vashon Island website, it all starts with a name.
- Name: Make sure the domain name that you choose (the name that comes after the www. and before the .com.
- Name: Also, try to secure a domain name that mirrors your business name.
- Name: Try to get your domain name to be under 20 characters. Long domain names are hard to type and remember.
- Where to get your domain name? 98070 Media suggests Godaddy. They might not be the cheapest outfit in town, but there customer service is top notch and is located in the USA, which is important to us.
- Once you have your name and have it picked and purchased, then you can think about hosting and platforms.
Let’s start with some options. Most of the sites today are run on WordPress.
Easiest way to go: Squarespace or Wix. I said easiest… not best. the pluses is that it is easy to use (drag and drop). Even with it being easy, it still is tough to understand for some. A couple hours on Youtube will help you out.
Here are some reasons why I don’t like these options:
- Customizations and configuration. Having an easy to configure website comes at a cost: customization. Having a great website is awesome,but a great website is like a great billboard. It might look great, but if no one drives past it, it’s useless. Wix and Squarespace are not good at providing Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO is the practice of tuning your website so that it comes up on search engine searches.
- Cost. Typically these services nickle and dime you for their service.
- Exporting data. Let’s say Wix increases their price and you want to take your website and bring it to some place else that costs less? Good luck. You never really own the content you put into those platforms.
Using WordPress for your Vashon Island Website: The best option.. it’s a bit more complicated, but in the long run, I feel it is the best way to go:
- WordPress can be highly configured to get SEO. Your site will get found
- WordPress can be exported and put on other web services. YOU own the content
- WordPress is free and so are most of the plugins that can be used to make it incredibly extensible.
- Most small business websites are on WordPress. People know it, they understand it.
- Most WordPress themes are great for mobile phones AND desktops
Ok, enough for this blog post. Think about this information and give us a call or send us a note if you have questions.