Dealing with small business owners like I do day in and day out, I hear a lot of concerns. “Not enough business”, “not enough web traffic”, “sales are down”. But rarely are small business owners worrying about the things that cause those problems. My father, CEO of Young’s Jersey Dairy, always put this in the mind of his leadership team: “Don’t come to me with problems. Come to me with solutions.”
Why isn’t there enough business? Why aren’t you getting enough web traffic? Why is your Facebook page not converting? Why are sales down? Here’s a list of 5 things that small business owners should be thinking of when it comes to their business and their online presence.
What I Hear: “I’m not getting enough traffic to my website”
More times than not, it’s not the lack of traffic that they are really concerned with – it’s the lack of conversions. There are many ways to get more traffic to your website, but if you can’t convince the visitor to stay on your site long enough to get their information (read: can’t grab their attention) – you will always be fighting a losing battle.
Worry About This Instead: “I need to turn my web site visitors into sales opportunities”
There are multiple ways to go about this problem, but the first thing you want to do is evaluate what your site looks like to an outsider. Take a step back and really look at the ways people land on your site. If they land on your homepage, what message do they get? How long does it usually take to load the home page? (the difference between a site that loads in 5 seconds and 10 seconds is HUGE!) Are there clear call to action statements on your home page? Is it easy to find the contact form (or phone number) from every page?
What I Hear: “I don’t know if Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc are working for me”
If you aren’t using some or all of these social networks to promote your business, this is a whole other problem. But for the sake of this article, I’ll assume that you are on one or all of them. All of these networks speak to different segments of the population. You need to be able to track the return on investment (ROI) of the resources and time spent on being a ‘social company’.
Worry About This Instead: “What conversations can I share on these social networks that will result in more business?”
As I noted above, each of these networks preach to a different segment of the population. You need to spend plenty of time figuring out your voice as a whole in social media. (What are you going to say?)
After you’ve figured that out – you need to modify it to match each different network.
Once you’ve done all that – start seeing what starts conversations, what gets more likes or retweets, etc. Focus on the type of conversations that really drive traffic to your site or to your social outlets. Now you can start better analyzing your ROI of social media. (And of course, using a tool that monitors all your social networks is a huge time saver and will help this process immensely.)
What I Hear: “Why should I spend time on my blog if no one is responding?”
I’ll admit, this is a problem that not only do I hear all the time, but it’s a complaint of my own. I don’t get a ton of feedback on my blog. But I know why I don’t. I don’t blog regularly, I don’t spend time promoting my blog as much as I should and I don’t do things that good bloggers do. But I blog as much as I can because I know that the more content I put on my site about relevant topics, the more likely someone is to land on my site and discover what I can for their business.
For example, a blog post that I recently wrote about how I helped Young’s Dairy with their email marketing birthday club has drawn in a few potential customers. They read the post, were interested in how I could do a similar task for their business and they ended up on the product site I created for my email marketing service.
Worry About This Instead: “How can I use my blog to bring in more viewers and in turn, more business?”
What makes your company interesting? What makes your company different from your competition? What things can you offer viewers/readers on your website? Can you give them a little tidbit of knowledge for free in hopes that they’ll trust you down the road to do some work for them?
These are things your blog should focus on. If you go through the topics that I’ve written about on my blog – you’ll see that most of them are related to services I offer to small businesses. So not only am I continually educating people on what it is Shout It Out Design has to offer, I’m adding searchable content to my site.
What I Hear: “No one fills out my contact forms on my site”
Contact forms, 30 day trials, email subscription forms are al the lifeblood of your website. This is where you’ll make your sale. You want your website to get the viewer interested, not completely make the sale. Give the viewer too much information and they’ll never call for more information.
Worry About This Instead: “Why would someone give me their email address or ask me to contact them?”
You do your best selling on the phone or in person, right? So why would you expect for the text on your website to be a better salesman? Spend time making your website full of information, but don’t overwhelm the user to the point of them not needing you. Encourage the viewer to call or email you for more information should be a prominent part of your website.
And if you are expecting to gain users by having them sign up for an email newsletter, etc – think about offering them something up front for doing so. Whether it’s a free e-book or whitepaper on something you have written, a free ice cream cone or a free website evaluation. Whatever it is – make it valuable.
What I Hear: “The time spent on converting a lead into a sale takes too long. Almost to the point of it not being worth the effort”
It can sometimes be a longer than wanted (or needed) process turning a cold lead into a sale. Someone that fills out a contact form on your website isn’t always ready to sign a contract that day.
Worry About This Instead: “How do I develop a system where cold leads are warm referrals?”
When developing a marketing plan, you need to consider your audience. When I research a product, service or company – I look them up on Twitter, Facebook and their website. I read their blog, I sign up for their email newsletter. I want to get as much information about them as possible before I trust them enough to give them my hard earned money.
So what should you do? Make your website clear, concise and full of information. Of course, you don’t want to overload your website – you want the potential client to write/call/email with questions. Have a blog that touches on some of the different things you do (make sure you update it at least twice a month) and make sure you allow guests to leave comments. Have an informative email newsletter. Keep your social media outlets rolling with plenty of information about your business, your clients and your industry.