The dramatic growth of the Internet has created significant opportunity for companies to grow their businesses. WatchCaptain recognizes the opportunity and is shifting its focus to help its customer base gain the maximum benefits from this growing medium.
Last summer, the company exited the software development and support business with the sale of its marine management software systems to Alliance Management & Consulting Group. WatchCaptain has shifted its focus to providing management, business development and systems consulting, which includes implementation and training services for The Marina Program in conjunction with AM&CG. Under the umbrella of business development, WatchCaptain has forged a new Strategic Partnership with WSI eMarketing Strategies to provide digital marketing solutions and Internet consulting services.
Doug Thompson, WatchCaptain’s president and CEO, says many businesses fail to effectively leverage their online presence to achieve their desired business results. He believes the partnership will help marine businesses be more successful. Success will be achieved through the fusion of WSI’s marketing and technical expertise in areas such as search engine optimization, landing page development, e-mail marketing and Web analytics with WatchCaptain’s industry knowledge and experience.
“The whole slant I have on it – and this is one of the reasons I chose to work with WSI – is that it’s all about results and using the Internet for the sake of actually driving business,” Thompson says. “There are a lot of people saying, ‘This is the latest and greatest, let’s use it.’ However, in the absence of a cohesive holistic marketing strategy that includes a digital marketing strategy, they will not achieve their desired results.”
One example he cites is an auto dealership’s Facebook page he recently visited that didn’t have anything to do with cars or their business. The content was all about the local NFL and NHL teams. So, while the company was technically on the Internet and “using” social media, it wasn’t accomplishing anything by doing so.
“That’s not going to help you sell a car,” Thompson says. “So, for me, that’s a great example of a bad use of a tool. A custom Facebook page highlights the company’s brand and provides the opportunity to stimulate conversation with your customers to convert them into a sale. I think we have the opportunity to help businesses identify a strategy and plan that will actually achieve their business goals rather than just saying they’re on Facebook.”
Thompson says WatchCaptain continually talks to prospective clients who tell them all the business they get is generated by word of mouth. This makes sense because those companies are either not utilizing the Internet properly or are not there at all. They are missing out on a medium where the number of Internet users in the United States is expected to increase to 216 million (68.3 percent of the total population) by 2012.
And businesses that do have a Web presence often complain that they are not getting the results they want. But many times these businesses have ads without a clear call to action, which explains why their conversion rates are so low.
Thompson also points to changes made by Google over the last year that makes online searches much more relevant and important to local businesses. Google localized its searches so that when someone types in a word like “marina,” every marina around the world isn’t competing to come up on that first page. Because Google has the IP address where the person conducting the search is located, the website listings a search displays can be limited to those in close geographic proximity. This makes searching much more effective, which, in turn, makes search engine optimization more important.
“When you think through that logic, you say to yourself, ‘This is huge,’” Thompson says. “Now you are truly competing for your target prospects. Your business is highly relevant to the searcher and this will lead to higher traffic rates to your site and ultimately higher conversion rates.”
SEO is just one of the tools WatchCaptain, through its partnership with WSI, will use in the digital marketing and Internet consulting work it does for clients. Thompson says the company will take a holistic approach by evaluating each of its clients’ needs and challenges, identifying their business goals and objectives and customizing a specific solution. This approach can be broken down into three categories: lead generation; online brand and credibility; and prospect and customer communications.
There are multiple strategies and offerings in each of those categories that companies can pursue. Thompson says WSI knows how to employ these strategies and, working with WatchCaptain, will build the necessary marketing strategy and infrastructure for clients. The company will also provide a layer of Web analytics to track return on investment and make sure the customer’s business goals are being met.
“We offer much more than a Web development shop,” Thompson says. “We will work with the customer to understand what their business goals are, and build a marketing plan that bridges their offline and online initiatives to leverage their online presence to achieve their goals and deliver the highest ROI possible.”
For more information WatchCaptain LLC. can be found online at www.watchcaptain.com and reached at 800-627-boat (2628). WSI eMarketing Strategies can be found online at www.wsiems.com and reached at email@example.com or 800-974-3024.