In today’s business environment your company is unlikely to thrive if you don’t embrace online. Even those businesses where a physical premise is pretty vital such as cafes, hairdressers and restaurants, having an online presence is crucial for engaging with customers and prospective customers regularly, sharing any changes to the business or to sharing details of latest products, services and initiatives.
Here we bring you 6 top tips to support your online success:
1. Your website
The most important part of your website is user experience (UX). Consider how fast your website loads, you are likely to lose visitors quickly if pages take too long to load; Does your website look good? Grammatical errors, poor quality images or errors on your website can have a huge impact on how you are viewed by your website users; How easy is your site to navigate? Do you have a search function, are contact details displayed clearly, do visitors get a good idea of who you are and what you do from your website? Strong website navigation and design are a worthwhile investment to ensure online success. A basic understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is useful in understanding how best to display images and text so that it can be indexed by search engines.
2. Target Audience
Having a well-defined target market will allow your marketing budget to go further, will drive improved click-through rates (CTR) and will result in a more engaged audience and result in higher conversions. If you don’t understand who you are targeting a lot of time and resource can go to waste. Consider creating marketing personas and looking at who your most engaged customers are to establish where you should target your services and/or products.
3. Cater to mobile users
Although it differs from industry to industry, a large portion of your target audience are likely to be accessing your brand via their mobile phone. They are likely to be viewing your email marketing communications, viewing your website and accessing your social media via their phone so ensure this is factored into to your strategy. Ensure your website is user friendly to mobile users, ensure that your marketing emails display well on mobile devices and ensure any other materials such as whitepapers, newsletters and other documents your customers receive are optimised for mobile use. When creating or updating your website, it is wise to spend some time on your phone navigating through, so you get a good feel for how the website looks and feels to mobile users.
4. Social Media
Firstly, establish which social media platforms are appropriate for your business and be open to the fact that this is likely to change over time. LinkedIn is often considered the most important platform for B2B businesses, whereas Facebook and Instagram are a must for many B2C businesses. It is important to factor some time and resource to dedicate to these platforms and be realistic as to the amount of time available for this task. Social media pages should be branded, updated and refreshed regularly and should contain your contact details. There is nothing worse than landing on a companies Facebook page which has an incorrect telephone number, a website that doesn’t work or has had no new content for two years! Consider a social media management platform like Hootsuite to make your life a little easier here, there are plenty to choose from, Hootsuite being one of the most widely known.
5. Build trust with your customers
Trust is everything! In a sceptical online world, building trust isn’t always easy. Think of trust as a conversion agent! If your prospective customers don’t trust you, they are unlikely to become a paying and loyal customer. Ensure that everyone within your business is helpful, professional and offers a great customer service at all times, ensure your website does not have broken links, is secure and gives a good impression of your business, your goals and what it is you do so well. Don’t underestimate the power of third-party endorsement, Google reviews, case studies and testimonials are all very valuable tools, use them to demonstrate what makes your business great.
6. Get to know your competition
Understanding who your competitors are is important. If your competitors are offering a similar service but at a cheaper price you need to know about this. If this is the case, why? Are you offering more for the spend, a better service or something extra? What products or services are they offering? Perhaps they are offering something which could be a good bolt-on for your business. Who are their suppliers? You may be able to find a more cost-effective provider to work with.
It is worth also keeping in mind that things change very quickly in the online world so be open to change, whether it be changes in how various social media platforms work, a change in regulation which could dramatically change how you communicate with your customers or a change in Google algorithms meaning you may have to make changes to your website(s) to keep up. Working with third party consultancies can prove useful to support you in your online journey. But don’t be afraid of the online world, it can create great value for a business and create access to a new breadth of customers.