Our competitive landscape has completely changed. Customers expect more from businesses, on and offline. Technology is transforming the way we search, connect, engage and purchase. New tools, platforms, lower barriers to entry and accessible insights are evening the playing field for small businesses.
Is your mobile and digital technology use currently limiting your digital potential?
Here are five tips to help you become a leader, not a laggard.
1. Get the basics right
• Stalk your customer – Understand your customers’ buying journey and exceed expectations. Tailor the online experience to complement your other channels and customer interactions.
• Have a realistic budget – Customer attraction and retention are crucial for small businesses. Have you set aside a budget for marketing? As a guideline 5% of revenues is recommended for existing businesses and approximately 10% for start-ups. ROI (return-on-investment) should always be key when measuring your marketing efforts. Smart investments will ensure you are well positioned to attract consumers now and in the future.
• Know your why – People connect with people. Why have you created your product? What problem are you trying to solve? How can you add value? Only then, can you make rich, engaging content that will drive people to your site and keep them coming back.
Tip 1: Get your fundamentals clear before you build on your digital profile to maximise success.
2. Make your website work for you
• Contact and capture – ensure your contact details are visible and consistent throughout your site and on business listings. Capture data where possible to enable you to continue to the conversation.
• Experience is everything – design an appealing, easy-to-use interface that will be a pleasure to use.
• Content is king – update content on a consistent basis to stay relevant to your customer and in search.
• Analytics – Know where your visitors are coming from, their journey on your website and where they are bouncing. Improve the experience through navigation tweaks and relevant content. Use results reporting to inform your strategy.
Tip 2: Customers are unforgiving so make each engagement work, starting with your website.
3. Think mobile-first
The rise of the multi-channel shopper is directly linked to the growth of the smartphone and tablet. Armed with these tools in hand, shoppers can easily review, research and shop on the go, 24/7. However, the vast majority of small business owners, 9 out of 10, are not optimised.
• Mobile audit – what devices are your customers coming to your website from? What are they looking at? Understand your mobile user.
• Mobile-specific – Make an easier and slimmed down version of your website, relevant for mobile. Clear call to action messaging including click to call, maps and purchase are essential.
• Short and succinct messaging- will improve the experience and rank more favourably with Google.
Tip 3: Have a mobile-first approach, because your customers do.
4. Improve your quality score with Google
As many people have first-page syndrome, your site won’t even get a look-in if it is not on the first page of Google search.
• Keywords & SEO smarts – use defining and searchable keywords on the front and backend when creating content. Incorporate keywords used when searching for products and services. Incorporates keywords into anchor text in page URL links and adds keyword-specific titles, descriptions and tags to videos posted on your website.
• Google extensions – make sure you are using them all where relevant.
• Boost your analytics game – know your stats. Understand where your users are coming from and make the path to purchase easy and relevant.
Tip 4: Be all over your SEO and optimise Google Adworks. If not, your competitor will be.
5. Get social
Your consumers are social so build an engaging social media presence.
• Social channels much work for your business and your customers – what is the most relevant platform to have a one-on-one conversation with your consumers?
• The consistency imperative – consumers expect businesses to update their social media channels several times a week with relevant information. Create an editorial calendar to stay connected.
• Respond promptly – set up a process for monitoring your business’ social channels and ensure you don’t miss opportunities.
• Share – your social presence wherever you can and on all your established collateral. Provide incentive to follow or engage with your business.
Tip 5: Stay relevant, get social and don’t miss out on a one-on-one conversation with your customer.
Author: Aisha Hillary, Founder/Director, Digital and Agile Consulting – digitalandagile.com. For over 15 years Aisha has helped businesses connect with their customers, grow revenue channels and create operational efficiencies through digital. Mobile and emerging technologies provides small businesses with immense opportunities, so help your business get ahead. If you are setting up shop online read 5 online smarts or email me firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Harness the power of digital to drive your business success.