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Small Business and the Digital Universe: An Online Primer

posted on August 6, 2020
Marketing Selling Online

Wearing multiple hats is the name of the game when it comes to owning and managing a small business. With the ever-changing nature of the online marketing universe, it can be hard for you to know where to put your time and efforts. Yet, your online presence is something that cannot be overlooked. It is more important now more than ever before.

With these easy suggestions, you can give more attention to your existence online while creating more time for you to devote to the other all-important areas of managing and running your business.

1. It’s a balancing act

 It is going to be many long nights, several trips to the drawing board, and several mistakes along the way. Running a small business successfully takes a lot of hard work. But managing your time efficiently should be a top priority as is, more importantly, knowing when you are not the best person to handle a certain task. Putting time and effort into an area of your business that you do not fully understand will in fact decrease your productivity if you continue for too long.

A great principle of time management is that if you don’t have the time or expertise, outsource. 

You do, however, want to get a key idea of your website’s analytics. Your analytics data is a powerful tool that can assist you in many areas of your business. If you’re like most small business owners, you may feel like you lack the knowledge of website analytics and the actionable insights you can gain from that data. Give yourself some time to familiarize yourself with analytics or seek the assistance from someone that can guide you through the information and what it all means.

We see some of the most simple information in some of our clients’ analytics data that can lead to simple decisions in your website presence that can make or break the success of your website. Analytics data is overall an underutilized tool in the small business world, but can seem daunting if you’re not comfortable navigating all of it. The most successful business owners understand that they are not the expert in every area of their business. It is your role as a small business owner to know when to pass the torch onto someone else.

2. When it comes to small business, the customer is truly the most important

Be sure to follow through on customer engagement. Respond as quickly as possible to all customer communication whether that may be via social media, email, or contact form on your website. At a minimum, your response should come within at least 24 business hours of initial contact. A customer is reaching out to you for a specific reason and you must address it rapidly. This will strengthen your relationships as well as build trust and loyalty with your customers, who will in return share their experience with your business.

3. Content, Content, Content

Content is the key! Your customers are coming to your website because they have a problem they need to overcome or seek answers to their questions. Use your website and the content you provide to help them along their journey as much as you can. Your content must not only establish your credibility with them, but it needs to draw their attention and keep them coming back for more. Entertain and inform your audience and keep them engaged. 

Social Media – Hello new-aged advertising! Social media is a must for small, local businesses today. You can create some of the best customer engagement with your company and use your followers to provide their own user-generated content and testimonials for your brand. Be sure you are using the best social media outlets for your business based on which platforms your target audiences are using and post frequently, but there is a sweet spot, so you don’t want to over-post either. Be sure that you post at a minimum of three times a week and try to keep it around 1 post a day or 2 at the very most. You want to post often but keep the content relevant and engaging. Think of ways to get your followers to like, comment and share your content. Also don’t forget videos are key, especially going live. Don’t be afraid to yourself, your employees, and your business in front of the camera.

Website – First and foremost, be sure that the content on your site is up to date and relevant to your business. There is nothing worse than wrong contact information when a potential customer is trying to reach you. According to Think with Google, 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly using the search results such as the “click to call” option. This information must be ready for your customers online. Furthermore, continue to create content for your website via blogs. SEMrush states that search is the number one traffic source to blogs across all industries. People are searching for your products and services. Give them the information they are searching for and become an expert in your field. Don’t forget to use your social media channels to let your audience know that you have new content to share with them on your website. 

4. Life is going to change, so be flexible

The only consistency in life is inconsistency, especially in the small business world. Your many hats are forever changing and you must adapt accordingly. Without acknowledging the need to constantly adjust your way of thinking, you could be setting your business up for failure. Listen to your customers, stay up-to-date on new happenings in your industry, and embrace what’s next. Technology is ever-changing and it is important for small businesses to learn with these transformations. You must remove yourself from the “it has always worked” mindset. Allow yourself to listen to those that matter—your customers—and continue to grow your business in times of change.

Use reviews – your customers want to share their experiences with your business, so be sure you utilize their experiences with your business. Use their suggestions to make adjustments and keep up with the things that you are doing well. User feedback is like crowdsourcing at its finest. 

Cellphone friendly – Be sure that your online presence is mobile friendly. Your customers are more likely to grab for their phone to search for your company or product. The latest report conducted by IDC Research states that adults almost never leave their homes without a cell phone, and keep it close to them approximately 22 hours a day, on average. Smartphone users spend 87 minutes on average on their phones from Monday through Thursday, and the number jumps to 160 minutes between Friday and Sunday. The worst thing you can do is have a website that is not compatible for mobile devices. You generally don’t get more than one chance to turn a search into a customer. Also make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, in addition to other key directories. It’s a good idea to check on your location and contact info as well as the hours that you’re open every day there, as Goole feeds these into the Knowledge Panel about your business on the right side of a user search results page. 

Email marketing is your friend – be sure you are collecting email addresses from your customers. From a Campaign Monitor study in 2019, out of 1,000 small businesses surveyed, email marketing was ranked as the second most effective medium for building brand awareness. If they have already purchased from you once, they are more likely to do so again. Utilize this for specials, promotions, or sales. Don’t be afraid to use the information your customers willingly give you. Stay top of mind for your customers, just be careful to not overdo it.

5. Sell online

Let’s be honest, you are in business to make money. You need to get your business selling online and making your site transactional. With the fast-paced world, your customers are looking to hop online and have a purchase arrive in two days. While this is not always feasible for a small business, having your product or service available online is. In 2019, 51% of shoppers surveyed by Think with Google, say they use online sources to research a purchase they plan to make online. Having an eCommerce site is more affordable than ever and will lead to more transactions and increased sales.

We know that you are wearing multiple hats in running your small business and we’d ❤️ to help shoulder some of that work for you. Our team is here to help your business grow and succeed. We are happy to begin the conversation about ways to ease your workload so you have one less hat to worry about. Contact us at [email protected].

 

 

 

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