No matter what industry they’re in, small businesses can benefit from a good online strategy. Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t.
The good news is that the reasons are simple and so are the solutions.
One: Tick Box Marketing – Also known as the ‘build it and they will come’ strategy, many businesses feel that having a website is enough. It isn’t – everybody else has got one too. Having a Twitter account or a Facebook profile isn’t enough either – everybody’s got those too. You need to devote time, energy and resources into promoting your website both online and off.
Two: A Website for You – Your website isn’t for you, it’s for your prospective customers. Your customers want simple information that helps them make more informed decisions. They want to be able to find your contact details easily. They want to be able to make their easily through your site. They don’t want to be made to think. If you’re not sure that your website is up to scratch then you need to ask. In the meantime, ask yourself, ‘what will my customers want to know before making a buying decision’?
Three: No Content – A well-developed website gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and attract visitors in search of solutions. Good websites deliver informative or entertaining content that engages visitors. What content could you add that will show that you know your onions? Think written content, audio and even video. And make sure you keep the content fresh – trying using blogging software like WordPress to make this simple to do in-house.
Four: Bringing Offline Ideas Online – Advertising doesn’t work the same way online as it does offline. People don’t read text the same online as they do in a newspaper or magazine. People don’t find information in the same way online. Do your homework, find good examples of businesses in your industry that are succeeding online – get inspired by them.
Five: You’re Not Active – Even if you pay no attention to the Internet that doesn’t mean that your prospective customers don’t. Take travel for example. Whether you like it or not, if you’re in the travel industry people are rating and reviewing your offering right now. What forums, websites or social media are people using to discuss you or your industry? What tools are they using to find businesses like yours? You need to know what’s going on online, and for that you need to get active.
Six: You Don’t Know the Basics – If you were born before 1980 you’ll be excused for not knowing how Google ranks websites, what Adwords is or why social networking is important. But if you don’t, now’s the time to learn. Attend a course. Hire a consultant for an hour to explain the basics. Spend time in online business forums.
Seven: You’re Not Doing Anything – If you don’t have an online presence, now is the time to get started. It costs less than ever and more people are using the Internet to find services and research businesses. If online searchers can’t find you – even if they’re only 10% of your potential customers – then you won’t get that business.