First off, Happy New Year!!! Hope you and yours had a fantastic and safe holiday season. We’ve received some really great comments and feedback from many of you in regards to part one of our New Year’s Business Checkup. Many of you have expressed optimism about 2015 and are prepared to buckle down and have your best year ever! If you haven’t read part one, click here when you have some time or maybe after reading this post. In part one we mentioned that we were rolling out a comprehensive, step-by-step, “take you by the hand”, program for helping you have your very best 2015 ever. While we can’t control or help you improve your processes and deliverables from here, what we can do is show you how to generate more sales from your web site and make more money. You can fix a lot of problems with more revenue. Let’s get started…
The Three P’s.
Even though our industry (web development and web marketing) is a technical field, we like to keep things simple whenever possible. This helps you, our clients, and us as well. K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, sweetheart (or stupid depending on your mood). The Three P’s below are simple, but cover a lot of ground:
Without a plan, you’re going to spin your wheels. What is your plan? Are you happy doing the same thing you did last year, expecting different results (Einstein’s definition of insanity) or do have a clear defined goal or goals in mind? Some might be:
- To increase sales 20% year over year
- To hire more employees
- To cut cost of goods sold by 5%
- To find better, more reliable vendors
The list could go on and on as you can imagine. To accomplish any of those goals, you need a plan. Wishing and hoping simply won’t do it. It helps to have vision or a dream, but you need to plan to help put the wheels in motion to accomplish your goals. Start with a simple word doc with some bullet points or a spreadsheet and get moving. If more sales and more money is one of your goals (it should be in any business and hopefully why you’re reading this), you need a fresh supply of leads flowing into your sales pipeline each and every day, week, and month. The next 2 P’s show you exactly how to do this from the perspective of the online world.
Web Presence. It’s a buzzword that live by here and you may here from time to time on your end. What is “web presence”? Basically, it is how you appear to everyone in the world who can find you on the internet. It’s “curb appeal”. This can include:
- Your Web site – How does your web site appear to everyone who visits you on their PC, smartphone or tablet? Is it clean, professional, and easy to use? Or does it have dated technology and poor visual design? Does it have a clear and defined “call to action”? Your web site’s main goal is allow visitors to take some sort of step or action to reach out to you. If it doesn’t, you’re wasting your time. Make it easy for visitors to say “TELL ME MORE!” or “YES, I NEED YOUR HELP”. Is it MOBILE FRIENDLY? When you view your web site on a smartphone or tablet it should fit into the screen upon loading and without “pinching” or zooming in/out. It should almost look like a web app that you’d download in Itunes or Google Play store. It should also have a simple navigation structure and contain only the information that is critical to a mobile viewer. Always consider the audience. The mobile viewer’s motivation is different than that of a desktop visitor. They want critical info only, quickly and an easy way to contact you to learn more. If your web site has 150 pages of technical documents and articles that probably won’t be read, don’t include them on your mobile version. In most cases, it’s not necessary.
- Your Local listings – How does your company appear on your local listings with Google, Bing, etc.? Is your NAP info correct (Name, Address, Phone Number). Did you know that Google and Bing, if you don’t tell them the correct information, will use about 50 other places to find your information? 9 times out of 10, these places are WRONG.
- Your email addresses – Do your email addresses match your domain name? For example, are you using email@example.com when your web site address is www.yourbusiness.com? It should be, whenever possible, firstname.lastname@example.org. Why? Confidence. When your email accounts match your domain name, it instills confidence in a potential customer who might be communicating with you via email when they find you online.
Ok, so you’ve got it together when it comes to your Web Presence. Well done. Your web site is beautiful and does what it is supposed to do. How will anyone find it? The “build it and they will come” approach doesn’t work. The online space is so competitive that you need to be aggressive and proactive within your budget limitations. For the sake of simplicity and time, here are the three primary ways to promote your web site and what you do (online):
- PPC (Pay Per Click) such as Google Adwords® are search results (ads) that have been placed there by advertisers who are willing to pay for clicks on their ads related to the keywords being searched. We’ve all done searches and seen the sponsored ads at the top and side of the search results page: You don’t need a $50,000 marketing budget to participate. For as little as $500-$1000 per month, you can have your fair share of clicks and exposure.
- Organic Search Engine Optimization – Organic Search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms being searched. Simply put, if Google’s algorithm decides that your web page is important enough to display in relation to what’s being “searched” (keyword), you will appear in the search results: How do you get your share of the organic search engine results? The quick and easy answer is “links and content”. You need to create fresh content each and every month related to the main keywords you want to rank on AND you need to put this content (articles, blogs, press releases, videos) both onsite (your web site) and offsite (other web locations). Once you do that, you’ll earn links from the offsite locations BACK to your web site. Google, through their continuous crawling of all content on the web, finds these links and indexes them in their algorithm, applying a quality score to your web site based on the good links you’ve obtained. Better content = Better links = Better rankings.
- Email Marketing – Getting traffic to your site is only part of the equation. Don’t waste this traffic! Allow visitors to sign up for newsletters, valuable articles, promotions, etc. so that you can communicate with them regularly. Promote your company, your products/services, YOUR COMPANY’S PERSONA. By grooming your herd of prospects and clients, you maximize your return on your marketing dollar AND, regardless of what you might have read or believe, email is still one of the kings of direct response marketing. Whether you use Constant Contact or one of the many other vendors, don’t overlook this critical ongoing component. Don’t spam your lists either! Be respectful and offer timely content, delivered on regular (not daily) intervals.
Ok… So, WHAT NOW? How do you apply this information and have your best year EVER??
The best place to start is take a measurement of exactly where you are. Call it “Point A”. Maybe you’ve got it all together and maybe you don’t. How will you know unless you measure every component of your online footprint. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Let us help you by showing you an exact snapshot of your online business. It’s called our “Web Grader Report”. It’s straightforward and will show you:
- Web Presence Report – We’ll grade your site and show you an exact report of whether or not your site is mobile friendly, tagged properly, and formatted as it should be to maximize your potential for success. We’ll also offer some steps you can take (with or without our help) to fix any issues you might have.
Click here for a sample web site presence report
- Organic SEO Report – Our SEO Report will compare your site to your top competitors and tell you exactly how much REAL MONETARY VALUE your site ranks on. We’ll tell you how many links you currently have, your domain scorecard, and how much your web traffic is worth if you had to pay for it. This information is invaluable!
Click here for a sample Organic SEO Report
- Local Report – We’ll go out to all of the major local directories and show you where your listed and what errors might exist. You’ll see exactly what Google sees when they look for your name, address, and phone number to use when indexing your business.
Click here for a sample Local SEO Report
- Blueprint for success – We’ll then create a comprehensive, but easy to read plan that shows you exact steps to improve your web site, flood it with traffic, monitor that traffic, and INCREASE SALES!
Here’s how to get started:
- Click here to complete a simple form and we’ll start working on your Web Grader Report right away.
- Once the report is ready, review the information (we’ll assist you if needed) and Execute the three P’s: PLANNING: Use the report as a blueprint/planning tool to address, correct, and act on any issues you might have. PRESENCE: Make sure, #1, your web site is compliant with the standards mentioned in the report. Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone, it doesn’t matter. Make it a PRIORITY. PROMOTION: Once your web presence is professional, according your needs and budget, promote your site through a combination of Organic SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing if you can afford it. Start small, make adjustments, and MOVE FORWARD. Track incoming leads and manage those leads. If they’re ready to buy now, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. Continue to market to these leads on an ongoing basis (not spam) with useful information they can use and build TRUST. This is an effective long term strategy to grow your business for years to come.
Need more help? We’re always here to help.