6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Of Your Website and The Reasons Why

 

How much does your website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitor’s website? Maybe you’ve already asked yourself and many others these questions regarding your website but did it lead to change and improvement? If you want to ensure success, then make these six questions be the catalysts to turning your website into a leading business performer. If you struggle to answer these questions, then you might just realise why your website is a liability and not the asset it should be.

 

What Problem is Your Website Solving?

 

what problem does your website solve

 

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that someone has. What is that problem? What is the purpose of your business?

  • A dentist’s purpose would be to encourage and practice great oral hygiene while providing a person with a winning smile.
  • A driving instructor would want to get nervous drivers qualified in a stress free, practical environment, in as short a time as possible.
  • A family law firm wants to ensure the security of the children during a marital breakup.

 

Ultimately your website should highlight the problem your business solves as that is why people are looking for your business or service. When people find you, provide them with relevant information that matches their needs.

 

Who is Your Website Solving it For?

 

who is your webiste for

There are far too many people in this world and online to make your website for everyone. Your website is not there to attract 2bn people; let companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon worry about that. Your website it is there to attract a select group, a micro niche of people, who would qualify to receive your products or services.

 

The criteria may be:

 

  • That the person lives within 30 miles of the physical location of your business.
  • Divorced women over the age of 50
  • Men aged between 18 and 35 with income of £30,000
  • Pet owners who take more than 5 holidays a year
  • Retired couples with savings of £250,000+

 

As you can see the groups are completely different. Could you imagine sending a retired couple to a small business website designed for men aged between 18 and 35? By then the days of fast cars and even faster women are usually well behind them. The point is the website content needs to be relevant to the targeted group of people that you are looking to service.

 

Take the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

  • How old are they?
  • What do they look like?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where are they located?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What websites do they use?
  • What do they buy online?
  • How do they find new products or services?
  • What words would they use to find your website?
  • What device do they use to search?

 

If you know your customers well enough then you can answer these questions yourself. Otherwise, create a questionnaire and send an email to ask some of your loyal customers, customers who you would like to replicate, to complete the survey so you have the real answers.

 

How are you solving the problem?

  how does your website solve the users problems In other words what is in it for me, for the ideal client? People don’t look at websites to hear about how your business has invested in a Wide area network for your regional offices. That means nothing and it does not solve the prospective user’s problem.

 

If your business solves the problem of giving people winning smiles. Show it to them. Show what the smile was like before and after and what the patient had to say.

 

For nervous learner drivers, show your pass rate, show a video testimonial of a previous learner who failed with another instructor then came to you and passed first time.

 

If you are a pre eminent divorce lawyer who represents high earning females then highlight a successful case where you have done just that!

 

Your business website should have these results front and center for everyone to see, what practices you put in place, what safety measures are in place, the qualifications that you have. Everything on your website should be there to reinforce you as the best and ONLY person qualified to help them solve their problem.

What’s the most important thing people can get only from you?

 

stand-out-from-the-crowdLet’s not kid ourselves, in most towns there is always more than one choice for a service provider and with the internet, location often does not matter as searchers can access a pool of resources from all over the world. So what is it that makes your business stand out? What is the unique picture that places you and your business head and shoulders above the competition, resulting in them picking up the phone and calling you?

 

That is what you want to highlight: your unique selling proposition. It should be front and centre so that everyone in your target audience, can see exactly why you are the very best at helping them solve their problem.

 

What is your primary conversion goal?

convert-to-new-customers Each business website page should have a different conversion goal or call to action. It could be;

  • to sign up for an email newsletter,
  • click on an advert,
  • share on social media,
  • pick up the phone and call,
  • make an appointment,
  • place an order.

 

Whatever that goal is for the website, the content, structure and design of the website should support that end goal. Why? Because if you have an end goal then you have something to measure against. If your goal is to get people to join your mailing list then you may have a goal to start with of 2% of visitors sign up to your email list. If after a set period of time you assess this and find that less than 1% of people are signing up then you need to make changes to improve on the conversion goal.

 

Websites are living, breathing organisms and are a fundamental part of your marketing arsenal. If you don’t have conversion goals then the website is pretty worthless. Set a goal and test and track your website against that goal. If your website does not meet this goal then think about making changes so that next time it will.

 

How can your ideal customer find your website online?

 

how do you customers look for your website in google

 

With all the effort that goes into developing a website to capture the attention of  a specific target audience, you want to make sure that the key demographic who you can help, can find your website easily. This means that you have to consider how your website is represented and indexed online. This refers to search engine optimisation.

 

Your website helps the user solve a problem, when working out who the ideal target audience was you should have a clear idea of the questions they would ask. For example somebody looking for a dentist might be entering into the search engines;

  • toothache remedies,
  • fix broken tooth,
  • dentist in (YOUR AREA HERE),
  • teeth whitening procedure.
  • price for clear aligners

 

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The keys are;

  1. select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve,
  2. have a good number of people looking for them
  3. choose those that are commercially feasible to target.

 

By getting your website in front of the right people at the right time it means the chances of that individual impacting your conversion goals are much greater.

