Managing and updating your website and digital presence is both a pleasure and a pain. Writing your latest blog post, managing your social media profiles and adding your recent client success stories are just a few of the activities that website and business owners love and loathe.
On one hand, you are thrilled to offer your clients and customers fresh content, but on the other hand, you don’t always have the time or energy to commit to making these updates. Well, you need to make time because they are important. It matters. A lot. The following are my top three DIGITAL DO’s to market your business online and keep it off the brink of digital extinction.
1. Keep your Content Fresh and Relevant
“Content” is a broad term that references anything on your website. It can mean copy and text including headlines, it can include images and videos, and of course any blog or post that you’ve written. The key to content marketing is to keep it fresh and relevant. That will mean something different to each business and website, but the same general best practices apply – choose a topic that your customers and prospects will find useful. For example, if you are an estate planning attorney, consider writing a 500-word article on “The Importance of Estate Planning,” and include key points that people should know. By providing helpful and relevant information to your customers, you will be seen as a thought-leader in your respective industry. And if you regularly email a newsletter, you will stay top-of-mind with your customers – an all-around win.
Keeping your website and social media channels updated with fresh content by providing at least a weekly update not only provides your customers and prospects with a reason to follow, like or visit your website – it also provides effective “fuel” for search engines like Google to find new content. The chances that your business will show higher up on Google when someone does a Google search related to your business or industry will also increase.
2. Mobile-Friendly Websites
There was a time not too long ago, when having a mobile-friendly website, a.k.a. responsive design, was a nice-to-have, rather than business-critical. Times have changed. As of May 2016, Google announced that it will start favoring mobile-friendly websites in its search results. This effectively penalizes websites that are NOT mobile-friendly. This means that even if two competing websites have the same content, Google will show the website that is optimized for mobile viewing above the website that is not. This can have a huge impact on businesses that rely heavily on organic (SEO) traffic and leads to convert into customers.
How do you know whether your website is mobile-friendly or not? Chances are that if it was designed three or more years ago, it is not. Google provides a tool to check here.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you could very well be losing out on quality leads. Mobile searches make up 60% of all Google searches and 80% of those mobile searches are for local businesses. This is a huge opportunity to showcase your website and business to prospective customers.
What can you do? If your website has not been significantly updated in the past three to five years, you’re a good candidate for an overhaul. Your website agency or designer can walk you through options and should be providing you with a new design and layout options, all of which should be mobile-friendly. Take this opportunity to review all of your content and copy and make sure everything is still accurate, relevant and providing putting your best (virtual) foot forward for your business.
3. Get Social
Social media is an excellent way to connect, engage and have two-way conversations with your customers and prospects. Most successful businesses have at least one social media profile on sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube. The most savvy businesses use social media to supplement their websites with a fun and engaging experience.
We all know we should be using social media for our businesses, but where do we start? What do we do? Below are a few tips to make the most of social media.
Make it easy - Always provide links to your social media accounts somewhere on your website. Popular spots include your header and footer, but that’s not a hard, fast rule. On the flip side, make sure your social media accounts always have basic information about your business and a link to your website.
Show and tell, don’t sell – Most businesses are better off using social media to provide value-added content that is beneficial to their customers. Articles, tips, videos, opinions, questions and polls are all great content to get your followers engaged. Make it a two-way conversation by asking for feedback on a new product, and always respond to questions and concerns. No one likes to be sold to, especially on social media. It’s fine to throw out an offer or discount every so often, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. If you are too “salesy’” on your social media channels, you’ll find that your followers start to tune out, un-follow, or otherwise disengage with you.
Choose wisely – You don’t need to have a profile on every single social media channel out there. Unless you have a larger business with a full social media department, it can get quite daunting to try and manage more than one or two channels. Choose the ones best suit your needs and as we say in marketing “go where the people are.” That means if you are an interior designer, you might be better served managing a Pinterest profile rather than Twitter or LinkedIn. If you are a graphic designer, you might consider an Instagram account where images are most often the focus.
THE TAKEAWAY: Your website and social media profiles are your digital front door, and they determine a prospective customer’s first impressions of you and your business. Make it count by keeping them updated with relevant, useful content and make sure your website is mobile-friendly. All of which will help you avoid digital extinction.