If you work for yourself, your business is your pride and joy. You put in long hours and plenty of physical and mental effort to make that business work. Yet, small business customers say that it takes more than this for a business to thrive!
In today’s world, small business survival and success needs an engaging digital presence – a presence that connects your business to your audience, and offers opportunities to convert that audience into customers and sales. The most successful small businesses I speak with have an appealing, effective and mobile-friendly website, one that builds valuable leads, supports those all-important sales and nurtures brand loyalty.
Here are some tips to build your online presence and create a thriving business.
Simple and effective concepts can make your small business’ website resonate from the ground up. For example, simplicity always beats complexity. Keep what’s on your website relevant and easy to find with customer-focused language, short sentences and bullet points that convey lots of information in a simple way.
Once visitors land on your site, you’ve got limited time to convince them to take the next step. This is what experts refer to as the three-clicks rule; if people can’t find what they need within three clicks, they move on!
Word of mouth counts too. The more people shopping for your products, the more likely others will follow suit. So show off publicity and testimonials from happy customers. Avoid the heavy-handed “BUY NOW!” approach. Instead, win them over by showing them the benefits of what you have to offer.
Nurture your leads through a step-by-step process that builds a connection. A great way to do this is encouraging your visitors to provide their online contact details by offering a free e-book or trial. Email marketing software such as MailChimp or a customer relationship manager like Infusionsoft capture valuable customer information so you can keep in touch, increase your brand recognition and foster trust.
Once you’ve built a connection, small businesses tell us that making contact once a week is a good benchmark. Send bonuses or gifts to your most engaged customers, and respond to their feedback and requests about what your small business offers.
Good quality products or services are essential, but customers find out about what you have to offer through the information on your website. So, quality content can make all the difference!
E-books and industry reports are a great example, as they can help your business position itself as an expert, building your brand image. Cheat sheets and checklists are less time-consuming to create and tell potential customers that you’re genuinely interested in helping them.
Videos are also a great way to showcase products or services and how they can make a difference. Keep them short and sweet; video marketing has one of the highest conversion rates of all marketing instruments, especially if the videos are well-made.
The final piece of the puzzle is measuring the success of your digital marketing efforts. Small businesses can get useful feedback with Google Analytics, a free analytics and measurement tool. Once you’ve worked out what your business goals are – leads, engagement goals, purchases and so on – you can use this tool to come up with the hard metrics to help you reach your business goals.
Tracking your performance, identifying what works and watching your small business hit those goals over time can be rewarding for your business, and also give you the satisfaction of watching your hard work pay off.
Nicolette Maury, Vice President and Country Manager, Intuit Australia