 

It is absolutely crucial to establish the marketing significance of your website so that you can plan & execute a strategy that provides results for your overall business goals. You also need to make sure it is consistent with your marketing efforts so that the overall business message or brand is seamless.

 

Just like running a business, maintaining a website is an on-going effort, not a one-shot deal. The sooner you realise the commitment, the sooner you will reduce the chances of being disappointed and increase the chances of success.

If you are looking to at least, double the number of leads and sales your website produces, what this video now.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

3 Online Website Tips to Build Trust and Win More Sales.

 Improve the User Experience

 

If you had a shop and the only way customers could access this shop was by climbing three flights of stairs, knocking on the door, then waiting for 30 seconds to be allowed to enter. Then when they finally gain entry they have to fight their way through a complicated maze to reach the check-out. Your shop would probably have very limited footfall, a low sales conversion and very few customers who would come back or recommend you.

 

Clients don’t want to climb up stairs, knock on doors, wait, fight through a maze or see unrelated information.

 

Today’s Clients want exactly what they were looking for, RIGHT NOW!

 

As a business owner, getting targeted visitors on the Internet can be easy. However if you don’t know where to start it can also be very difficult and at times, costly.

 

When you put so much effort into attracting visitors to your website, the last thing you want them to do is to leave before following your call to action, either because they didn’t like your content, were confused by the layout or it simply wasn’t clear what they were supposed to do next.

 

Google’s goal is to provide the user with the most relevant and best search experience possible.

 

When a user lands on your site, courtesy of a Google search, will they be satisfied? Will your information be relevant to that search term? If over a period of time people leave your website prematurely then your Bounce Rate will increase.

 

Google is inclined to believe that a web page with a high bounce rate is not answering the users’ search queries, so the search engine will eventually move your page further down the ranking and replace it with another page that it feels can provide a greater experience for its customer.

 

Develop and Implement a Content Markting Strategy

 

content marketing

 

On the Internet the content you create is the fuel for your website. Without the creation of fresh and relevant content that attracts readers, ignites conversation and encourages social media sharing, then both users and search engines will lose interest in your site and go somewhere else.

 

Think of it like this, would you continue visiting the same cinema that showed the same movie over and over again? No, you wouldn’t. And neither would anyone else, they would simply move on to the next cinema to see the latest Blockbusters.

 

The same goes for your website, if the information is stale and out of date people move on. As a business owner it is not easy to produce content on a regular basis but the truth is you should be or you should have a content marketing strategy in place where a member of your staff produces a piece of content each week in line with the theme and brand of the company. Just think about the most common questions that your clients ask and use that as your basis of a content marketing plan.

 

However you decide to create content, whether it’s yourself, staff or outsourced, it doesn’t matter as long as the content is of high quality and relevant. The greater the quality of the content then the greater the chance of the content getting Liked, Tweeted, +1 and generating extended visibility and SEO benefits via social signals.

 

Build and nurture relationships

 

Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. Therefore you need to make sure that your website speaks directly to that golden 4% that are ready to buy right now but you do not neglect the 96% who may be in need of your services in the future.

96-percent-of-website-visitors-are-not-ready-to-buy

 

 

Take a proactive approach to capturing leads through a variety of appealing offers that target customers at different stages of the purchasing cycle. Make sure your calls to action lead to a congruent lead capture page so that you can gather their email address and begin a lead nurturing campaign.

 

In order to generate new leads and sales send an email, or a series of emails, to your existing database- or invest in a mailing list so you can inform those that have shown interest in the past, or people who fit your targeted demographic, about your expertise.

 

Make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations:

  • Have the person’s permission to send the email
  • Provide a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from future mailings.

 

Email should be an integral part of your marketing campaign, as such there should always be a method for new visitors of your website to sign up to your mailing list so they can learn more about how your business can help them solve their problems and position you and your business as the experts to do it.

 

A good way to incentivise this is to provide a free giveaway; this could be a series of videos, a report or an eBook that would be of value to your potential clients and in the process help highlight your expertise in your field.

 

Online marketing is more than setting up a website, putting up a few adverts and sending a couple of promotional social media messages. Online marketing is about providing an excellent online experience, and establishing your company and employees as experts to increase your value to customers and make them more likely to buy from you.

banner-for-4-online-marketing-tips

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

4 Things You NEED to Make the Internet Work for Your Business

Business success online today is all about connection and conversation, community and collaboration.

 

While traditional online marketing methods and social media complement each other, it is no longer good enough to be found on Google alone. You have to have a solid and positive presence on social media networks and ultimately where your targeted client spends their time online. Not only so you can take part, contribute and be an active participant in relevant dialogue to attract and engage with potential customers, but also so you can harness the power of the people and have others generate a buzz about your business on your behalf.

 

In order to get others speaking highly about your business you need to invest in the four following factors that will influence your online success.

 

Visibility

 

business visibility

 

Getting your business in front of as many targeted users as possible is paramount to success no matter the size, format or niche of your business.

 

Many business owners believe, or are mistakenly told, that by getting online and developing a website they will be inundated with phone calls, bookings and sales.

 

The truth of the matter is that’s not how it works. Your website will simply add to the hundreds of millions that are already there competing for the same traffic.

