If you are a small business owner looking to get online with a shiny new website. You may need to consider a lot more than you initially thought. Having a new website is one thing on the tick list, but getting found is something else. Many people search out local companies at home on their desktops and this has been the norm for decades, but things have changed. With the advancements of smartphones, iPads, watches, gaming devices, and televisions sets. Searching for local information or services is now even easier.
The idea is to get found quickly while offering the correct service. With this in mind, you might want to take some of these key factors into consideration.
Helping local businesses with local search
85% of smartphone users search for local information.
81% have taken action as a result.
40% visited in person.
35% call a business after searching.
These stats have been taken from the Google webmaster video’s
With this in mind, you will now need to consider the value of your business compared to the local competition. This could cover your product range, price points, local positioning, quality and standards, guarantee or the demand. You can then think about your goals to clarify your online presence. This will help people searching you out, decide if they need to contact or buy your products.
Your three main areas of concern would be.
Decrease costs, save time.
Increase customer satisfaction.
Being online can mean many different things to your projected audience. Let’s look at some of the advantages.
Reaching out to new customers.
Helping existing customers become repeat customers.
Decrease costs, save time.
Make your resources available online so you spend less time emailing or on the phone.
Increase customer satisfaction through helpful pages of information. This can be through a blog or news channel.
Share information from other sources that can help your clients.
Online customer funnel for increasing revenue
Finding potential customers
If a customer has a need, your website is a tool that should be able to convert that need into sales through,
Word of mouth – people talk to friends and family.
Searches online, or use networks like Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.
Uses a Map app for local stores and find driving directions.
Customers looking for reviews for authority and good ratings.
As a business owner, you should be adding in details on your website and other directories such as Google local business with the following information.
This will allow people to find you and get to your location with map directions, time to reach you and the map will show other facilities close by. Remember, if customers use Google local search they will discover you on the map and click on you if it’s relevant. Creating a Google Plus page will also help with your local business targets. Fill in all the necessary details and consider using keywords that will compliment your website and local search result. Customers use apps to seek out local businesses. These include; Google maps, Google local search results, and Apple maps.
Points to consider
For Google local search results or Google Maps app, make a Google+ Page.
For Maps app on Apple devices, make a Yelp page.
Build a presence on networking sites
Social networking plays a major role for many business models online. Customers may seek connections or credentials before they decide on using your services or buying your products. Linkedin has become a popular way to showcase this. Potential customers may be looking for,
Endorsements from clients or customers.
You can also use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest to create pages and help drive traffic to your business online.
Facebook – Good for new traffic and sharing information. Hard to gain likes.
Twitter – Great for real time traffic, posting information and engaging in an audience.
Pinterest – Awesome for adding in product shots and engaging with other pinners.
Tumblr – Share all your blog updates.
The benefits of having a Google+ page for your online business can boast a reach to Google searchers, it accepts reviews and can be used as a lightweight homepage that shows Posts, photos, videos and interactions with customers. This can be helpful if you don’t have a website. But the idea is to have a website as a sales tool. If you are waiting for a developer to finish everything off and get the site live for you. I would recommend signing up for a Google+ page first.
Build Strong Engagement
Your website and social networking pages can work for you in more depth with information such as customer feedback. If you have many customers online and throughout your social reach all saying great things about your company. This can be really beneficial for your online presence and point of sale conversion rate.
Always cross-link and reference multiple channels to unify your online presence. You can do this on your website and on your social network pages. Once you have completed all these steps for your online business, you will have completed all the funneling steps for visitors, engagement, call to action conversion and customer loyalty.
Online customer funnel complete
Best online business practices
Facilitate a referral loop with your customers.
Let them know where they can find you online.
Appreciate feedback with engagement.
Avoid copying reviews from other websites.
How to differentiate your business from the competition
Having an insight into what your customers may ask themselves before they engage in your business model, will help you understand the offering to answer all the needed questions through the delivery of your content.
Questions for consideration
Whats the spec?
How long is it guaranteed for?
What are other people saying about it?
How many people have this company worked for?
Who are their main clients?
Has it got great reviews?
Whats the price range in comparison to other products?
From here you might want to compare your competition to give yourself a good bench mark for your services or product range.
Learn from the competition by asking yourself these questions:
Who are your competitors
What type of presence do your competitors have in the form of social networking, directory listings or marketing?
Don’t copy what your competitors are doing, just get some ideas as to what works.
What’s compelling about your competitors online presence?
Does your value truly distinguish your competition?
You can also add different types of digital media techniques to enhance your online presence. These may be in the form of,
Video – A talk about your services or helpful information people can use.
Graphics – Adding good graphics that have been designed professionally can help with promotions, brand, sales or services.
Photography – Great images can say a thousand words. Getting your images working for your business is crucial with today’s standards.
Presentations – If you are a dab hand at making presentations for insightful information. Use these on your website.
Remember you can add these on your social and directory profiles.
Engage customers with holistic online identity
Once you have set up all your online network sources, they should all be working for you in a way that interlinks. This makes it easy for customers to browse through your networks and really get a feel for what you’re all about.
Each channel conveys a consistent message
holistic online interlinking
All your channels have your business basics and include links back to your website and other channels. This will give you a reinforced and personal journey through to each online presence.
Customers may seek alternative channels to ask more questions. All your channels may not answer all the questions the customer may have. By interlinking all your channels, you can be sure to meet all your customers needs.
Keep your online presence up to date by checking on your current working hours, address, phone number, blog updates, links and network interactions. Remember to ask customers for feedback by letting them know you appreciate all their reviews.