At SocialTrend Internet Solutions, we love to empower our clients to improve their business thru online marketing. Our goal with this article is to provide ideas for any small business owner to get started or expand their online marketing footprint. We hope to educate, inspire and support you in achieving your business goals thru online marketing. We will discuss best practices for your business website, social media tips, how to incorporate blogging into your web presence and the importance of consistency and search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s get started!
First, your business must have its own website. This is so critically important – without your own dedicated domain name customers can’t find you or will deduce you are not a legitimate company. According to the Digital Influence Index, 89% of consumers today use the internet as a research tool before making a purchase. Without a website you are missing out on all those new leads! If you have an outdated or poorly built website, make this upgrade a priority. Having a hard to navigate, messy website can be worse than not having one at all if you portray an un-professional brand when new clients visit your site. Whether you are starting from scratch or want to revamp your current website, here are some important guidelines:
- Responsive Website – A responsive website is easily readable across any device (mobile, tablet and desktop) with minimum resizing and panning to view. More people view digital content on mobile devices then desktops, so be sure your website can handle all types of devices beautifully.
- Consistent Branding –Modern, Traditional, Eclectic – be sure the style of the website is consistent with your brand.
- Professional Look – You need professional, high resolution logos and pictures. Be consistent with font used, colors for headlines, buttons and text.
- Contact Form – Consumers like anonymous contact. Include an email address or a contact form so new clients can send a quick note to start the initial conversation with you.
- Customer Testimonials – This is a perfect avenue to share personal stories of how you have succeeded and this will resonate extremely well with potential new customers.
- Geography – If you are a service company, be sure to include a description of the geography you cover. If you are a product company, highlight how far your products have traveled to customers.
If you don’t know where to start as it relates to a website, visit the sites of some of your favorite companies. Find a few that you feel reflect the right style and tone you want to convey for your business. Bring those ideas to a web developer and they should be able to take it from there!
Social Media is an ever changing landscape and can be difficult to navigate on your own. The biggest mistake people make is thinking they have to do every social media platform and as a result, they fail at all of them. Instead, focus on one or two platforms and do a fantastic job on those. Same rules apply here as on your website, be consistent with your brand, use professional logos, etc. The followers on your social media platforms will expect you to be updating regularly. If you grow stale, consumers will see your social media as being neglected and will not use it as a source of information and certainly will not share it with their network connections.
Blogging! Blogging is a very effective way for businesses to engage their customers and find new ones – it’s not just for individuals. If you are not new to the online marketing game, then you probably already have a website and a good presence on social media. Adding a blog to your website is the next step. A blog allows you to do many things including:
- Adding fresh content on your website, which helps you rank in search engines and gives your website visitors something new to investigate
- Perfect material to use for your email marketing campaigns and your social media updates
- Great way to introduce a new service or product
- Make a personal connection with your customers by telling “stories” about yourself and your business
- Demonstrate your expertise in your field and educate your clients on your industry
A blog is relatively easy to set up and update (you or your web designer should be able to add this to any existing website easily) and can actually be a very fun outlet for a business owner. Same rules apply – be sure to update on a regular basis and use the blogging platform to reiterate a consistent brand.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complicated beast and not something we can go into deep detail here. Firstly, know where you rank in each major search engine (Google, Bing) and determine if SEO is something you need to focus on based on your results. Chances are you should. In order to determine your rank be sure you use consistent search criteria and that you use a “clean” computer. This means a computer that you haven’t worked on before, otherwise the history saved on your computer will influence the results and give you a false ranking higher in the search results. Second, we recommend engaging a professional for your SEO work. If this is something you don’t want to do, then you need to educate yourself on how each search engine’s algorithm works so you can determine how to update your website to optimize it for the best results on each search platform and for the most critical search criteria. Remember 89% of consumers use the internet to research before they make a purchase and you don’t want to miss those leads because you are not ranking high on Google – SEO is important.
Overall, like all things in business, you should have a plan. Create a strategy for your online marketing campaign and be consistent. Keep everything updated regularly and in line with any changes you are making with your brand and message. Have fun creating your campaigns and execute your plan. Then sit back and watch your business grow.