 

In the past a business owner had to attend networking events or seminars in order to raise their profile and get in front of targeted business partners. Now social media means that you can connect with like minded people online and if your profile is right then people will be attracted to you and connect with you.

 

Select a social media platform based on the business partner you want to attract.

 

  • 50 year old business owners might use LinkedIn
  • 17 your old males might prefer YouTube
  • Twenty something girls could be on Instagram.

 

Then select a group where your niche will like to spend their time, join, watch and learn how people are connecting but more importantly study how those who are getting the most interaction are engaging and use some of their strategies to help increase your visibility in the group.

 

Incidentally I plan to put more time into collaborating on LinkedIn the future so if you would like to stay connected then send me an invitation to connect here…

 

CREDIBILITY

 

We all want our message to be heard by as many people as possible. That right has to be earned through building credibility in your subject or niche.

 

Getting people to like you or follow shows that you have demonstrated a reason for them to connect with you. From that point on your focus should be on motivating them beyond the like to connecting with you, speaking with you, sharing conversations with you and with the people that follow them.

 

Credibility online is a two way street. It should be viewed in terms of conversation. The better the quality of the conversation you have, the more trusted, well liked and respected you will be and as a result the more people will introduce you and refer business to you; and the more business you will generate.

 

Make your conversations meaningful. Interact and converse, don’t just broadcast.

 

Credibility is not all about what you say. It is about how you listen to other people and the value of the responses and information that you share.

 

POSITIVITY

positivity helps business growth

When looking to build long term business relationships it is all about quality and not about quantity. Having ten thousand Facebook fans or followers is great as it means that you have great visibility but it is counterproductive when looking to build true and meaningful relationships.

 

One of the mistakes that I made when first starting on social media, Twitter in particular, was to follow too many people. This meant that it wasn’t a stream of valuable information presented to me by people I respected but more of a tidal wave of deafening noise. There was no value to be had because it was impossible to digest.

 

I therefore took the decision to cull the number of people who I followed down from 10,000 to around 150. Now, I actually enjoy spending time interacting and sharing on Twitter because it is relevant to me. You can follow me on Twitter here..

 

Interact and engage with people that have a high profile and large influence on their following. Be positive and add valuable input to their conversations and you will find that people stop and take note of who you are and interact with you.

 

Likewise you need to make sure that your brand is reflected in a positive manner online. Take the time to research what is being said about your reputation and if there are any negative sentiments make an effort to contact that person and set the record straight or help them overcome the problem they had with your brand or business.

 

For people who are looking for someone with your skills for the first time, being presented with negative information from other people is not a great way to start a relationship. Make sure that when people search for your online reputation, what people find is positive and a true reflection of you and your business.

 

PROFITABILITY

business-growth and profitability

  • How can someone in your network help someone else?
  • What do others need?
  • How can you help?

 

Profitability might mean what is in it for you but rather than going in with the “what’s in it for me?” attitude, think about how you can be a conduit for others?

 

Your relationships and the connections you have developed are one of the most valuable assets that you have and will ever have.

 

By introducing and interweaving your connections with others you are building a stronger web of connections that you can turn to when you need something like an introduction or referral.

 

Keeping everything you know and everyone you know locked away in the annals of your mind is not going to get you anywhere. Share what and who you know and build more and more connections. Those connections will manifest themselves into relationships and profit. People do business with people they know, like and trust.

 

Ultimately the success of your business will come down to how good you are at building relationships. The more value you can add to other people, the more relationships you will develop giving yourself the greater chance of closing more sales.

What strategies have worked to help grow you authority and business online? Share your thoughts below and then hit reply.

66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

66% of Your Clients Are Willing to Spend More!

In Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive age Tom Peters says,

 

“Excellent customer service is no longer good enough. That should be the de facto and in order to maintain a healthy client list any business should be looking to deliver OUTSTANDING customer service.”

 

Doesn’t that make so much sense! I mean it’s not exactly rocket science to realise that as a consumer if you pay for a service you expect a good result. Not a mediocre or ok or average result; as a minimum you want Good results. Or else why would you be spending your hard earned cash? So as a business owner as a bare minimum you need to be providing a good service, but if you really want to progress and build a successful business then you really need to be providing an excellent service, something that is truly outstanding.

 

66% of customers are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service.

Source: Global Customer Service Barometer That is 2 out of every 3 customers are willing to spend more with a company because of great service. 2 out of 3!

 

If 66% of clients spent more with your firm do you think that would help? You are damn right it would help, it would more than help, It would mean that each client is worth more to your business, turnover would increase, profits would increase and all from the same number of customers.

 

Every single customer’s journey through the business lifecycle with a firm is unique, the touch points and interactions they receive from the business before, during and after the sale are all taken into consideration when a person thinks back about the service they have experienced. Is your client’s last interaction with your firm positive or negative? Do they leave feeling valued and pleased or disappointed and neglected?

The fact of the matter is that if a person feels like they have had a good experience with your firm then they are likely to come back and revisit and reuse your services time and time again facilitating a long term business partnership.

 

How Can You Capitalise on These Positive Client Feelings?

 

What if a small percentage of those satisfied clients were happy to share their personal story with others about your business and the outstanding service they received. Would that help convince potential clients who were in need of your service to choose you over your competition?

