6 Questions You Should Ask of Your Small Business Website

6 Questions You Should Ask of Your Small Business Website

6 Questions You Should Ask of Your Small Business Website

How much does your small business website contribute to your business goals, success, or income? What’s the return on investment (ROI)? How does it compare to your competitors 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 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 small business website is a liability…

What Problem is Your Small Business Website Solving?

small business website problems

Your website should verify your position as an expert, as THE expert, the one person or business that can solve the particular problem that they have. 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, a family law firm might want to ensure the families security for the future.

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?

small business website audience

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, it is there to attract a select group 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.
  • 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 search? 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 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 it?

 

small business website 3

In other words what is in it for me, for the searcher? 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 searcher’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!

To find out more about how we work with Law firms and solicitors to win more highly profitable new clients while retaining existing clients and increasing sales view our legal marketing services

Fill your small business website with how you would get these results, 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?

small business website 4Let’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?

small business website conversion

Each small business website page has a different conversion goal. 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 the chosen goal for the website is 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.

Small business 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.

Can a target web user find your website?

small business website seo

With all the effort that goes into designing a website for 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 local area, teeth whitening procedure.

There are hundreds of individual search terms that could be relevant to your business. The key is to select the ones that are the most relevant to the problems that you solve, have people looking for them and 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 small business 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.

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

how to advertise your businessBrilliant advertising is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. It is about the one brilliant idea that sweeps people off their feet and compels them to take action, get in touch with you and further their relationship with you and your brand. For a business owner this can be quite daunting, but the truth is if you don’t know how to advertise your business in a way that makes people remember your business and act upon that message, then your business will be destined to failure.

9 Methods to Successfully Advertise Your Business

Make the most of the money you spend on marketing with the following advertising plan.

1. Think outside the box.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when promoting their company is to produce their own adverts.Obviously, it’s tempting (money being tight) but these ads often don’t do justice to the business.

Consider getting some professional help – there are plenty of advertising agencies that are willing to work for small businesses. If your product or service has a national market, you could also consider using a media buyer – they should be able to secure cheaper advertising space than you could.

2. Who is your most valuable customer?

What do they look like? What do they do for a living? What is there annual income? What do they do in their free time? Do they like holidays? How many times a year do they travel? What books/magazines do they read? What internet browser do they use? What websites do they visit? Do they buy products online? Do they own their own home?

There are literally hundreds of questions that you could ask and maybe you will never know the answers to all of them, but knowing as much as you can helps you position your brand and services.

Build yourself a straw man or an avatar (a model of your ideal customer) and put it above your workstation to remind yourself on a daily basis who it is you are looking to provide services to.

3. Which adverts make you look twice?

When you are walking down a street and you see a billboard. Does it resonate with you? Does it make you look twice? Does it make you stop and think about the context of the message? Do you think it works? Could it work for your audience?

Do some research, browse around your competition’s website, have a look at the terminology they use, the adverts, the calls to action and take note of the things you like and you don’t like.

Use the press, newspapers and magazines for inspiration for copywriting messages. After all they are paid copywriters and journalists who eat, sleep and breathe this advertising stuff. Keep a swipe file of the adverts that provoke a reaction and think how you can tweak that message for your most valuable customer.

4. What’s your budget?

When starting up a business it is quite easy to think that you don’t need an advertising budget, that your value proposition, amazing services and your flashy store or website will do all the advertising for you. It won’t, period!

Advertising is an unavoidable expense. Not allocating time and money to promoting your business is like having a Ferrari without an engine. It looks good but is absolutely useless. That being said, the cost needn’t lead to financial ruin. Decide how much you can afford in the first year and pick methods and marketing channels that match your budget so you can carry them out regularly. Avoid blowing your entire budget on one high-profile advert – think about drip feeding your message to your target audience over a sustained period of time.

5. Why are you advertising?

Do you want to build your brand or are you more interested in generating sales? Remember, even if you are having your best sales period then you should still allocate a percentage of your sales to advertising because it can help you build a strong reputation that will sow the seeds for future growth.

6. What’s your message?

The message that you convey to your customers is constantly changing. This can be down to individual offers or promotions, seasonal changes or simply to remind your audience of the benefits you offer. Figure out what you want to say and keep the message in keeping with the brand reputation you are looking to build.

