Every small business owner wants their business to grow. Revenue is the life-blood of a business. A website should contribute to our sales efforts, but it is hard to attract customers online.
We enter this world invisible to everyone but those closest to us. We grow socially and form relationships—expanding our influence and visibility to others. People begin to know us, trust us, and listen to us. A few of us find new ways to be of service and start businesses.
Starting a business requires us to expand our influence even more. The alternative is to succumb to invisibility and close our doors.
Getting visitors to a website that tells the story of your business is vital. When your website works well, some of those visitors will become customers.
What To Expect from Your Website
According to a 2019 Bright Local study of more than 11,000 companies, business websites get 50% of their visitors from search engines. This organic traffic does not cost business owners any money. 37% of their visitors are direct, which means the user knew their web domain or followed a link in an email or text message. About 10% of their visitors are referrals from a link embedded in another website. Only a small percentage of their visitors discover them on social media. Social media marketing, especially, has room to grow.
Most small businesses shun paid search advertising. That oversight may cost them. Even micro-enterprises can use it to attract a ready supply of ready-to-buy visitors. While we are bullish on search engine advertising, we recommend caution. Only when your website engages users will there be a return on investment. Your average sale value impacts the advertising strategy you choose. With a higher average sale value and profit margin, you have more room to experiment with paid search.
3 Things To Do for Better Results
An effective digital marketing strategy will include:
- Creating social media profiles and company pages
- Clarifying taglines and calls to action
- Ditching or defining technical terms
Get Active on Social Media
Not every business will have the same success with a social media strategy. But it always works as an outreach tool. It lets you talk to future customers at scale before they visit your website.
Every small business can boost visibility with free profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Having business profiles does not mean you must invest equally in content creation on each platform. Despite limited engagement, social media profiles will have value. They let prospective customers find your business where they hang out.
A successful digital strategy does not demand the same amount of work on each platform. A business selling to other business owners may post on LinkedIn every day but rarely on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Another company whose clientele are mainly female may invest heavily in their Pinterest presence.
Your brand, customer age, and product's visual appeal will inform your platform choices. Make a social media plan and test each platform. Vary the content, format, and timing of posts. Learn from the engagement of users with content and adapt your approach.
Clarify Your Tagline
Most websites suffer from a lack of focus. Creative, catchy-but-empty phrases float over elegant-but-nondescript images. Popups interrupt the user, distracting them from learning about your business. Visitors to such websites do not stay long.
First, define a clear goal for your website's home page. Not three goals or two goals—one goal is all your home page needs. Visitors form an opinion about your website within milliseconds of landing on a page. If they do not understand what the page is about, they will move on. We have found one of the best ways to focus on a home page's purpose is to write, or rewrite, your business tagline.
Second, with a clear tagline in hand, remove distractions from your home page. Focus on the single goal you have identified. You may need to make some hard choices. One department may set their heart on sharing an ad for their fall sale. Another may want to make sure an image of their latest event is prominent. Internal business politics should not impact your home page. It is there for one reason—to serve your potential customer.
You may be able to have more than one call to action on your home page with good results. But never forget the primary goal of your page. This principle is central to all well-designed marketing tools.
The Tagline Process
Every business can improve its marketing with this exercise:
- Read Donald Miller's article, 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Tagline
- Learn how happy customers talk about your business
- Read over customer testimonials you have collected
- Have some conversations with a customer about what makes you unique and valuable
- Using the feedback you have gathered, write three or four versions of a tagline
- The following day, try your hand at a few more taglines
- Ask for feedback on the top two choices from a trusted customer or advisor
- Use the winner on your home page
Ditch (or Define) Jargon and Simplify
Your college professors may have rewarded you for using technical and complex language. Unlearn this pattern. Convoluted vocabulary may impress visitors, but it fails to call them to action. Worse, it drives them away from your business.
Here is how we write for the web:
- Keep sentences as short as possible
- Replace or define jargon
- Avoid empty words
- Using that causes wordy sentences
- Even is suspect replaceable
- Prefer lists over commas
- Use headings and subheadings for visual hierarchy
- Do not forget the spell checker
- When you stop writing, check and revise your writing with Hemingway App
- Before you publish, a grammar checker like Grammarly can save you embarrassment.
Using this process helps you write with clarity and power. Such writing guides a reader's eye rather than frustrating them. Removing friction benefits your readers.
Prefer Action Over Analysis
This article contains time-tested, proven ways you can improve your website today. Take time to think it through. But above all, try these ideas. See what works. You will have some wins when you do. If you would like professional help to grow your business, we are here to help.
Most business websites fail to live up to their potential. Either they fail to attract visitors or repel the visitors who find them. If you get active on social media, clarify your tagline, and ditch jargon, you will begin to stand out from the rest.