 

We already know that 66% percent of customers are willing to spend more with a company that is perceived to have excellent customer service, so why not use the positive experiences of your past clients to help win more clients and not just more clients, but clients who are willing to spend more with you?

 

Your positive online reputation are one of the greatest assets your business has, combine those glowing reviews with the power of the internet and the ability to have these endorsements speak for your business when ideal clients are looking for you then you have the basis of a lead referral system that can grow your business.

 

Takeaways for great customer service

 

Given how customers are rewarding outstanding service more than ever, American Express offers the following tips to companies seeking to bolster the service experiences they provide and as a result increase the life time value of a customer:

 

  • Cherish your connections with customers. Service shouldn’t be a clean-up operation. Turning service interactions into relationship-deepening moments can strengthen your business.
  • In everything you do, put the customer first. Start with what the customer needs. Customers can’t be wowed by personalized service if their basic needs aren’t met or their questions go unanswered.
  • Service is a people business; give care professionals the freedom to shine. Customers want to be helped by empowered, efficient people.
  • Measure success through the voice of the customer. Let customers tell you how you’re doing, and truly seek to improve based on their feedback.

 

Your history of excellent customer service can be, and should be front and centre for everybody to see to allow you to win profitable new business today, tomorrow and for years to come. To find out more about how we can help you be seen as the market leader in your field with a positive client experience and be in a position to win more profitable clients call 0161 850 4413.

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How to Make it Easier for New Local Customers to Find You Online

How to Make it Easier for New Local Customers to Find You Online

How to get More Local Customers

 

Today the first place that people look for a business is online using their mobile phone or computer. If somebody was to search for your business category would they find you? And if they did would the information that they were presented with be compelling enough for them to call and book an appointment or buy a service from you?

 

People are constantly looking for places, items of interest or things to buy in and around the vicinity of where they are, the question is what are you doing as a business owner to capitalise on that?

 

If you are keen to have more people find your business, become customers and come back again and again then here are a few changes you can make today to significantly increase your chances.

Claim your Google My Business Listing.

 

To find your page, go to Google and type in “Google my business”.  Click through to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. You will be prompted to enter your Google email address and password to log in. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a password.  In the search bar where it says “find your business” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.

Google My Business

 

Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed or not, and it will also say whether it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, great!  You can log in and edit the page. If the email address doesn’t match then you need to claim your business.

 

To claim your business you will need to verify that you are the owner, which you can either do by having a verification pin sent through to your mobile (immediate), or by postcard (which can take 2 weeks). Once you have that pin, enter it into the verification page and your listing will be claimed.

 

Once you have claimed your Google My Business Listing the next thing you need to do is add the relevant business information in the next five steps. Before we get into that I need to explain one of the most critical aspects of Local Search: NAP citations.

What is a NAP Citation?

 

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone. Think of your NAP citation as the unique fingerprint that identifies your business to search engines and directories.

 

Everywhere your business NAP is found online is called a citation. In real terms the more citations mean there are more websites where customers can find your business. In addition search engines (like Google) see citations as a “vote”, a trust sign if you will about the authority of your business and they are a big factor in how well your business ranks for industry related keywords in search results.

 

correct nap

 

One of the biggest problems for businesses in local search is inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate NAP information in citations. To learn more about the importance of NAP citations for your business click here.

 

So now you understand the importance of your NAP citation and you have claimed your Google My Business page.  The next step is to highlight how you can improve the relevance of your business and increase the chances of potential customers finding it and selecting you.

Increase the number of Consistent Citations of your business around the internet.

 

Google uses data from other trusted resources around the web to categorise your business and build up a picture of how authoritative your business is.

 

There are hundreds of websites/directories on the internet like Yell, Yelp and 118information, that are vitally important because they share information with Google. If your information on those sites matches what your Google my business page and your website say this increases trust and can influence how and where customers will find your business in search.

Earn, Manage and Market Reviews

 

If you conduct local searches such as “Dentist in Watford”, “chiropractor in Preston” or simply “divorce lawyer near me”, you will see that in the listings there will be businesses that have reviews.

 

watford dentist screen shot

 

For your business to stand out in the new 3 pack you need to make sure that your business has reviews. We’re not just talking about 1 review, you need ensure that your business has more 5 star reviews than any of your competitors in and around the local area.

 

In the example above the the top two dentists have their reviews displaying prominently and the thrid dentist does not. Who do you think a potential patient will call?

 

The greater the quality and quantity of reviews you have the better. It reflects on the services that you are providing to your customers when potential clients look upon your business.

 

Reviews are so important in the local search infrastructure that you should consider putting in place a review collection strategy where you ask every single person that visits your business to go to Google and leave feedback about you and the experience they had.

 

By doing this, each customer is effectively sharing their good opinion of you with everyone they know and also potential clients who might see your business for the first time and need some assurance that you are the best in your area.

Social Media Signals

 

Social media has become integral to many areas of digital marketing and it is no different when it comes to increasing your businesses awareness in local search. With billions of active users, it is a great medium to build fans and followers, gaining reviews and authoritative web sites where you can get a structured NAP citation.

