Step-by-step tips for managing your online presence to attract new clients
Most businesses today have a website, but many are created and then left untouched. This static presence is fine for customers who already know you and where to access your site, but your website could be doing so much more for you. This article explains how to make the most of this valuable resource.
While having a website is useful to showcase your company’s products and services, the huge volume of sites on the web mean it is often difficult to ensure prospective customers can find your site.
So, what can you do to get your website up the search engine rankings and bringing new clients to you?
New content means better ranking
Search engines scan the internet constantly and rank websites that publish new, informative content higher up the search results page, making them more visible to people looking for specific products or services. Ask yourself how often you bother to look at the second page of search results on Google? Not often, I’m sure. So, the higher you can get your website listed on page 1, the more likely you are to be found and catch that new business.
Posting new content regularly is the answer. But what can you post? You may believe you have nothing to say, but this is not the case. Whatever business you are in, there are many topics you can cover that will interest web searchers and build trust in your brand.
Website content basics
First, make sure your website covers the basics and describes what you offer clearly. List the products or services you provide and add good quality photographs. Include dimensions, weight and the user benefits of each item. Put yourself in the mind of a customer and tell them what they want or need to know.
If you exhibit at events through the year, let people know where and when they are and the types of product that will be available. After an event, write up the highlights.
Build trust in your company
Does your business have an interesting or unusual history? Is it a long-established brand? Prospective customers like to hear about your heritage. If you are a new business, tell people why you decided to set up and explain your unique selling proposition (USP). What makes your business better or different? If you provide the same as other companies, how do you differentiate? Is it with top quality customer service, or a smooth ordering process, for example? If you make something unique, paint a mental picture of why the customer should want or need it enough to make a purchase.
Showcase employees and processes
Whether you are a sole trader or a large company, think about your employees. Perhaps you want to showcase the ethos of the CEO or explain the work process of a particular member of staff. If your company makes something, write about the creative process. People who understand what is involved are more likely to pay a premium for your brand if they realise how time-consuming it is to produce, or how expensive the best materials are.
You can also showcase products or services you have delivered in the past. Describing special commissions or orders is useful to bring out the personality of your brand and demonstrates versatility. It shows you are an expert who can adapt your knowledge to a customer’s needs.
The bigger picture
Beyond describing the nitty gritty of your products and approach, think about the wider world as a topic for new content on your website. Think how your brand can be associated with external news or events. If you make tennis balls, then blogging around the time of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and mentioning tennis in your article would be a good idea; this is a time when people’s minds will be focused on the sport and web searches will spike.
As well as explaining why your tennis balls are superior in a general article, try to think even more broadly and write articles about fitness and lifestyle choices. It is all about bringing new people to your website and building trust in you when they are there. If they are impressed with your content, they are more likely to buy and to tell others.
Spread the net
You may not think that you have the time or expertise to market your product because you are so focused on creating it. Or perhaps you have one or two big customers and don’t think you need more. However, it is never a good idea to rely on a few customers, as any problems they have will directly impact your business. You need a broader base of clients to improve the security of your business and help it expand.
Marketing is not rocket science
You may not have heard of a marketing content plan, but it is simply a table of ideas for content that you can schedule through the year. Spending time writing down a calendar of topics for each month is invaluable and ensures you can plan what marketing materials you will need in advance.
Start by listing each month of the year and add in key dates for your company. What events, exhibitions or speaking engagements do you have? What new products or services are you going to launch? Are you entering competitions, and will there be awards ceremonies? Once you have entered all the company-specific dates, look to the wider world and broader issues that you can talk about. Review the plan for the year and make sure there is a new content idea listed for each month, at least. Brainstorm with other company members and make sure there are plenty of topics in the plan. If members of staff feel included in this process, they may feel more engaged and be willing to suggest new ideas in the longer term, giving everyone a hand in the marketing and, ultimately, success of the business.
Social media and newsletters
Each piece of new content is also an opportunity to broadcast further afield on social media or via an emailed newsletter. Choose the channels most relevant to your business and build in posts to the marketing content plan. You can announce new products and events on social media and link through to the details or your shop on the website. Send existing clients an email highlighting your news and include easy links to find out more or buy an item.
Put the plan into action
Once you have decided the topics and frequency of your new content posts, you must decide who is going to write them. If you are comfortable doing them yourself, work out how long you will spend on each one and make a diary note to complete and load them. There is no point in having a plan if you don’t carry it out. If you don’t have the time or skills to write the blogs and social media posts, perhaps someone else in the company is keen and has the ability? Whoever writes the articles needs to have excellent spelling and grammar, as their words will be the face of your brand on the website. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting this right.
Getting help with content marketing
If you don’t have anyone in-house who is confident to write and implement the content marketing plan, consider using an external writer. They can look at your brand and company from a user perspective and may have new ideas for content that you haven’t considered. They should also have an understanding of how internet search works online, so they can tailor your content to drive traffic – and sales – to you. They will also make the time to ensure new content is generated and published every month, removing the burden from you.