When considering marketing options for new business, owners often ask about websites.
Questions like Do I really need a website? or How much will I have to spend? are frequently on their minds. There is a good reason for this – a website is a major investment of time and resources.
So if this is something that you've been thinking about, keep reading! We've compiled the following considerations, recommendations, and cost estimates to help you.
Question 1 -- Do you need a website?
Yes. A website is a recommended investment in the success of your business.
A well-developed website:
Note: There are a very few small businesses that can survive totally on word of mouth or by having a great location. But for the vast majority of businesses, prospective customers will use the website as a verification that you are a real business.
Question 2 – how much should you expect to spend?
The answer depends on your business situation - the type of business, the profile of preferred customers and the marketing strategy to attract them.
Effectively launching or reinvigorating a business goes beyond creating a website and includes developing a marketing strategy with more than one way to attract customers. So how much you should spend depends on several factors -- look for options that fit your business goals and budget.
Thanks for reading! For questions on websites or marketing strategies to grow your business, contact us.
What direction is marketing going in 2019?
According to recent research reports, there are 5 trends that local businesses and professional practices should watch closely in the year ahead:
1. The Need for Speed (for Mobile)
Google has made it clear that the time it takes for your site to load on a mobile device is extremely important and will be used as a factor in determining search ranking. This had been driven by more consumers using mobile devices -- they tend to be impatient. Slow pages will lose out!
2. The Ever-Growing Importance of Online Reviews and Ratings
Local businesses already know they benefit from having good online reviews and ratings. But these are growing in importance -- these evaluations are not just nice to have but should become an essential part of your marketing strategy. A recent survey found that 86% of US consumers consult online reviews and ratings when evaluating local businesses.
3. Customer Reviews Growing Impact on Search Engine Optimization
Because online reviews and ratings are so highly valued by consumers, they can now impact local search engine optimization (SEO). Google appears to be incorporating high ratings and positive reviews in ranking mapped local business. This means that without a number of good reviews and ratings, your practice may be less easily found in search results.
4. Google My Business Increases Importance
After phasing out G+, Google put more emphasis on their Google My Business platform. If you only have time for one marketing activity, update your Google My Business listing! An analysis by Moz of local search rank factors found that Google My Business elements — the specified address, keywords, categories, etc.— have the most influence on local pack results and the fourth-most influence on organic results overall.
5. Facebook Changes and Recommendations Become More Valuable
Facebook has also had a series of recent product changes. These include easier options for highlighting things like special events and sales. In addition, Facebook has emphasized Recommendations, a feature that allows people to suggest firms they like by using text, photos, and tags.
If you’d like to discuss how to best use these trends to help your business this year, let me know and we’ll set up a phone chat!
Do you feel like no one is reading the content you've so carefully composed, edited and maybe even sweated over?
If so, you have a good deal of company -- there are many blogs out there and very few business owners start with a large following! To help you get more readers, here are some tips from Neil Patel (who should know, as he averages 37,000+ visitors to his blog) :
Thanks for reading! Let me know if any of these work for you. :)
If you need more ideas, go to the link for Neil's original post -- you can find it between post 902 and 903.
Whether you are an established business or just starting out, your website is an important vehicle for prospective clients to find and become interested in your services. It should be a great representative of your brand and the expertise you offer.
Does your site contain the information your prospects need to consider your firm?
Let's start with some facts - according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Marketing Professional Services, SMPS, there are five types of information prospective buyers look for:
#1 Expertise /Project Descriptions -- Prospects check for expertise to see if the firm has successful experience with projects that are similar to the one that they are looking to hire an outside firm to help with.
#2 Firm profile/history -- Prospects visit this section to learn about a firm’s size, longevity and priorities to see if they should contact them. They might also look for credentials, methodology, value or techniques/process. For example, for Architecture and Engineering firms, they may check for an ACASS rating (rating from the Federal Government) or professional memberships.
#3 Services provided -- This section helps prospective clients verify that the firm cam provide the types of service(s) that they need. Examples can help illustrate expertise and this information could be on the same page as the project descriptions.
#4 Client lists -- The fourth most visited area is client lists. Viewing a client list gives a prospect the confidence knowing the firm has worked for others in their industry. Testimonials are also helpful.
#5 Staff info -- While this area was only visited by 24% of respondents of the survey, when asked about what things they would have liked to check that they did not find on websites, they answered staff information, especially qualifications and certifications in the biographies of the staff.
Other items that impact prospect perceptions include:
Quality of the site itself – typos, difficult navigation, or outdated web design were sited as items that reflected negatively on the quality of the firm.
Inconsistent Branding - images, content and graphics that do not reflect the companies values, culture and offerings.
Contact information – it is important that there is a way to contact the firm on each page.
Does your website provide the key information listed above a way that supports your brand and business development efforts? If you are not sure, please contact us to schedule a website review.
Other blogs on this topic:
'Tis the season to thank your customers!
Thanking your customers is a simple but effective gesture to let them know you appreciate them. This can be done in many ways. Here are a few:
Note: However you choose to appreciate your customers, remember to stay consistent with your brand values.
For example, if your values include supporting the local community, choose treats from non-profits or gift from locally-owned businesses. In the Triangle area, Life Experiences, Inc offers wonderful brownie and cookie trays for your office or key customers. For those environmentally minded, the World Wildlife Fund has a array of choices. Or instead of gifts, you could donate to a charity of their choice.
Do you have some innovative ways your company appreciates your customers this holiday season? What type of customer appreciation do you value most?
Or if you know of a non-profit with ideas for customer gifts, please feel free to share the links in the comments.
Thank you for reading! We appreciate our readers and wish you a wonderful holiday season!
Are you posting more but getting less from your efforts? As a small business marketer or owner, you only have so much time and resources. Explore the eight questions below to see how you can increase your social media impact.
About our Blog:
Marketing Tips is dedicated to providing busy professionals and local businesses with information on marketing trends, strategy and tactics in a way that is both accurate and easy to read.