 

social_signals

 

Social content ranks well on search engines because it is often current and relevant to people that are searching for you or your services. What happens on Facebook, Yelp and Twitter does influence how Google and other users perceive your business.

 

Social media is Word of mouth marketing. What people say about your business services, their feedback and reviews are publicly accessible to your potential clients. And this has a massive influence on your lead generation and ultimately sales.

Website Authority

 

According to Moz’s 2017 local search ranking factors, On Page Signals account for 24% of the signals Google use to position your business in front of local consumers.

 

On page signals include presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles and domain authority. We have already discussed the importance of NAP but I wanted to take the opportunity to drive home the importance even more. If your business Name, Address and Phone is not the same on

 

  • Google My business
  • Your Webiste
  • Local Business Directories

 

Then Google does not consider you trustworthy and this will be reflected in when and how your business is presented in search.

 

If you are a Dental Practice then make sure that on your home page you include the keyword “Dentist”, other related keyword terms and your location. Make it absolutely crystal clear who you are and what service you provide.

 

The more information you can provide the search engines that matches what other trusted, relevant and authoritative sites on the internet say about you the better.

 

Local SEO is all about getting internet browsers with commercial intent to convert, be that buy or become a patron of your business.

 

If you follow the advice given in this blog post you will have a strong head start in optimising your online presence for local people that need the results your products and services provide.

 

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

We’ve worked with countless businesses over the last few years,

to help them improve their online reputation and to help them grow and reach new clients. Social Media has become an increasingly important part of a businesses online presence, and an area that the vast majority of businesses seem to think they are comfortable and happy to use without guidance.

The problem is, that using social media for your business is vastly different from using it for your social life. In personal terms, you use sites like Twitter and Facebook to catch up with friends, share photos, gossip and find out about what’s going on in people’s lives. You don’t have a particular goal, or target to meet and can either share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. 

In business, whatever your line of work, your social media should be used to help you win more customers, to help solve your customers problems, or to spread the word about your business to potential new customers. Do you see a pattern here? Social Media for your business is part of your business marketing, and you shouldn’t go into it with any other attitude.

With that in mind, I’m continuously surprised at the number of supposedly professional businesses who make very basic mistakes with their social media presence. Mistakes that can undermine the hard work they’re putting in in the real world to grow their reputation and business, and can even damage their perception or put new customers off.

Here are some of the most common errors that I come across that you could easily fix to improve your reputation.

Broken Links From Your Website

Broken Link to TwitterHaving links from your website back to your social media pages so that people can follow you is great – provided those links work! If you put in the wrong link to your social media pages then your visitors will be confronted with images like these.Broken links to Facebook

You’ll have to hope that those people are keen enough to search for your pages so that they can find and follow you some other way – the chances of this are slim as most people have too short an attention span. Fix the problem by fixing those links!

No Profile Picture

No Profile PictureThere is no excuse for not having a profile picture. Having no profile picture suggests that you can’t be bothered to complete your details, or that you have something to hide. Even if you are actively using your account, having no profile image suggests otherwise. Given how easy it is to take a picture on your phone and upload it to social media it’s hard to justify not having an image even if your account is new – you can take an image and upload it within seconds. If you have a business account, then you don’t even have to have a picture of yourself – you could use the business logo. Using a logo or image gives your business an identifiable “face”. It means that your customers and prospects know that there is someone behind the brand.

Protected Account

Protected Twitter accountAs a business, in order to grow you need to consistently attract new followers. Those new followers over time could turn into leads, referrals or clients. If, like this company on the right, you have a protected account it means that people can’t follow you unless you approve them first. It might seem like a small step to take, but it puts a lot of people off. Ask yourself what you are hiding by keeping your tweets private? If something needs to be private then there is probably a better way to deliver it than via Twitter. Do your business a favour and make your Twitter account public.

Profile Instead of a Page

Businesses should have a dedicated Facebook page. A page is different to a profile that you will have for yourself. The image below shows a business with a personal profile page, which is actually against the Facebook terms of service. As a profile, you have friends meaning that you have to either request or approve someone to be friends with you. Pages have fans, meaning anyone can Like the page and follow the updates. Pages and profiles also have different permissions when it comes to interacting in Groups and promoting offers. Pages also give you access to useful stats and insights, whereas profiles don’t. Profile not a page

If you’re using a profile for you business, close it down and set up a genuine Business page.

For more tips and advice on how to manage your business’s social media presence then you can download my free guide, 49 exclusive social media tips for business.

What are your biggest bugbears that you’ve come across with business social media accounts? Let me know in the comments!

Social Media For Business Free Download

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Big News from Twitter last week!

They are increasing the cap on how many people you can follow from 2000 to 5000.

The follower limit is been in place as a way for Twitter to try and stop Spam accounts, or what it calls aggressive following. Following other accounts is one of the ways for other users to notice your account and many people will follow back someone who follows them. Following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts is therefore one of the things that Twitter monitors as it’s seen as being outside the realms of reasonable usage.

 

With the Follow limit in place, every user is now allowed to follow 5000 other accounts, once that limit is hit you see an error message that stops you from following any more people until you have more followers of your own. The number of additional followers you can add above 5000 is different for every user, but it is based on the number of followers you have. Twitter keeps the exact science behind this a secret so as to further discourage spamming.

