Get Your Business Online: set up a website
Your website is the virtual shop window to your business. It is where people go to find out about you, what you offer and more importantly, how you can help them.
A good website increases credibility and can help your business stand out from competitors. It is also an opportunity to bring more enquiries into the business as you will have (hopefully) provided them with your contact details.
However, building a website can be rather time-consuming, and sometimes, a bit of a technical minefield. Besides how it looks, other things you need to consider include:
- creating content that speaks to your customers
- choosing the right images that work well in the context of your website, brand and content
- user experience (how easy it is to use and navigate your website)
- mobile-friendliness (a website that is compatible with mobile devices as well as desktops)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – so people can find you online
If building your website (or the idea of it) is giving you a headache, the good news is that there are plenty of professional web designers and copywriters out there who can help you.
Get Noticed Online: create good quality content
Regular and relevant content that is of interest to your customers will not only showcase your expertise; it will also put you on their radar as a trusted provider. Find out what their most common questions are and answer them in your content. There are various ways you can go about finding out what questions people are asking, including:
- Asking customers directly (e.g. in person or via email or social media)
- Checking out posts in forums or on social media
- Keyword research
Also, don’t forget to let readers know what you want to do next with a clear Call to Action. For example, do you want them to call you to book an appointment, download an information guide or read an article on your website? A good Call to Action will increase the chances of people sticking around to engage with your business.
Blogging is a quick way to get started with content creation, as you can post blogs directly on your website. If you already have a company blog, consider updating and refreshing your existing content. Doing this can help keep your site relevant in search results; it also shows people that you keep up to date with changes in your industry.
Build Trust Online: list your business on review sites
With the internet in our pockets (quite literally), it’s easier than ever to search for a local business. Online reviews play a pivotal role in purchase decisions, making them the new word of mouth. Research by Critical Research in 2021 found that 67% of consumers are more likely to choose a business that has online reviews.
People often visit established review sites for reliable information about a company. Therefore, it makes sense to have listings in those places.
Examples of review sites include Google My Business and Yell.com. Then there are industry-specific sites such as TrustaTrader or TripAdvisor. It’s worth taking some time to find out which ones are most used by your customers, and therefore most relevant to your business.
When setting up your profiles, remember to add your location, as this will help local customers find you.
Get Social: set up your social media profiles
Social media allows you to engage and interact with customers online, building awareness and trust in your brand.
There are various platforms to choose from, depending on your business. Find out where your customers hang out and build a presence there. The most common platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Whichever platform you choose, make sure you:
- Post regularly (not just promotional stuff)
- Reply to comments and questions
- Thank customers for their support