This week I appeared on the radio program Money For Lunch and discussed with host Bert Martinez how small businesses can better leverage their websites and online marketing campaigns into more revenue. You can listen to the segment here, and skip to about 48:30.
I wasn’t able to cover everything I had written down as talking points, so I have decided to post my notes and suggestions covered in the segment below.
Discussion Topic: “How can business owners leverage their websites and online marketing to increase revenue?”
- What are some ways business owners can improve the performance of their website and increase traffic?
- Creating good content that people want to share – Search engines are looking for well written content that is most responsive to the searchers request. The more content you have out there, the more search traffic you can potentially get.
- Writing articles for other websites, which positions you as the expert – Offer to guest blog on industry websites. This will open you up to a new audience, position you as an expert, and provide valuable backlinks to your website.
- Issuing press releases – Brings credibility, targeted traffic, and back links to your website.
- Making your website simple and easy to navigate, make sure to fix problems like broken links or formatting issues, and make sure the phone number, address and contact link are display prominently.
- Getting high quality links to your website. Links are in a way, the currency of the internet. If search engines see other websites are linking back to your site, they assume you have good information people care about, and that you must be an authority on that subject, and as a result, you’ll perform better in search.
- Once you’ve been able to get more traffic, how can you convert that new traffic into more revenue for your business?
- Psychology of user interaction – In the same way people read a newspaper, web users interact with a website. Position important call to action elements in locations that grab the users attention, and drive them to take a specific action. Remove clutter and make sure each page focuses on a specific call to action – eg., adding an item to their cart, filling out a contact form, signing up for your newsletter, etc.
- Tracking user data and metrics – Just as you track specific metrics of your business, you should also be tracking metrics of your website. Where are users coming from, which pages are they leaving (or bouncing) on, which keywords are they using, etc. and then analyzing this data to continually improving the performance of your website.
- Is there value in devoting resources to social media?
- It’s different for every business and industry. It will come easier for some, and harder for others. Social media is all about connecting with people on a personal level. It can also level the playing field with your competition, even if they have larger marketing budgets. This is a place where you can get creative, express who you really are, who your company is and their values, and provide real personal service. You can create a community of people who really care about your service or product, and will be willing to share it with others. If you are a consultant, it can be an easy way to communicate your ideas, build a following and establish yourself as an expert
- Should business owners be spending money on “paid advertising” such as Google Adwords and similar marketing avenues?
- Search Engine Marketing, Adwords and others can be effective when supplementing your organic efforts as we just talked about. Many business owners put up a website, and don’t bother (either because they don’t know, or don’t have the time) with the organic website optimization, they go straight to paying for clicks. Which is great, it can get you traffic, but it’s a bit like building your house on sand. If you run out of money, you lose your traffic. It’s also important that you’re able to track the performance of these campaigns, setup A/B split testing to find out what ads and landing pages and messages work best, which keywords perform better than others, and so on. Never trust anyone who guarantees results or placement – no matter how effective our efforts are, no matter how much we know about what search engines look for, we ultimately cannot control how they look at us and place us in search.
- What’s one thing businesses should focus on with their websites in 2013?
- Making your website and message more mobile friendly. 20-40% of your website traffic is likely to come via mobile devices, and that number will continue to grow. Making sure your website is responsive to these devices is key to having an effective website that converts. Try accessing your website from a mobile device – Is your website easy to use? Is it easy to read? Does it format correctly? Is there are clear message? Can you easily be contacted? Mobile users are looking for specific information, and quickly. They want to find your address or phone number, or pictures and information on a product – Make it easy, and make sure it “closes the deal”
- If you look at your competitors, I’d bet many aren’t doing a lot of these things. You only have to do just a little bit more than they are, and you’ll come out ahead.