What’s one thing you want to do better? I hope it’s taking action to improve your website! It’s a huge untapped resource for most of us small businesses as we can sometimes fail to see it as an investment. Like any investment it should be showing you a profit.
Marketing your website and ensuring it is converting leads and getting you more sales should be at the top of your priorities. I have 12 pointers to help you get started on this… but trust me; they won’t work unless YOU take ACTION!
Tip 1: Set your Goals.
If you don’t have a clear direction or a set goal to target, then how do you know you’re improving? You don’t! Setting special goals can allow you to plan each step of the way and measure how far away you are from reaching the end goal.
Make sure you have SMART goals in other words they need to be: Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Timely. Here are some examples:
- Increase sales by XX% during the next financial year
- Grow my subscriber list by XX by…
- Generate XX leads on a weekly basis
- Grow my Facebook fan base to XX fans by…
- Grow online sales by XX% over the next 2 months without increasing my advertising spend
As you can see from these examples, they provide a specific target that’s measurable, accurate, isn’t unrealistic and provides a timeframe in which it needs achieving. Make yourself accountable.
So, how can you carry out achieving these goals? Through the use of tactics!
Tip 2: Defining tactics for achieving your goals.
Put simply, tactics are what you’ll use to carry out your strategies in order to accomplish your goals. Once you identify the reasons for creating and investing in your website, you’ll find it easy to put strategies and tactics in place.
So really you need to work backwards. Define your goals first and then work out how you’ll achieve them. Here are some examples of tactics you could implement:
- Build a database of email prospects
- Promote my business through email marketing
- Sell my products 24/7 using a shopping cart
- Share my expertise through a blog
- Get a guest blogging gig on XYZ blog
- Create one webinar per month on specific topics
These tactics will help you ensure your goals are SMART and can be accurately undertaken without being unrealistic for your business.
Tip 3: Are you telling your customers where to go?
If your website doesn’t clearly state what the next step is for a customer or where they should go to purchase a product or download a report, how will the customer know where to go? They won’t, and this means they’ll either wander your site aimlessly or leave your site as it’s ‘too hard to find’ what they’re looking for.
Therefore, ‘Calls to Action’, known as CTAs, need to be placed on your site in order to clearly direct your visitors to do what you want them to do. The customer came to your website to hopefully buy, so place a CTA on your homepage that clearly points to your products, and ideally at least one CTA on every single page to encourage secondary actions like add to cart, join your newsletter, download your eBook, book a consultation, etc.
The use of catchy headlines and compelling copy is what can also be used as a CTA. If your headline doesn’t catch your reader’s attention straight away, then you risk losing that customer.
Tip 4: Lead Capturing – What ‘FREE’ can really mean for your business.
People love getting things for free – if they feel there’s value. Putting a small hurdle in the way of someone getting something of value and then seeing whether they jump over it is a great way to filter qualified leads from casual browsers. Lead capture is the capturing of details (name and email as a minimum) for this qualification process. On the flip side, you could always offer free content without a barrier to encourage your content to spread more virally.
Lead capture, properly implemented, helps a visitor get to know you, like you and trust you. Give them something of value, offer them ongoing information and freebies – and once they’re ready to buy, you’ll be front of mind.
When you’re planning out how to do it, it’s best to think of it as a sale where the customer is paying with information. You’ll want to use all the sales techniques you’d normally use to try to convert visitors into leads as you would converting a prospect into a customer. Use eBooks, reports, whitepapers, webinars, calculators, templates, checklists or ongoing advice as your “product”. Keep in mind all the profiling you’ve done of your ideal clients and use their hot buttons. Create content that helps solve their problems and you’ll have them eating out of your hands!
Tip 5: Ditch the generic stock photo!
Stop relying on the same old stock photos for your website. Hire a professional photographer or even better hire a student photographer who will only charge a small fee!
Nothing beats authenticity and originality. People like to see exactly what they’re getting and they want to know it’s of good quality. Even with service based business, having photographs of your staff and what they do will add that personal touch and feel to your website. Real is better. As Ali G would say… “Keep it real.”
I’m not saying don’t use stock photos because in some cases they are needed, but consider for your 2012 website marketing to include new and original photos of you and your team.
Tip 6: How to get more email subscribers.
If you want to increase subscriptions to your newsletter, try changing the copy and making it more about your prospects’ problems, fears and concerns. Instead of saying ‘Join our Newsletter’, try ‘Free Expert Tips & Success Strategies to Make You More Profitable’. Offering them something of value is the trick! People’s inboxes are overcrowded with newsletters these days – what would entice them to join yours? A gift voucher? A Free report or eBook? Regular Free Advice? The list is endless.
We did this with ours and got a whopping 3600% increase in newsletter subscriptions!
What are you going to include in yours to convert them later on too? Free accounting advice? Industry updates? Expert webinars? Always send good quality content that will interest your subscribers. Continuous blast-outs of product announcements just doesn’t cut it these days.
Tip 7: Accelerate your conversions via landing pages.
Landing pages are simplified pages on your website dedicated to capturing leads or sales for one specific offer or product. I’m sure you’ve come across these before – a page with a sales pitch, lead capture form and one button – one way in, and only one way out.