 

Seeing as the previous Follow limit of 2000 seems huge, you might be wondering just how exactly having a limit of 5000 could benefit you and if you should even attempt to follow so many people.

 

Find out how Twitter’s increased Follow Limit can benefit your business! <-Tweet This!

 

Growing a targeted following on Twitter is a tough task, but once you have that following it is a very valuable asset. It means that those followers are interested in what you have to say, and are likely to be amongst the first people to react to new offers, updates and information that you Tweet out. There are many ways to go about growing a targeted Twitter following, and following your ideal accounts is certainly one way to get noticed. If that is part of your plan, then Twitter now allows you to follow an extra 3000 people, so it is a big deal!

 

There are several ways to find targeted users to follow, one suggestion would be to take a look at a similar business to yours and to follow the same people they do. If a certain number of these followers follow you back then you know they are interested in the type of things you’ll be tweeting about because they already follow an account similar to yours.

 

Make Lists

If you already follow more than a few hundred other accounts on Twitter then you know how quickly the tweets come through and how easy it is to miss updates. One way to manage your followers when you follow thousands of accounts is to create lists. Lists can be public or private, and can be made up however you want them to be.

 

For example, you might want to create lists organised by industry so you can see everything that the Legal industry is tweeting about, or everything that the Estate Agents you follow are saying. You might want to create a list of accounts that you know in real life, such as people you’ve met at networking events, or a list of businesses in your local area. If lists are public then anyone can follow them. A well curated list can attract a lot of followers in itself.

 

Public Vs Private

There are reasons to keep lists private too, you might want to have a list of your own customers and not want the world to know who exactly you are working with. You might also want a list of your competitors, or prospects so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.

 

Be More Social!

Another reason to follow as many accounts as you can is that the more you follow, the more information you will see. Whether it is news, opinions, blogs, jokes or anything else, bu following more people you are giving yourself more opportunity to see something that catches your eye, and to interact with the person on the other end. The whole point of social sites such as Twitter is to develop relationships and friendships, and to discover other like-minded people, and if you interact regularly with more people then that is a major positive.

 

Twitter has raised this limit for a reason, and while we may never know Twitter’s reason for doing this, us as Twitter users are left with a two options: Ignore the changes, or work with them. Which one will you choose? Leave me a comment to let me know, or better yet, Tweet me, @Big_Thinking

 

If you’d like more Social Media tips then download my free guide – 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Social Media For Business Free Download

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Have you ever seen a website doing really well in the search engines and wondered why? Read this and your competitor's website will never outperform yours in search again! |www.bigthinkingonline.com

Quite often we consult with business owners who are frustrated,

No, down-right angry, that after investing heavily on a new website design their main competition and even businesses that they feel they are far better than, outrank them in Google and subsequently gain the majority of new business.

 

Let’s clear something up from the outset. In most cases a new website means new images, new branding, more modern design. Nothing more.

 

And although those things might have an impact on user friendliness, which is a positive, it is not going to make your website shoot to the top of Google or other search engines for commercially viable keyword phrases that are important to your business.

 

“But My Competitor’s Website Looks Dreadful”

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And just because on the surface it might not look great, or you personally wouldn’t choose to represent your business and brand that way, it does not mean that the website is low quality as it could be built with a sound architectural infrastructure, have a solid social media presence and a whole host of high quality back links that point back to the site, giving it authority and relevance in the eyes of the search engines.  

 

What Do Search Engines Look For In A Good Website?

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When talking about search engines, specifically in the UK, I mean Google. As according to Statista, Google has an 88.58% dominance for search in the UK.

 

Google uses several factors to decide on how relevant a page is for any given search term. In fact it is commonly believed that there are over 200 such factors which impact how well a website ranks (no one outside of Google can truly know how many there are and comment on their Intellectual Property) These include the number of relevant inbound links, the history of the domain your website sits on and whether a sitemap has been submitted to Google or not.

 

However, there are other factors that can contribute to the success of your website in search such as:

How Many Pages People Visit On Your Website

If your website is good the chances are that visitors to that website will find the content good enough that they want to read or learn more on the subject matter and you.

 

How Often You Update Your Content

In everyday life there are advancements in technology, business, health, welfare, popular culture as well as content on the internet. A web page that was relevant two years ago may not be relevant today. A website that has not been updated for a long time may provide less relevant results than a web site or page produced yesterday.

 

How Long Your Content Is 

Serpiq published research that showed that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 search results in Google has at least 2,000 words. And it is no surprise that the higher you go up the page, from 10 to 1, the more words they have.

 

Average_Content_Length_in_Words_for_Top_10_Pages_in_Google

 

In the graph above you can see that on average the top result in Google has over 2400 words. The research was conducted across a range of 20,000 keywords and the results suggest that Google favours long form content.

 

Take a look at your website, take a look at the key pages or sales pages and ask yourself does the content provide enough depth and build enough value to keep the user engaged and build trust?

 

How Can You Improve Your Website To Rank Higher In Search Engines?

  1. Use Keyword Phrases That Are Relevant To Your Business.

If you are an accountant. The keyword phrases “Accountant in “Your Town Name” is relevant and important for you to rank for.

