Are you making the two most common online small business marketing mistakes? You want to promote your local business, and you probably even have a website. Maybe a gorgeous website. It may have cost you a bundle to build. But you’re not seeing much in terms of results… Read on for two reasons for that, and three steps towards fixing it.
Chances are that your fancy website designer knew little or nothing about online marketing for small businesses — or any business for that matter. They’re great at designing beautiful images and websites that will wow your visitors. But will your visitors be inspired to actually buy from you? Not so likely.
Why not? Well… Two reasons.
1) Your website isn’t built for persuasive power.
It’s one thing to have your visitors think, “Ooooh, what a beautiful website! I want one of those!” And an entirely different thing to have them think, “I’ve got to have one of those widgets — now!” or “This is the perfect lawyer (chiropractor, restaurant, etc.) for me!” See the difference? You want them to want your goods and services, not your website — unless you’re in the business of selling websites, that is.
2) Your ideal customers aren’t finding your website
Sure, there may be people who come across it on occasion, but they’re not necessarily the people you want. What you want is people who want what you have to offer, and want it now.
So how can you get better results? How can you promote your business more effectively? For starters, by getting a website makeover. There are three major components that will probably have to change. Still, the good news is that you may well be able to keep most of your beautiful website intact. Unless it opens with a splash screen. Here’s what you want instead:
a) Get a way to connect with your customers:
A key to promoting your business is what’s called a “squeeze page” — a powerful offer and call to action that will get people to sign up for your mailing list so you can actually market to them — whether they’re currently visiting your website or not.
At the heart of that, whether it’s on a separate squeeze page or just prominently displayed on every page of your website (and it should be on both), is a customer capture form, where visitors can type in their email address and sign up for a newsletter, which will then be delivered to their inbox regularly on autopilot by way of an autoresponder. No amount of other online small business marketing pyrotechnics can make up for missing this key step.
b) Inspire your prospects to take action
This step comes straight from marketing basics 101 and is true for online as well as offline marketing. Instead of focusing on “branding” as most websites do… let the customer know how YOU can deliver what THEY want. And that you can do it faster and/or better than the competition. Think about what makes you special in a way that your customers may appreciate, and make that the heart of your website message.
c) Help your customers find you
Once you have everything in place, it still won’t be worth a dime unless your prospective ideal customers are actually able to find you. So how can you accomplish that? Make sure your website is optimized for the kind of search terms your customers are likely to use when they’re looking for what you have to offer.
And how do you do that? First you find out what those terms are. Then you make sure those words appear in a lot of places on your website. Ideally, they should be in your domain name as well. If that’s not possible, at least put it in your website title, and at the beginning of every page.
There’s more, of course. You can accelerate the process of having people find you. Various online small business marketing strategies, many of them inexpensive or free, can help you do that. But first you need the basics in place. These tips will give you quite a head start and a good idea of why things aren’t working the way you were hoping for. Follow these key steps and make your website deliver the goods you’ve had it built for, which is to promote your business and get more customers.
by Elisabeth Kuhn