Your response and conversion rates can be drastically improved by directing campaigns to landing pages – it keeps your message and your sales pitch crystal clear and ensures they’re not distracted by any other of your messages. Landing pages for campaigns targeting different markets can push the hot buttons of different types of ideal clients.
How can you utilise this tactic? Simple:
- Create a landing page that includes all the information about the campaign you’re running. For example if you’re offering a free eBook for the purpose of lead capture and you’re advertising it through online ads. Ensure the landing page has all the information required for the prospect to download the eBook. Include the benefits they’ll receive by downloading the book, and of course include your lead capture form. Don’t get greedy with the fields you make them complete either. Keep it simple at this first stage.
- All your advertisements should link to this one landing page. The one-click to the landing page allows the customer to qualify the product instantly and quickly download what they want.
- Ensure you keep your leads and add them to your database for further nurturing!
Landing pages are also great for promoting workshops, special product packages, eBooks or whitepapers and other valuable insider content you want to market.
Tip 8: Become an Educator.
Building a higher presence within your industry comes down to how much credibility the viewers of that industry perceive you have. A blog is a great way to position yourself and your business as experts in your field – as well as generate quality traffic for your website. Think of it as a personal journal, explaining something related to your industry (and your ideal clients) without being sales-focused. And consider getting controversial too. Make a real statement with your opinion and you could gain more traction and comments on your blog.
This integrates closely with the building of trust – for the kind of reader who goes into depth on your website, they’ll see that you’re knowledgeable, trustworthy and not going for the hard sell.
A blog, like your website, is a living, breathing asset. Google loves recent content. Google loves newsworthy content. Treat it with love and care to keep your customers and prospects coming back!
Other tools that show you are an educator within your field include:
- Email Newsletters with tips and advice
Test each type of tool and see which one your audience prefers the most!
TIP 9: Go Video.
Video is the newest way to improve your Google ranking. Utilising video on your site can make improve your rankings in Google 50 times better than a page of text!
Not only does video improve your ranking, it also allows you to explain what you do easier and will give you a better chance to build trust with your customers rather than using text on its own.
You don’t need a film crew or expensive camera to do it either. There are heaps of free tools that allow you to edit video. Search your computer – it’s bound to have one!
Tip 10: Slow and steady wins the race.
Search Engine Optimisation is a set of tactics and practices you can implement or outsource to drive your website up the natural rankings in search engines for the keywords you want to be found on.
The best way to handle SEO is to outsource it – make sure you go with a reputable provider, but know that the hours of work required to do a good job with SEO can be substantial.
However, there are a number of things you can do to improve your SEO performance without spending a cent or investing too much time:
- Think about what your ideal client is going to type into Google to find you. Do your keyword research.
- Update all your online listings. To find out where they are type your domain name into Google with inverted commas like this: “www.mydomain.com.au” and hit search.
- Build additional external links. E.g. get your suppliers to link to your site, write guest blog posts, write articles and submit them to online directories for publishing.
- Set yourself up a Google+ Local account.
- And use video where you can.
It’s a known fact that 90% of search engine users won’t go past the first 3 pages, in fact about 42% of people click on the number 1 result. That’s almost half! Therefore you need to get your business ahead of competitors. If you’re on a tight budget or the DIY type, you could even try a 30 day DIY program to improve your rank.
Tip 11: Social Media – Just do it really well.
As we all know by now, social media is where people (and your customers) are hanging out at. This means that your business should be there as well, utilising it to communicate with customers in a more personal way.
However, the point of social media tools like Facebook and YouTube isn’t about just being present. If you really want to make an impact and gain higher conversions from using social media, then you need to do it really well!
This is easier than you think if you have a good strategy behind you. Ensure you communicate on a regular basis if you’re on Facebook and encouraging participation in your posts from your ‘likers’. If you utilise YouTube, ensure you are regularly updating content and pushing links through to Facebook. Keeping active on social media will keep your audience aware of you and will eventually convert them.
Remember, only spend time where you know your audience does. Don’t waste time on Twitter if your audience isn’t using it yet. Research first then approach it from a strategic standpoint and you’ll succeed.
TIP 12: How to implement and GET actionING.
Your brain has probably just overloaded and you’re now thinking, “How do I go about implementing things like this?” Don’t stress! It’s all about planning and setting out what you want to achieve… remember tip 1 & 2? They are your first steps. Then you need to sort out what tactics (tip 3-11) you will use to achieve your goals.
Here are some quick tips of getting started on implementing:
- Set Your Goals – what do you want to achieve and by when?
- Create a Content Calendar – what are you going to market and when? Think of what you’re going to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly & annual basis then plan it out in your calendar.
- Measure using Google Analytics & Your Website Statistics – Measuring is important to ensure you are on track to achieving your goals. Don’t miss this crucial step.
- Review your progress on a monthly basis – if you aren’t on track then you should refine your processes or refine your goals to be SMART. If one medium isn’t bring any sales, maybe it’s time to ditch it and put your energy into something that will.
As you can see, when you break it down, it can be a lot easier to take action and market your website. By taking action, and being patient, I guarantee you’ll see positive results and you won’t look back!
What have you got planned? Share your ideas below. Leave a comment now.