I work with a lot of small business. That being said the majority of business owners I deal with are fairly new to the game of having a website, and have not a clue as to where to start. Most also feel that a website, once live, will drive an exorbinant amount of traffic with absolutely no work or future investment… well sorry folks… that just isn’t the case!
This whole blog is therefore dedicated to the newbies, the over expectant business owners, and those that think that search engines, social networks, and websites are magical robots like Rosie (for those youngsters, start watching old cartoons like the Jetsons and you will get the reference)
To be honest, I try to help all of my clients understand this upfront. However sometimes it just doesn’t sink in. So what what are the three things you need to remember as a small business owner about your website?
- Create Content – Every site needs to stay up to date. This means creating content. It can be as easy as a blog post (what I recommend) or as complex as new pages, to your site. Remember you wouldn’t go to a site like Best Buy if they didn’t always have the updated list of products available right? So why should a visitor come to your site if you aren’t informing them of recent changes, sales, or just things you are doing?
- Cultivate Social Networks – Having a Facebook page doesn’t mean you are in a social network. It needs followers. It needs people visiting your page (s) on a regular basis. This means that you as an owner either need to pay for someone to find you friends, or to leverage your existant customers and contacts to build your fan base. Try doing what I call the “donation invite”. Email your past customers and ask them to friend you. Every friend request = $1 to your favorite charity. You would be suprissed how many will join. Then just keep them updated on where you stand. Post on your page “Still looking for XX visitors before we contribute” or “We have already collected $100 for Y charity” they will also get Their friends in on the game. Cross posting your content is always a good idea too.
- Integrate (smartly) your Marketing -In the past it was about getting your store visited. Now over 79% of online shoppers spend at least 50% of their shopping time researching products (according to Powerreviews). Therefore if you aren’t there, or people don’t see you online, the chance of you beating Joe down the street that is is unlikely. Remember, your business card, voicemail greetings, invoices, email signatures, t-shirts, packing slips, everything should have your website url on it. EVERYTHING!, and Yes that means even the pens you hand out. It can also help you cultivate your social networks (every tv ad has them now, why don’t you?)
So there you are. 3 simple, but unavoidable facts of managing your small business website! Trust me there are more that you will face, but start here… you aren’t drinking from the firehose just yet!