A few simple tweaks can bring you closer to your customers online and in real life.
Pop quiz: Where’s the first place your customers are going to go to learn more about your business?
Hint: The answer starts with www.
A good website is an integral part of your business; however, according to the 2015 State of Small Business Report, more than 40 percent of small business owners don’t place much stock in their online presence.
A good website can positively impact how your target market and prospects perceive your business and can help establish credibility, generate leads, support your customers, and increase your business revenue and bottom line.
So, what exactly is a good website? It’s not based on bells or whistles or even how your site physically looks. Good websites are simply those that make it easy for customers to find the information they need, which in turn, make it easy for businesses to succeed.
It’s relatively easy to create a good website simply by following a few easy-to-do tips:
Static layouts may look good on a computer screen, but they cause huge problems for device users.
Many of your potential customers will be researching you via their smartphone or tablet rather than computer desktop, and therefore, it’s important to use a responsive layout that automatically adjusts its look based on the device the site visitor is using.
Make it easy for people to contact you
Your business phone number, address and email address should be prominently featured on your site so that potential customers can easily reach you.
Don’t bury it at the bottom of a page or hide it behind drop-down menus. Consider placing this information on EVERY PAGE because if site visitors can’t reach you quickly, they’ll move on to a competitor who makes it easy for them to get in touch.
Use SEO to help visitors find your site
Can your potential customers find your business with a Google search? If you’re not using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques on your website, your listing is not going to appear on the first page of results.
Unfortunately, only 30 percent of small business owners use SEO for their sites, which greatly restricts their online visibility. SEO isn’t as complicated as it may seem, and there are many online resources like this beginner’s checklist from Moz that can teach you the basics.
Even if all you can do is to add your town name and neighborhood name to your title tags, that’s a reasonable start. Fleshing out your Google My Business account will help, too.
You don’t have to become an SEO expert overnight, or ever. If you’re using the WordPress platform for your business website, look into WordPress SEO resources and services. It’s free, effective and super-easy to use.
Let them testify
People like you. They really, really like you. Use those positive customer service stories as testimonials on your website.
A testimonial or two right below a contact form can double the leads generated. If your business is blessed with more than five or six really positive reviews or testimonials, make a whole page of your site for them. Of course, ask permission before you use someone’s name or photograph.
Want more testimonials? Ask for testimonials and permission to use them on your site right after you’ve just given a customer a “Wow” moment. When you’ve just shown them their new pool or shown them you can save them a few thousand on their taxes, they’re most likely to say yes to giving a testimonial. Especially if you mention how much it would help your business.
Get email subscribers.
Roughly half of small business owners use email marketing to reach their customers. Your business email list is a tremendous asset that allows you to directly reach your customers and others who have already expressed an interest in your business, and it’s pretty easy to build and improve that list.
Use your website to build that list by embedding opt-in notices in your site. These notices give visitors the opportunity to share their email address with you so they can receive regular communication from your business. Try placing these opt-ins:
- At the top of the navigation column (the skinny section just to the right or left of your main content area)
- In the footer of every page on your site
- At the close of your blog posts (above the comments section)
- As a pop-up or a slider. Set the pop-up to show just once a week, and only after people have been on your site for a minute or two. That will make it less annoying.
Too much text can drive visitors away from your site. Make sure your site has great images that tell your story. Use live video (via Periscope) and prerecorded video (via YouTube) to show your products and services in action, provide training opportunities or simply build relationships by allowing potential customers to see the personal side of your business.
A good website brings you closer online and in real life
These simple tips can turn your website into a mutually beneficial resource for both you and your customers. Your customers benefit from better and easy-to-find information, and your business benefits from relationships that bring about sales leads and overall customer goodwill.
Give them a try and let me know how it works out.