Today, every local business MUST have a website if they want to compete with their competition. But, websites and the way the internet works has dramatically changed over the past few years.
A few years ago, you could have gotten away with your website being a fancy online brochure. Today, you need a website that can be found by your buying audience and the ability to turn those visitors (someone who visits your website) into a lead/customer.
To accomplish this, here are the top 5 MUSTS that every local business owner must have on their website.
1. Easy to Find Contact Information: When a potential customer visits your website what do you want to happen? You want them to contact you so you can turn that potential customer into a buying customer!
You need to make it as easy as possible for the visitor to find your contact information. If you make the visitor search all over your website to find your phone number, email, or contact form… there’s a good chance they will become frustrated and leave your site – lost business!
My Suggestion: On every page of your website, in the top right hand corner you should list your phone number and email. Again, make sure it is listed on every page. This way when the visitor is ready to give you a call or email you, your information is right in front of their face no matter where they are on your website.
Also, add a contact form and add a link to the contact page on your menu bar. Some visitors might have a question, but they don’t necessarily want to call you. Allow them to ask their question by filling out a form on your “Contact Us” page. On this contact us page include a field for their name, email, phone, and question. When a question is submitted, follow-up with your potential customer in a timely matter and turn them into a paying customer!
2. Social Media Integration: Everyone is on social networking site. No matter how old or young, they’re using social media!
Add your business to all the major social networking sites! Add your business to at least the top 2 – Facebook and Twitter. But, I suggest you do a little research and see where your buying audience is “hanging out” in the social media world and also add your business to those social networking sites. Here is a good list for the top 15 social networking sites.
Once you add your business to these social networking sites, add links to your profiles on your website. Give you visitors the chance to check out your social profiles so they can – “follow”, “like”, “share” etc. your profiles. I suggest you add these links in the footer of every page of your website. You can make it look nice by adding the logo of each social networking site and having the logo link back to your newly created profile page.
Now that you’ve added the links to your website, you are also going to want to add “social share” buttons to your website. This allows your visitors to share your website on their social networking pages, so all their friends & family members can see (free publicity). Here are links to the major social networking sites where they provide the code to add a share button to your site –
3. Email Marketing: Every local business must build an email database. This is a great & inexpensive way to stay in front of your buying audience and customers. This will help build your TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness).
You want to add an email signup form on your website. Why? Because, not every single person who visits your site is going to be ready to buy your products/services. But, if you give them the ability to add their name and email to your database, you can now follow-up with them in the future with product/service announcements, special offers, coupons, etc. and eventually turn them into a buying customer.
My Suggestion: A great way to get your visitors to add their name and email to your database is give them an incentive to signup. What you can do is add an email capture form and above that form say something like “Add your name and email below and INSTANTLY receive a $5 dollar off coupon on your next visit.” Once they add their name and email they are instantly emailed their coupon (an auto-response). This is actually very easy to implement and I suggest you check out GetResponse to help you automate this process and for all your email marketing needs.
4. Mobile Optimized Website: Did you know that 3 in every 4 searches are now done on a mobile device? That means 75% of your buying audience is searching for your products/services from their phone. (this number is only going to continue to grow)
Because of this, your website must be optimized for mobile devices. A mobile optimized website should be a very basic layout, created to fit the screen of mobile devices, with the most important information about your business being listed. You want to explain your products/services, but more importantly you want to list all of your contact information. Add a tap-to-call phone number (they can just click the phone number on the screen to call you) and you want a map to your store with directions.
When most people are searching for your products/services from their phone… they are ready to buy or learn more. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to call you and find your store!
5. Business Blog: You might think that you don’t really need a blog or you have no clue what you would even put on your blog. But, every local business should have a business blog on their website.
Having a business blog gives your buying audience a reason to come back to your website. If you’re never adding new content to your website… what’s the reason for the potential customer to ever visit your site again?
These blog posts don’t have to be long. They can be short updates about your business, special offers that you’re running, new products/services you are coming out with, what you’ve been doing in the community, etc.
This will also help with your search engine optimization (your rankings in the search engines) and again, this will help with your TOMA. The more you get your buying audience to visit your site, the better chance they will remember you and when they’re ready to buy a product or service – they will think of you first!
If you add these 5 ideas on your local business website, you are going to be way ahead of your competition!
If you have any questions or need help implementing any of these ideas… don’t hesitate to contact me!
To Your Success,
Internet Marketing Solutions Group