With around 50% of consumers searching online before making a purchase decision, getting your business found is no longer a matter of posting flyers under car windscreens at the local supermarket. You need to get online!
Yes, getting online takes some effort, but the chance to connect with 50% more potential customers will almost certainly offer a significant return on investment. That said, there are a number of ways to get online with a small budget .
Your Online Window to the World…
… otherwise called your website, is a 24/7 shopfront that can display business information, news, photos, videos, contact details, maps and the list could go on and on.
When thinking about a new website, you should consult a professional who specialises in not just designing websites, but marketing them. There are some beautiful looking websites out there which simply don’t sell. When getting your website designed, think about the following:
- Calls to action - what is the intended purpose of each page and how are you directing visitors?
- Search engine optimisation – is your design SEO friendly, ie, does it utilise titles, descriptions, alt image tags and keyword rich content?
- Simple is often better - flashy graphics may look cool on TV, but they will quickly distract your visitors from seeing the information you want them to.
You might have heard of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter; combined they receive over 1.1 billion Unique Visits per month and rank 1st, 4th and 16th respectively in terms of the world’s most visited websites.
Facebook offers a Fan Page service to businesses and YouTube and Twitter allow businesses to set up a standard account, all for free. Check out the Facebook Help Centre, Twitter Help Centre or my recent article on You Tube Marketing or information on how to get started.
Are You Well Placed?
Google has recently changed the way their search results appear to put emphasis on local listings via Google Places. For example, if you do a Google search for Darwin electricians you will more than likely see results similar to the image below, with a list of Darwin based electricians, also pinpointed on Google Maps .
Google Places automatically generates listings from popular data sources such as the Yellow Pages and True Local. However they aren’t always accurate so it is essential you manage your Google profile by claiming and updating your Google Places listing. You can easily add coupons, photos, customer reviews and contact details by following the instructions from the Google Help Centre.
Word of Many Mouths
Research shows that over 60% of consumers consult online reviews and over 70% of consumers trust online reviews. This means savvy review marketers can easily influence your customers if you don’t get in first.
Try to encourage your customers to leave reviews by emailing them post-purchase to ask about their experience, running competitions for social media comments or handing out cards with links to your profile on commonly-used review websites.
Sell Products Online
Clearly a plumber can’t fix your leaky tap via an online store, but if your business sells tangible products maybe an online store can help you reach a wider audience. It can also be a way of offering alternate payment options or the ability to buy products that are not currently in stock.
Before getting started with an ecommerce website, you should consider how you will get the product to the customer, how you will manage payments (in particular payment security), how you integrate your stock database with your online store and how your online store will impact on your ability to make face-to-face sales.
An online presence is not just an information portal, it’s an essential part of doing business, connecting with your customers and generating new business. After all, losing 50% of your potential customers to your competitors simply because you aren’t online just doesn’t seem fair now does it?
Zhoom specialises in helping small businesses get a web presence so if you are ready to get online, Contact Us.