 

However this is not the only term that potential clients will search for related to accountancy and therefore your website should contain information that anyone looking for an accountant would find helpful, such as:

  • Tax return dates
  • Budget updates
  • Information on how to perfect a financial statement
  • How to monitor depreciation of assets.

 

The more RELEVANT subject matter that a user can find in one site will increase the authority of your site.

 

Think about the terms your ideal client will enter into the search engines when they are looking for the results that your service can provide. Make a list of them and then make sure that there is content on your website that provides the answers they are looking for.

  1. Optimise That Content For Google

Optimise_your_Website_For_Google

 

In order for Google to fully understand what your website is about it needs to be labelled correctly.

 

There are specific areas on a web page that Google looks at first in order to quantify what your page is about and subsequently where it should index to best serve searchers.

 

These areas include:

  • Page Title
  • Heading
  • Sub headings
  • How Image are labelled – Alt tags
  • URL of the page

 

All of these elements of the page are considered by the search engines when indexing your content in the correct place so that your ideal visitor can find it. But remember that if your page is over optimised, in other words you are writing for the search engines and not for human consumption by using too many keywords, a term known as keyword stuffing, then you will be penalised.

  1. Internal Linking

Internal linking is about how and where you link a page or post to other content that is relevant within your website. The point being that the search engines want to provide the user with the best possible experience they can.

 

Continuing with the “Accountant” from earlier, it would be of benefit if you could then link to pages on your website containing information and references to business audits, financing options and tax optimisation strategies

 

By doing this you are providing greater detail for the user, which will help them make a judgement on your suitability to help them. The search engines will also appreciate this. This will result on the user spending a greater time on your website by visiting more pages , which as I mentioned earlier is a factor that Google uses to rank your site.

  1. Write GREAT Content That Attracts Inbound Links.

If you want to rank higher in Google you have to Write Great Content

 

An inbound link is where another web site owner provides a contextual hyperlink back to your content from their site.

 

Google and the other search engines rely highly on other people linking to your website in order for them to establish how popular your website is. The more popular the website, the higher your return in the search results.

 

The goal here is to create highly valuable, unique content that people want to talk about and share.

 

The more people that link back to your site signifies to the search engines the popularity and value of the piece of content.

 

The more people with authority on that subject matter that link back and share the better.

 

For example an educational body that provides accountancy qualifications providing a link to a local accountant is more valuable than a backlink from Julie’s cake bake.

 

The quality and relevance of inbound links is often more important than quantity.

  1. Have A Social Media Plan

Social signals such as being liked tweeted or +1’d indicate to search engines that your website and content is popular.

 

That is why you need to have a social media plan that includes identifying which social channels your customers frequent, tracking social conversations, trending topics, managing your online reputation and developing and sharing optimised content.

 

By ensuring you can easily create and post relevant content to social channels on a regular basis, you will not only improve your search rankings, but reach more potential customers when your content is linked to, liked, or shared.

 

Search engine optimisation techniques are constantly changing. What doesn’t change, and in fact becomes more prominent, is the fact that if you invest the time creating quality content that has value with the readers on a regular basis you will be able to improve SEO and find your site and pages getting top search engine rankings, driving more clicks and ultimately converting to a higher number of sales.

  1. Cater For Mobile.

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For the past few years Google has made it abundantly clear that they have been working towards making their search engine more mobile friendly.

 

In February 2015 Google made this statement on their webmasters blog;

“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

 

What does that mean?

Well quite simply that Google will provide mobile users with mobile responsive web pages first. And this makes complete sense.

 

If you are on a mobile searching Google and they provide you with a website that you cannot read or whose buttons you cannot click because they are too small, then chances are you will go to another site. Over time if you continue to get presented these sites that leave you frustrated and unable to use you may choose to move to another search engine that provides better results.

 

Google wants to provide the user with the best possible search results, coupled that with the fact that in the UK the Smartphone has become the most important way for people to get online. Therefore, how your site ranks will also depend on whether it caters to a mobile audience.

 

Search engine optimisation is a constantly evolving landscape. What works today may not necessarily have the same effect tomorrow and that it is why SEO is an important part of any online marketing plan.

 

To make sure that your site out performs your competitors in search and not the other way around then you need to be producing quality content on a regular basis that is relevant and builds you and your brand to be the authority in your niche.

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A website’s performance rises or falls depending on the implementation of the factors discussed in this article, but there are also many more.

 

This Leaves You With Three Options To Improve The Status Quo:

  • Option1: Do It Yourself
  • Option 2: Task an employee to take charge of it.
  • Option 3: Employ a professional to do it.

 

Do you want to spend the time writing a two thousand word post, optimise that post for search engines, spend hours marketing that post on social media sites, emailing it to your list of subscribers or clients, looking for relevant sites that may be interested in sharing or linking to your content? Not many business owners have the time or the inclination to do that.

 

And that is why those select few businesses that choose to either invest the time or invest in the services of a professional search engine optimisation consultant will stand a far greater chance of gracing the top spots of the search engines for commercially viable keyword terms.

 

So next time you look at a competitor’s website that ranks above yours in Google and you consider it ugly, there might be a lot more time and investment gone into gaining those search engine results than meets the eye.

