The Internet is highest level of communication we currently have. It gives us the power to reach out to millions of people and share information like never before. If you own a business and have been questioning if you need an online presence, the simple answer is ‘Yes you do’.
I have meet a few people over the years that feel the Internet is overwhelming or simply think their business is to small to be apart of it. Others feel they don’t have the resources to have a site built and then continue with the on going maintenance. If this sounds like you, I am going to try to convince you otherwise as you could be potentially turning away customers without even knowing it.
Today more than 4.3 billion people use the internet. 4.3 billion people shopping online and looking for services they can take advantage of. The days of looking up the phone book is over, people are using search engines such as Google to find the businesses they need. So if you are not there, they can not find you.
A website for a small business does not have to be a huge task. In most cases a site that displays your services and contact information is enough. The most important thing is ranking well with search engines. The better you rank the more opportunity you have to convert your site visitors into potential customers.
- Reach a larger audience who potentially want your business
- Display more information than a print ad
- Cheaper than printed or radio advertisements
- Integrate with social networking and email marketing
- Websites are expandable – grow your site as your business grows
- Business information available 24/7
- Securing your brand online
- Keeping content fresh
- Crashes and uptime
- Bad publicity
The positives definitely out weight the negatives and the negatives can be controlled with the correct strategies in place. I’m not saying there won’t be difficulties when owning a site, potential "hackers" will always be a risk, but expanding your business will always have challenges.
What should your site contain?
As I mentioned before, for a site to be effective it doesn’t need to complicated. It does how ever need to include a few basic components.
Being able to navigate a site easily and intuitively, usually determines if a visitor hangs around or not. Content is important but the content is useless if you can’t navigate to it. Simple navigation that works is key to a successful site.
Easy to read content
Did you know there is a standard of writing that helps determine the readability of your content? It’s called the Flesch Reading Ease test and most sites do not follow it. The test rate’s your content from 0-100, with 0-30 being best understood by university graduates and 90-100 easily understood by an 11 year old student. Time magazine scores an average of 52 for some comparison.
If your content is too complicated your users may not easily understand the message you are trying to convey. If your business is to do with children products, it would be best to follow writing standards such as these to determine if your target audience will get the most from your site.
Organised display of services
At the end of the day your visitors are at your site to gather information about the services you offer. This is your most important content. Services should be displayed with organisation in mind and should stand out from the rest of your content. Keep the language simple but engaging.
Visible contact information
There is no point having great services and content if your clients can’t contact you. Having a dedicated section on your site for all business contact details including social network profiles is a must. The details need to be easy to find.
Working contact form
Include a working contact form in the contact details section. This allows clients to email you without the extra effort of using their own email client. The less clicks to perform any task the better.
The most important thing to remember when designing a site is to keep simple and usable. People will not want to use your site if it is not intuitive.
Social networking is like free advertising for your business. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or another network, all of them have a place within your digital marketing strategy. Connecting with people on a daily basis is not only good for business but is how you make long term clients. If you publish regular blog posts on your site, social networks are a great way to promote these articles. By doing so you are constantly pushing more traffic to your site.
Most social networks also provide paid targeted advertising for a small fee. This means you can display your business ads to defined selection of people who will be interested in you.
I know a lot of people cringe at the idea of email marketing, often thinking it’s pesky spam mail. In fact it is a very effective way to promote your business, services and campaigns. Most people actually enjoying receiving emails from businesses they have invested some sort of time with. Whether it’s viewing your site or reading your blog posts, this all counts as time investment. We aren’t tricking people in to receiving your emails, we asking your viewers if they would like to voluntarily be apart of your mailing list.
Taking advantage of email marketing software is a must for any business. It’s cheap, affordable and global. It allows you to send great information to people who actually want it. Most premium email marketing providers give you ability to track your emails to see who has viewed it and provide insights on which emails do well and those that do not. I get a lot of people say they have no idea when it comes to creating a fancy looking email but most of these services provide drag and drop email builders or any web designer should be able to make you a solid template to get you going.
Due to the immediacy of email, a business can start seeing results within minutes of its emails being sent. Businesses typically have to wait weeks until they see sales come in as a result of print or broadcast campaigns.
Getting people to freely give you their email isn’t always an easy task. Offering something free in exchange has proven to be a successful method. It doesn’t have to be anything major, it could be an electronic guide or e-book, or perhaps a discount on a service. The important thing to remember is, if you want a client to invest in you, you have to invest in them first.
These are just some of the many benefits of being be apart of the ever growing web. Being online doesn’t have to be an expensive task and it isn’t as difficult as it may sound. If you need a website built and curious to see how much it might cost, contact us today and we will be able to do you up a free quote with a great price.