Written by Hayden Myers
Most people now accept that having an online presence is crucial to the success of a new business that is trying to find its first customers and start growing. However, too many people spend a great deal of effort in creating their website, and then simply cross their fingers and wait for something to happen. But with so much competition and ‘noise’ out there, just having a website is no longer enough – you need to make continuous efforts to market it and promote your product, just like you do in the offline world.
We’ve broken the process down into a few questions to help you better understand what it takes for a website to do the job you want it to – of selling your product or service – and how to do it well.
Is your website mobile- and user-friendly?
A lot of business owners have a clear idea of what they want their website to look like – and that often includes things like company colors and large images, attractive fonts and other stylistic elements. That’s all well and good, but what’s it like for a first time user who comes across your site and is looking for an answer to their question? If they’ve landed on your site, it’s likely because they are looking for a solution to a specific problem; and if your website doesn’t immediately provide a clear path to them finding the answer, your pretty images are not going to keep them browsing your site for long. Above all else, your website has to be simple to navigate, logical in its flow, and easy to read on whatever device a potential customer is using to access it – or they’re going to go elsewhere. If someone visits your website at 10pm when there’s no-one available to answer the phone, can they still find the info they’re looking for?
Does your website attract relevant traffic?
This is where search engine optimization is so important – there’s no point in attracting thousands of views a day if none of those visitors are going to buy from you. What you want your website and its content to do is attract people who are specifically looking for the service you provide, in the area you can provide it, and at the price you’re offering.
Let’s use a slightly oversimplified example to illustrate this. Imagine there are two websites offering handmade children’s shoes in Siena, Italy. One has thousands of pictures of their shoes, and not much else. The other has fewer images, but it has a blog that mentions their location and surrounding towns, the keywords ‘handmade children’s shoes’, ‘affordable children’s shoes’, ‘quality shoes for children in Siena, Italy’ etc. etc. If you were Google, which site would you be more likely to direct someone from Siena to if they typed in the search phrase: affordable children’s shoes near me? This is what the basic level of SEO contains, and it’s an important thing to remember when you are writing, designing and launching your website because it doesn’t need to cost you anything.
In the real world of course, things aren’t quite so simple. In all likelihood, you probably have competitors who already have content-rich websites of their own, and your strategies will have to run a bit deeper. This is when it’s a good idea to find a partner that can bring professional SEO marketing services to the table. Make sure to choose a company that has a proven track record of giving their clients a good return on their investment!
Can your customers interact with you on their favorite social media platform?
Having a well-maintained social media presence is another way of communicating with your potential customers on their own terms and in a format they enjoy. Best of all, it’s usually free – so take advantage of the exposure it can give you. Here are a few examples:
- Ask happy customers to share their experiences and engage with them in a friendly but professional manner.
- Run contests and giveaways to attract new fans and inform them of special offers from time to time.
- Remember that many of your customers run their own businesses too – so offer them some free SEO exposure through a backlink to their site on your testimonials page so you both win!
- Keep an eye out for trending topics and hashtags that relate to your industry for some potential mass exposure
Marketing a new business online is a constantly evolving process, part art and part science – but it can be a richly rewarding learning experience too. The more you put in, in terms of research, educating yourself and growing your online footprint, the greater those rewards will be!
About the author: Hayden Myers, blog owner & avid guest poster. She runs a blog giving advice to bloggers and small business owners, she is a business fanatic with a passion for helping others with marketing, online businesses, start-ups, and finance tips and advice.