I want to address a very common problem I see and it’s costing a lot of businesses money. I see this time and time again and it saddens me to see how many businesses are losing money because they are making these two simple mistakes. It’s like dumping water in a funnel with holes in it.
Are there holes in your online marketing?
Is your website not generating the leads that it should be?
Are your online marketing efforts built on a solid foundation?
You Must Start with a Solid Foundation
Your house needs to be built on a solid foundation, right? Well, so does your online marketing, the foundation being your website. Your website should be the main hub of all your online marketing.
Whether you are marketing online or offline, you must have a solid foundation in place. If not, you could be wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The base of the pyramid is your website. This is the most important piece of your online real estate. It should also be the most powerful. Your website must be effective and designed for the end-user in mind. It’s not about you, it’s about the solution your product/service provides. Highlight the benefits you offer and why they should chose you over the competition.
Your website is step #1.
Unfortunately, this is where a lot of small businesses fail. I see so many poorly designed websites these days and just a few small changes could double your revenue from your online marketing. Some of these websites are at the top of search engines and I know they are generating traffic, but also know they are not converting that traffic. Well, not as well as they could be.
When I say “design”, I mean two things;
- The actual design/layout of the website.
- The message you are trying to portray on your website (the written word).
The actual design is important and must be user-friendly. The user should be able to navigate the website with ease and find any relevant information with a few clicks of the mouse. I am from the camp where I believe “less is more” for web design.
The copy (written word) is probably the most important part of your website. You want the user to take an action (call for a free consultation/appointment, submit their name/email, fill out the contact form, etc.). This is where the majority of small business websites fail. You must build your website with the end user in mind.
You must answer these questions with your website content;
- What is in it for the end user?
- What are the benefits you offer?
- What is your USP?
- Why should I do business with you?
- Why should I believe you?
- Why should I act NOW?
You only have a few seconds to grab their attention, you better make a good, quick first impression. Typical websites convert at just 3%, meaning you should be generating 3 leads per 100 website visitors. You’re tracking this, right? If not, you should be. Have your webmaster install Google Analytics (free) at least, so you can do some type of tracking.
Your website must be effective, not pretty. It can be both, but the effective part is what you should aim for. I remember reading a quote years ago about web design, and it is so true;
Pictures tell, words sell
The written word sells your product, service, offering and/or widget. The content on your website is very important for success and I recommend spending the extra money on a professional copywriter. Do not skip this step. Answer those questions above and you’ll be ahead of your competition.
Your Online Reputation is Your Reputation
I could make an argument that this is as important as the design of your website. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending money online (SEO, PPC, Facebook, etc.) or offline (TV, radio, billboards, etc.) people ARE researching your business BEFORE making a call inquiring about your products/services. In fact, in this study, 67% of people read 1-6 reviews before forming an opinion on a business.
It is pointless to spend money on any type of marketing/advertising if your online reputation is spotty. This is very often over looked and some business owners feel if they ignore the reviews, they are not there. Unicorns die when this happens. Don’t ignore this.
Monitor What is Being Sent
Monitor the review websites like Yelp, Google+ & Yahoo (among others) to see what is being said about your brand. I believe in responding to every review; positive or negative and wrote a blog post explaining why here.
Why not take a proactive approach and play offense, not defense?
Ask For Reviews
Every business should have a review generating strategy in place. Online reviews are very important and a recent study shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as mush as personal recommendations. Almost 3/4 people? Please don’t overlook this, it’s extremely important.
You can never have too many online reviews. Once posted, these reviews last forever.
Turn the Faucet On
- You have an effective, well-optimized website — check!
- You have a solid reputation in place — check!
Now it is time to start sending traffic to your website…
I also advise having a lead capture system in place on your wesbite to increase conversions, but wanted to cover the basics today — a well optimized website and a solid reputation. Get these two in place and I would not be surprised if your revenue increased 10% for a small business (depending on website traffic).
Another tip: Make sure you are tracking your marketing efforts because “You can’t improve, what you don’t measure “.
So before marketing/advertising on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TV, radio, billboards, mailers, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest or holding a sign on the side of the road, have the basics down first. You are wasting your marketing dollars by not having a solid foundation.