To business owners, it might feel like the hard work of actually creating a website is the biggest hurdle on their way to developing and implementing their digital marketing strategy. I would absolutely advocate that your website is the digital hub of everything you do, but to web designers and marketers, creating a new website is probably the easy bit. The fun begins when we try promoting your website and getting your website found in the exponentially congested world wide web. In this blog we’ll explore the things small business owners can be doing to help get their website found by their current customers and their potential customers, with the ambition of generating more leads and more sales.
I should say at this point, that this list is not exhaustive. This summation includes some of the more successful strategies, and less of the not so successful strategies that many businesses, ourselves included, have invested time in to, fruitlessly. We will always be honest with our customers – marketing is about trial and error. If anything, this list should give you some guidance about things to try first.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, Organic Search, Google Search)
Maybe you’ve never heard of SEO, maybe you have come across the phrase and dabbled, or perhaps you’re a seasoned veteran of keyword research and page optimisation. Whatever your level of experience and expertise, there’s always something new to learn because the field of SEO is forever changing. For those less initiated “SEO” refers to the time, effort and skill involved in helping your website list as high as possible, organically (i.e without paying to appear at the top), in a Google search for specific keywords and phrases. As you may have guessed, there is usually significant value in appearing at the top of a Google search because Google is used so frequently to help people find the thing they are looking for on the internet, and appearing at the top of a search will increase the chances of someone visiting your website. It’s a bit difficult to delve in to every aspect of SEO because it is such a huge field, but there are a few basics that business owners can gain knowledge of and implement.
- Firstly, Google will heavily penalise websites that aren’t mobile-responsive. If your website isn’t mobile friendly (i.e easily viewable on a mobile phone), the Google search algorithm won’t like your website very much and won’t rank it quite so highly.
- Secondly, you should take some time to consider what the keywords for your business are and build content on your web pages that relates to that terminology.
- Thirdly, Google loves fresh content. So, invest some time in getting your website up to date. Blog regularly about interesting topics and reach out to key influencers in your industry with your blog and see if you can get it hosted on other people’s websites, with a link to your website. That will help in two ways.
- Primarily, it will help drive some traffic to your website and people might enquire about your services.
- Additionally, Google will favour your website more if it can see that it is trusted by higher ranking websites. There are many more factors that might help your website rank better for keywords on Google.
Give us a call on 01604 419776 and we’ll be happy to chat about our SEO packages.
Paid Search (Pay Per Click, Google Adwords)
There is a slightly quicker, and somewhat easier, way to appear at the top of a Google search and that’s to create a Google Adwords account and manage a pay per click (ppc) campaign for your website. You’ll likely have encountered pay per click when you’ve searched for something on Google and you see a small green icon indicating an “Ad”. An Adword campaign works on the basis of “bidding” to appear in the top few places of a search list. The higher your maximum bid, the more frequently you are likely to appear in the “Ad” section. Assuming your Ad is built correctly, the more often your website will be clicked on. But it’s quite easy for budgets to be swallowed in a short space of time. Our top tip is to keep your maximum bid fairly low. There’s nothing wrong with appearing in positions 3, 4 or 5 of the Ad section. You’ll pay less for bids and clicks and get better value for money.
However, you also need to carefully consider the web page that the pay per click campaign is sending traffic to. That’s where landing pages can prove hugely valuable. A landing page is a web page that sits within the domain of your website, but the design of the page and the content is geared around a very specific marketing message. The purpose being to help create a flow from Google search to Adword click to landing page. We can help you manage an effective pay per click campaign. And we can help you create brilliant landing pages.
Easy to begin, difficult to master, social media can prove to be a valuable means of driving website traffic. We’ve blogged plenty about social media and best practice, and you can find some useful articles here, but suffice to say that social media marketing should be doing two things for your business: either building brand awareness or generating sales leads. Getting the balance right can be tricky, as you naturally want customers to buy from you. But if you sell directly too much, you’ll annoy your potential customers.
If you operate in the B2C marketplace, then overtly selling is more commonplace and consumers will expect it. If you’re in the B2B marketplace, then overtly selling might put your customers off. So make sure to find time to engage with topical discussion and enrich the lives of your social followers. Creating great blog content that people want to read is a great way to enrich the lives of your potential customers and to get them visiting your website. Create a blogging strategy, with a collection of topics that you blog about, and use social media to power the reach of your blogs.
Email marketing is not dead, read here for proof. Email marketing is another means of getting your content out to people engaged with your brand. Use your website to gather email addresses and market your business by sharing your latest updates, your newest products/services and any special offers you have, to help people who have previously visited your site to pay another visit. Who knows, they might buy from you on a subsequent visit.
Your email marketing strategy will almost entirely depend on what you are selling and your sales process. If you are selling transactional items that people are likely to buy online, then make use of email marketing to actively sell your products. If your business model typically relies on a consultation process, either in person or over the phone, then it will be more important to engage your potential customer base with interesting content like top tips and blogs to help them build trust in you. We love email marketing, maybe you’d like to sign up to our newsletter, here?
Direct Website Traffic
If someone directly types your website in to an internet browser, you’ve gathered a visitor via Direct Traffic. Great news, because you’ve not had to pay to get them there, they’ve not chosen you versus a list of other competitors on a Google search and you’ve not had to go through a time-consuming blogging process to generate their interest. They’ve come straight to you. If you’re able to get lots of people coming directly to your website, you’ve likely engaged them sufficiently that they feel some form of brand loyalty towards your business, or they’re super engaged with what you do and the hub of new and exciting information and content that you regularly post. So make sure you do all, or some, of the things mentioned above to generate good brand awareness through digital means.
But, don’t forget to neglect some of the offline forms of marketing that can help to build your brand reputation. Make sure you’ve got good quality business cards on you all the time to give to potential customers. Print things like leaflets and brochures in a high quality finish and make use of them as assets. Make sure you attend networking groups and get your personal brand out there as much as your business brand. Deliver great customer service and your customers will continue to flock to you.
Author: Tom Jullings
I work with clients to improve the digital marketing experience they present to their customers – from web design and SEO to outreach marketing and social media.
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