Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Growing Your Business Online

These days, nothing is more important to businesses than a strong online presence. Social media presence, and more importantly, a website provides an additional selling platform for your business. The average Australian spends over 10 hours online each day. How many people do you know that spend this much time browsing through a store? If your business isn't online, you could be missing out on potential leads.

We aren't just talking about social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, we’re also talking about websites. A website is the most basic form of online presence your business should have. When people are looking for a business, what do they do?? They Google it! If you’re business isn't there, potential customers may walk through your competition’s door. 

If you want to grow your business online, having a website is the first and most important step you should take. Not only are websites cost effective advertising methods, it provides a greater return on investment over time.

1.       Market your website!!
The single most important step when establishing a website is marketing it! So many businesses establish an amazing website, and expect customers to be able to find it instantly. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Simple things like having your website on all of your stationary, signage, advertising and your email signature are easy ways to effortlessly market your website. It is also important to investigate search engine optimisation and other ways to market your website online through key search engines such as Google.

2.       Make sure you have an Analytics program
There is no point investing in a great website and not measuring the results. Programs such as Google Analytics is a free program that enables you to investigate how visitors locate your website, how long they stay on your website, which pages they are looking at and most importantly, the bounce rate. You can also find out where your visitors are located!!

3.       Provide key information at their fingertips
Now that you have people landing on your website, you need to remember, your customers are going to your website to find a solution. Whether that be to buy something they need, or just to find out more information about your business before they enquire. The first 7 seconds that a potential customer is on your website is crucial, so remember to provide everything they need on the homepage so they don’t have to go looking for it. This includes contact details, business hours, easy to read menus and a clear indication of where they can find further information on a particular product or service.

4.       Provide valuable, useful and UP TO DATE information
How many websites have to been to only to find they have “Merry Christmas 2011” or “Business Award Winner 2009”? Having an up to date website positions your business as a valued resource. It is essential that your website provides relevant content, sells your services and positions you as a subject matter expert. Think about your customers, and potential customers, and what they would want to know, after all they will be the one’s looking to your website for that solution.

5.       A picture speaks a thousand words
If you’re having trouble putting pen to paper, why not try images, an infographic, or even a video? Online tutorials are really popular, and provide value for your customers. Again, think about your customers and what they want to know and see.

6.       Make your website mobile friendly
I read a statistic the other day that said there are more than 6.8 billion people on the planet, 5.1 billion of them own a mobile phone, however only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.* Despite being quite a worrying statistic, it identifies the opportunity for mobile websites. Other less worrying statistics I found were 94% of people research a product or service on a smart phone, 67% of people say a mobile friendly sites makes them more likely to buy a product or use a service, and 48% say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly with 40% saying they turn to the competition.**

*Source: Mobile Marketing Association Asia.

**Source: Compuware 2011