Three Key Elements To A Small Business Website Marketing Strategy
How help your small business make more connections to potential customers
By Cary Weston
Let's face it - when you say you want your website to rank better and higher in search engines, what you're really saying is you want to see more traffic, get more leads, and to make more money.
As businesses focus more on their online marketing and communication presence, the topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - or how you rank when relevant searches are made online for your products and services - is becoming more main stream in everyday discussions.
But often times, while the intent is good, the questions are usually wrong.
For instance, many of the calls or emails I receive regarding SEO are asking how much will it cost or how long will it take to "do SEO". Of course, anyone looking to "do SEO" are in the same frame of mind as those looking to "do Twitter" or "do the Facebook" for their business.
There are details that change with every client, every website, and every project that we engage in so that success can be measured.
To be successful with any website marketing or SEO project, there are three fundamental areas that must work in tandem:
1. You have to be found
2. You have to connect
3. You have to communicate
Let's quickly explore these three elements and what they can mean for your business.
1. YOU HAVE TO BE FOUND
Speaking in the language of your customer is a key component to being found and having online success. Are these the phrases /language that your actual customers (or desired customers) are using? Often, businesses use terminology that industry is familiar with but customers do not use. In a search to find new customers, using language that they use is critical. Yes there are key structural and design elements to make a website search engine friendly, and using the language of your customers is the beginning of making any process succeed.
2. YOU HAVE TO CONNECT
Once you've been found and a user has clicked to land on your site, you have to connect quickly with their needs. Organizing your site based on the needs, questions, and resources sought out by your customers is the best way to do this. Forget about telling your story and sharing the details of your business on the home page. You want to connect, not promote. Configuring content and menus to match the needs of the customer is where the connection takes place. Also, it's not enough to just have words and photos - you have to be obvious on the call to action. Make it easy for folks to say YES by giving big bold visual cues for how to act and use short contact forms (4 or 5 fields max) liberally throughout your site to make it easy and obvious for folks to request more info.
3. YOU HAVE TO COMMUNICATE
You've invested time, energy, and money to ranking well, getting traffic, and growing your leads. But not every lead results in a sale instantly. So what are you doing with the lead information you're gathering? You should be logging email addresses into a program for consistent outreach to connect with folks who have an interest in your business. Think of this as an hour glass. Your new leads is like pouring sand into the hourglass. You keeping the emails and creating an ongoing outreach is the same as narrowing the hole through which the sand falls. Not doing so will require more and more sand to be added in order to find new sales opportunities.
Again - your real goal is more traffic, more leads, and more money. So consider these questions:
1. What metrics are you currently using to measure traffic, referral sources, content, and overall site use for your website?
2. What time or stretch of the year is your peak lead, inquiry, or sales season?
3. On average, how many leads do you get on a weekly basis during this season from your website?
4. Assuming that your answer to #3 is not where you want it to be (and by initiating this conversation I'll guess it's not) what is your goal for leads and bookings? (This is the core of expectation management)
So when it comes time to focus on your search engine rankings and website marketing don't just look for a package price or ask how long a program will take to work. Think about who you are, who you want to attract, and what you'll do once they actually come to your site.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, Maine
Company's Web: www.sutherlandweston.com
Company's Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWMC_inc
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/caryweston
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