 

If you want to know more about building a website that works for you then download our FREE Blueprint!

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

If you run a locally based business, Google's latest update could affect your search traffic. Find out more here. www.bigthinkingonline.com

As of Friday, Google made a significant change to its search results.

Now instead of having 7 businesses represented in search results with local intent, there are only 3.

google local seo

 

What’s different?

Well first and foremost the map has moved from the top right of the Google search results to the left hand side. This would be in keeping with the view that users get on a mobile device and as reported last week, in the UK mobile usage of the internet is greater than desktop usage. So to keep congruency for the user, regardless of the device they are using, makes sense.

 

Another difference on the desktop version is the fact that your business phone number is now no longer displayed. Instead the options are to click directly to the users web site or get directions.

 

Oh and of course, the big one. What was 7 business listings on last week is now just 3.

 

Using the same search criteria on a mobile device you can see that the website and directions buttons have been replaced by a phone icon, which is a click to call feature. 

 

google local mobile view

 

How Will the Change Impact Businesses?

It will only impact businesses that were in the 7 pack prior to the change. After all if your business wasn’t there before the change then it will have no impact. If you were in positions 4-7 on the map then you can expect fewer calls and inbound leads via Google.

 

If you are on the new listing in positions 1-3 then I would suggest that the change will have a positive impact for you.

 

Put simply, your business is only going to be competing with 2 others in the area meaning the chance of you getting a phone call from the map has increased roughly 2.5 times from 14% to 33%.

 

How can you increase your chances of getting more calls?

 

To increase the chances that your listing will be picked over the other two then you need to optimise your listing to stand out from the other two. Ways in which you can do this include:

  • Introduce business photos:
  • Add Videos
  • Add updates to your listing.
  • Get and respond to Reviews

 

If your business is not in the new local listing of 3 then the following is a good place to start.

  1. Check that you have a Google My Business account.
  2. Verify the account.
  3. Update all details including; business name, address, postcode, hours of business, main business category.

 

Chances are this alone will not get you into the top 3 positions but will provide the foundation for a local search engine optimisation strategy.

 

Final Thoughts

The cynic in me is saying that this is all about Google digging deeper into the pocket of advertisers. As there are a lot of businesses that were in the old 7 pack that will no longer be on the first page of Google for their service and locality at all. Meaning that if they do want visibility and to continue getting the inbound leads and calls they were getting then one of the options is to pay for that privilege through Google Adwords.

 

In a blog post on Search Engine Land, Barry Schwarz shares a quote from a Google spokesperson with regards to these changes that says:

“We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.”

 

Is this a trial by Google? How long will it last? Will it benefit Consumers? Will it benefit businesses? Only time will tell….

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

Why You Should Use Education Marketing For Lead Generation.

Education Marketing

Why you should use Education Marketing for Lead Generation.

Almost everyone who uses the internet is using it to look for information. Whether they’re researching a holiday destination, looking at cars or getting ideas for a project, the vast majority of browsers are browsing for information. That’s what education marketing is, delivering information that your customers are looking for.

Whilst many of these browsers aren’t planning on buying anything straight away, the chances are that they’ll remember the sites they’ve visited and what they’ve seen there so that when the time comes to make a buying decision they will go back to that same trusted source where they got the best information from.

Whilst every business and every purchase is different, the idea of providing information or education to generate leads can be applied to pretty much any niche. By offering information for people to read on your website you’re taking the first steps to building a relationship with that person, they are getting to know about your expertise, your personality, and whether or not they want to trust you with their money.

Millions of Bloggers and website owners cottoned on to this a long time ago; by writing engaging content that keeps people coming back to their websites week after week they’ve been able to make a living from simply providing information for other people online. People go back to the same sites time and again if they like what they see there.

When people come back time and again it’s because they feel they are getting a benefit from the content on that site. They will see that website as an authority on its topic; they will start to rely on that information, or will look forward to new updates.

This method of marketing is not for those needing a quick win. It’s likely that ninety-eight percent of people who visit your website aren’t going to buy anything. It’s also highly likely that the vast majority who visit you website will never come back; it might be that the information they found there wasn’t exactly what they were looking for or that what you sell doesn’t suit them.  

What matters is to keep in mind the type of customer you want to attract and write as though you are talking to them. Keep producing information that sets you apart from your competitors, even if it is something as simple as giving your opinion on industry news, or reviewing new products. As long as you keep reaching out, your targeted audience will find you and keep coming back.

The good news is that once you are known to someone as an expert then you will be the first one that they turn to when they are in a position to buy, or use your service. In fact, 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company (Custom Content Council).

The trick to keeping people coming back is not to sell. The idea behind Education Marketing is to educate. Instead of posting new offers every week, think about Case Studies, How To Guides, White Papers or special reports. If your information is compelling enough, people will gladly sign up to receive further updates from you and you can start to build up a subscriber list of names and email addresses. And these subscribers are the ones who you can think about selling to directly.

Although this is not a quick win, there really is nothing to lose, after all, by providing information and education online you are building trust, loyalty and credibility with your readers which in the long run  will help you to add further value to relationships which will translate to increased customer retention and higher revenues.