Prior to the Internet, small businesses were at a distinct disadvantage to larger companies. With a typically small marketing budget there was only so much that a small company could do. Small business, and this was especially true with startups, were limited by small budgets for marketing campaigns. The climb up the ladder normally took some time and marketing was funded by either sales or investors willing to give a small business a chance.
Enter the age of the Internet, and the playing field begins to level. In some cases, smaller companies take advantage of their flat organizational structure, make decisions more quickly and implement creative and exciting campaigns online that capture the following of a growing number of Internet users.
Today, less and less budgets are directed to traditional forms of marketing and online marketing continues to exceed projections. More importantly, is HOW a marketing campaign is driven rather than HOW MUCH.
The Internet has become the great equalizer. From the users’ standpoint it has become much more difficult to distinguish between a 5 person company from a 50 person company because the entire perspective is based on a company’s website.
Users want to see several things when they visit a company’s website.
1) Professional Image – If your website looks like it was built in the 90s by a team of girl scouts for a summer project, your potential customer is going to hit the BACK button so fast it’ll make your head spin. While typically I am much more content-driven, you cannot get past a poor first impression. Hear me now – I am NOT saying spend ten grand on fluffy artwork. A professional image is available at an affordable price but the most difficult thing is understanding what looks professional. If you want a professional looking website, hire a professional. Your brother-in-law may profess to knowing HOW to build a website but your company deserves to get off on the right foot with your potential customer.
2) Content is King – Your users arrive at your website expecting to consume information. When they get and see one paragraph on the HOME page, a paragraph on some ABOUT US page and then a standard CONTACT US page; they yawn and your company had just jumped on the list of “also-rans”. Just another boring company website with the obligatory information. Make your website stand out by providing AS MUCH INFORMATION as you can possible provide!
3) Activity – is this thing on? When as user arrives at your website they want to know that your company is alive and kicking. Many times I’ll visit a website and wonder “Are these guys still in business?”. Why? Because I see ZERO activity. ZERO new content. ZERO updates. Your website tells your visitors what’s going on with your company. No updates means to the user that there is nothing happening. The result? They will move on until they find one of your competitors who is actively working their website.
4) Call to Action – You should have a call to action on each and every page even if it is something as simple as displaying a phone number and saying CALL TODAY or a BUY NOW on a product website. There’s a old saying in sales – you have to ASK FOR THE SALE! Too often, because we’re nerds about what we do, we want to go on and on about features, functions and benefits and don’t realize when a prospect has made up his mind to buy. Ask for the sale by making it easy for a customer to initiate closing the deal.
5) Be accessible – Make it easy for someone to get in contact with you. Prominently post you preferred method of contact. This may be a phone number or a contact form but DON’T make someone search or even have to click a CONTACT US page to reach you.
6) Be responsive – Congratulations! You’ve got a lead off your website. Guess what? It doesn’t mean SQUAT if you don’t follow up and follow up promptly. I will never forget even though it’s been many years ago… I was searching for a mortgage provider and I went to Quicken Loans on the Internet (they placed very high on organic search. Score one for the SEO guys ). It seemed like I had barely filled out the contact form and clicked SUBMIT and my phone was ringing. This left a lasting impression with me on how to deal with internet leads and a favorable impression for life of that company.
A company website requires a lot of work. A lot of time. A lot of effort and experience. Buzz My Biz has been providing internet consulting services since 2006 and has the experience and resources to get the job done for your small company. Give our office a call today and get started buzzing!