7. Which advertising channels?

There are many different channels that you could use to advertise your business. Use the template of your ideal customer and think hard about where that person may be. Pick a selection of marketing methods that match your budget and your customer behaviour. These could include:

  • A website. With more and more consumers turning to the internet for information and to purchase goods and services it is almost obligatory these days to have a website. Even a small business can benefit from setting up a website as it can provide people with information about your business such as your contact details, information about your products and services and help legitimise your operation. However you choose to set up a website, if you want to see results, you also need to think about and invest in advertising that website and making it visible to people who are searching for products and services that you offer through search engine optimisation (SEO) and other online marketing techniques.

There are many ways to get a website up and running at little to no cost. There are free contact management systems such as WordPress where you can get access to a range of templates that can be used to set up a basic web presence. There is the “Getting British business online” initiative backed by Google that also provides templates for you to design a website. If you lack the time and skills to create something that reflects the image of your brand, then you may consider working with a digital agency that can do this for you.

  • Social Media. The number of people who actively participate in social media sites has grown rapidly over the past five years and continues to increase at a rapid pace. The premise of social media is for people to like, share and connect with others and share the things that impact them, both positive and negative. Share yourself and your business with others but spend as much time, if not more, listening to what others are saying in order to generate conversations and interest. Social media can be a great way to spread the word about your business but by no means is it something that should be taken lightly. Social media can and will take an investment of time and or money in order to see results.
  • Business directories. There are many sites on the internet that allow you to register your business for free: Yell, Thompson Local and FreeIndex are just three examples. These sites will allow you to add a basic listing free of charge. While they may not provide a huge amount of leads for your business they may allow you to provide a link back to your website, which acts as a citation for your business and will increase the chances that search engines will pick up your website and may even increase your ranking the search engine results pages.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.  A highly effective form of advertising that can drive instant results for your business. PPC marketing is where your advert is triggered when someone types in a keyword phrase related to your business that takes them to your website, or more specifically a targeted sales page with a conversion goal. You’re charged only if someone clicks on your ad.  You can do this through Google Adwords or the newly named Bing Ads.
  • Local newspapers and magazines. There are still a lot of people that like to read the local newspapers that get posted through the door on a weekly basis. If you have a fixed location and require footfall to your store than local newspapers can be a great source of leads.
  • Daily Deal Sites. Groupon, Happli and Living Social all give businesses the opportunity to advertise their products or services to their members. This may seem like a great idea however you need to read the small print. Most of these companies expect you to offer a huge discount and also sacrifice up to 50% off the revenue of a deal. Before committing to such a deal do your due diligence and make sure the deal works for your business.
  • Niche magazines. Is there a specific magazine that people interested in your business read? If so price out how much it would cost to run an advert in the magazine, or perhaps see what it would take to get an editorial piece?
  • Local radio. Although this is relatively expensive it can attract immediate results and along with internet advertising is one of the only sources of advertising that is growing*. Meaning that it is providing results for other businesses or they wouldn’t be using it. *Source
  • Leafleting. In order to drive brand recognition for a local business, leafleting is a good if untargeted method of advertising.

8. Is it providing results?

Any advertising campaign is measured by the results that it brings. After all it is no good spending money on advertising if you are getting no reward. Ask new clients to your business how they find out about you, use specific tracking codes so you know where and how people on the internet have reached your site. If doing a leaflet drop or radio campaign think about setting up a specific web page solely for that purpose or use an individual telephone number to track the results. Once you have the results you can analyse them and re-invest in what is working and change or shut down advertising methods that are not.

9. Tomorrow is a new day

Be sure to constantly review your advertising plan and don’t be afraid to rethink your strategy if it isn’t working throwing good money after bad will get you nowhere fast. Also, as your business grows, you may find you have more budget for advertising and want to try new channels to reach out to a whole new audience. Your advertising plan should evolve along with your growing business.

There is no defacto, all encompassing, fail safe method for knowing how to advertise your business. The simple fact is that you continuously need to get your name and business out in front of the right person at the right time. Advertising is a fundamental part of your business growth strategy.