The challenge for any small business to market themselves online effectively can sometimes be a daunting task. You might find yourself asking…
- Where do I start?
- What does SEO mean?
- Is my site mobile compatible?
- and many more!
Fortunately and sometimes unfortunately, there is a myriad of solutions for each area of your online presence. We say online presence, because its become more than just a web site, and more than just a Facebook page. Today’s online marketing landscape is a real mix of numerous sites, profiles, pages, etc all connected together with a single goal for your business.
Every business is different, sometimes a solution developed for two businesses in the same city and same industry doesn’t actually function the same. So what is the answer? How do you create and execute a plan for your small business that you can cost effectively implement and manage yourself? There are some commonalities across the spectrum of the web, due to pre-determined expectations by the customers surfing around the web. These aforementioned commonalities are what allow you to put your feet on the ground and begin laying the roadwork to create your path to success.
We’ve curated a list of the top 7 things which any small business will benefit from on their web site.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The web site for your small business should be optimized so that clients and prospects alike can easily find your site by searching for both specific and generic related terms.
- Mobile Compatibility/Optimization – 2015 marked the first time that mobile traffic on the internet equaled (and is now surpassing) traditional laptop/desktop traffic. It’s vital that you’re not alienating your mobile oriented clientele by not having a web site that utilizes “responsive design” so that the web site displays properly and effectively on all devices (smart phones, tablets, etc). Sometimes this requires a re-work of your current design, sometimes this requires a whole new design.
- Clear and Concise Copy – The old adage that content is king still rings true. The information and how you provide that information to your clients is critical. Your prospects aren’t interested in reading fluff pieces intended to get you more clicks from Google. Internet users also don’t want to read through 8 pages of information just to get a few points. Clear, concise and effective content is what everyone is after and you should be providing that to them. Establishing an “online brochure” is no longer enough.
- Navigation and Organization That Makes Sense – All the information provided by your company should be easily found, connected and seamless regardless of site or platform. Requiring your prospects and clientele to rely on Google to find your information is a good way to lose them to the competition. Your company’s web site should be the star your solar system and all the social media platforms, affiliate sites, etc should be linked to each other and back to your web site. This provides your customers with a seamless, consistent, organized and stress-free method of finding the information you provide quickly and effortlessly, resulting in a more effective message and a happy client.
- Pleasant and Unobtrusive Design – The graphics and photos that represent your company and the media you put out online will register with your readers/viewers first. It’s important to use high-quality and relevant imagery. You can create your content for your site and social media using stock photos and pictures you shoot yourself. With today’s smart phones producing such high end photos its now acceptable for you to provide your own photos, just make sure the lighting and angles are right and the end result is something that looks professional and not like a DIY project. A high-end design on a web site or profile doesn’t always mean cluttered either, sometimes a simple clean design and be more effective than a busy one. As the saying goes “white space sells”.
- Measure Twice, Cut Once – Have a plan in place, throwing out some blog posts and videos with no pre-determined strategy is a recipe for disaster. Anyone can write a blog post, anyone create a video and throw it on YouTube, but you have to plan these elements out. Everything you produce should have a clear goal in mind and have the ability to leverage and utilize the other items you’re producing and publishing to the web.
- Don’t Overlook The Obvious – Often times small businesses are running themselves so ragged with the owner wearing so many hats, that sometimes the small important obvious stuff gets overlooked. Small things can have a big impact, like including your web site’s address and prominent social media icons on all relevant off-line media such as vehicles, invoices/receipts, business cards, building and yard signs, etc. You can save your self a lot of time and make your customers happy by providing an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your web site…and then directing your clients here with hold messages, auto-signatures and more.
The 7 topics we’ve outlined above are based on our own experience and research in providing online marketing strategies and concepts for small businesses over the last 11 years. We understand that our overall approach is unique and may not be something you’re previously familiar with.
An effective, coordinated and strategic online presence is the key for any business in any industry and in any market to be successful. Digging in to the strategies and concepts we’ve outlined above mixed with a little patience and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease will prove worthwhile to you and your small business.
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