Why Not Being Online is Hurting Your Business + an Infographic
"My business is doing just fine."
- Said every offline business owner.
It's okay to admit you'd like for your business to do more than fine. How about booming?
In less than 2 years, traditional marketing (print material, foot traffic) will not be enough to get people through the door. Everything is "Googleable". We're going to go ahead and use that as a word.
It's 2017, more than a map of directions should pop up in your search results.
Here's why not being online hurts your business:
Customers Search You on Their Mobile Device
Here's that Google thing again.
72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016) Your website should be one of those things that pop-up. And it needs to be more than a place you just throw up information.
- Is your website SEO-friendly?
- Mobile responsive?
- Can customers readily contact you?
You'd be surprised, many business owners don't have a clue about what I just asked above.
If a web designer created a website for you, go back and ask them these questions. To be "Googleable" SEO-friendly (Search Engine Optimization), helps you get found. Certain keywords on your website put you in the rankings with your competitors.
These days everyone accesses the internet on their phone.
Exactly, one-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet. (HubSpot, 2016) If a customer lands on your website and is having a hard time looking around. Your website is not mobile responsive. It should automatically fit the shape of your phone --whichever way it's being held.
(Try it now: if you're reading this on your mobile device --switch from portrait to landscape viewing by flipping the phone on its side. Do the words still fit the screen? FYI:This site is mobile responsive.)
Do you make it accessible for a customer to contact you through your website?
Suuure. A contact page is a good idea but a live chat stationed on every page on your site is a better one. (Try Zopim)
If you don't have a website, there is no excuse these days. WordPress, Squarespace, and even Weebly make it drag-and-drop simple.
Customers Read Up On You
Do you have a blog? A free opt-in? Maybe a newsletter?
Like I said earlier, throwing up some information on your website about you or your company's mission is cute. But your customers need more --before they whip out their visa. 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016) Which means, consistently answering your customer's questions, educating, and adding value to their lives through content --puts you at the front of the line.
- Think, free checklist to help get their poses together and decrease overwhelm over a photoshoot as a photographer.
- Think, video tutorial of a Paleo recipe to help them lose weight in 30 days as a health coach.
- Think, ebook to help them know if their website is customer-friendly as a web designer.
Think about adding your insight to what you do in your industry.
Anybody can write an article about the "10 things you need to stop XYZ". Very few can share what it's like to work with them, their expertise and passion about their business in the same article. The bonus perk is Google will index your blog with the relevant keywords in their search engine. You know, the SEO thing of getting found in search engines.
If you're going to do anything at all for your customers, show you care and show your passion. Don't ever leave it out. That is your competitive edge. Here's how I can help you with this.
Customers Want to Interact With You
Consider social media as one of your PR methods.
YOU CAN CONTROL what is said about you and how people can interact with you online. You'll have to do some investigation on what channel works best for your business. But I can tell you the most popular networks to consider: Facebook and LinkedIn. You may have thought I would have said Instagram or Twitter instead of LinkedIn, huh?
Linkedin is on the rise to become one of the best places to source new business
In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased 21%. (HubSpot, 2016) It is my prediction that number will rise. Get your LinkedIn profile prepared with this PDF guide.
While 72% of adult internet users use Facebook. (Pew Research Center, 2015) It is pretty clear Facebook is not going anywhere for a very long time. It has been dominating the internet space since 2004.
Your Facebook Fan Page should become a customer support hub for your fans to interact with your business. Facebook is phenomenal at capturing a target market for you to talk directly to. You can run Facebook ads to show to those who've visited your website in the last 60 days. Or directly to your mailing list. Or your LinkedIn contacts. Or only to your fans on the page. POSSIBILITIES.
These are all warm leads and it can be less expensive (when done right) than traditional marketing (direct mail & flyers). For now, at least. It is my prediction these bigger corporations will soon bully this avenue of promotion.
At the minimum, your business should be doing the above.
Being found through a search engine, content readily available and customers interacting with you online. You can start at any budget & company size, it's just a matter of how deep you want to go down this bunny hole.