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How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing?

How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing?

Location-based SEO strategies can be expensive, competitive, and complicated to implement. Luckily, though, there are several free tools you can use to bump up your local search rankings.

One of these tools is “Google My Business.”

The primary focus of Google My Business is to make it as simple as possible for potential customers to learn more about your local business.

Here’s how it works:

GMB

When users search for something on Google (in this example, “Allen Texas pet stores”), they will see a map and a list of the top three local listings that are nearby, before they see any other results. These top three listings will give users plenty of information right away — they can see the store’s ratings, address, opening and closing hours, and contact number. For some, that could be enough to make a decision.

Google My Business essentially helps you improve your chances of entering this “Local 3-Pack” and driving more traffic to your website, social channels, and front door. This makes it important for you to ensure that you have a Google My Business listing and, more importantly, that it’s optimized.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a quick look at how you can optimize your Google My Business listing to dominate local search rankings and boost your online visibility.

1. Set up your listing.

The first thing you need to do is claim and verify your Google My Business Listing (if you haven’t already done so). To set up your listing, visit the Google My Business page and click the “Start Now” button in the upper left corner.

Claim

Once you’ve claimed and verified your listing, fill in every relevant field — such as your business name, address and phone number (otherwise known as NAP), website, and store hours, among other things. You don’t want to leave anything to the guesswork or assumptions of your customers, do you?

2. Make sure your information is consistent.

Google looks at how consistent your business information is across different online platforms to verify the legitimacy of your listing. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Your address isn’t going to change on different platforms, right?

Well, it’s actually pretty easy for little variations in your information to slip. You may, for example, enter your address as “Richardson Court” on your website, but shorten it to “Richardson Ct.” on your Yelp listing — and this will put you on Google’s naughty list. So, make sure that your business information on Google My Business listing is consistent with the information on your website and social channels.

3. Choose a relevant business category.

The category you choose will help Google decide which searches to rank your local listing in. So, you must select the category that best fits your business from the list of available categories.

Local Listing

Important: If possible, select the more specific category available. For example, in this list of categories, “marketing agency” is a more general and, therefore, more competitive term than “internet marketing service.” This means that choosing the latter term is more likely to land you in the “Local 3-Pack”.

4. Upload high-resolution images, 360-view and videos.

Would you prefer customers to visit your business location rather than your competitors’? Of course, you would. Add some high-resolution, well-lit photos to help your listing stand out and make that happen.

local Listing

Another great way to stand out is to hire a Google-approved photographer to create a 360-view virtual tour of your business.

Listing

To give users a “behind-the-scenes” look at what your business is all about and establish a strong bond with your customers, you can also add a 30-second video to your listing.

5. Avoid penalty-inducing offenses.

Any work you do to optimize your listing will be in vain if you try to play the system and incur a penalty. Google actively suspends business listings caught violating its guidelines, and if your listing is one of them, it could be pretty bad for business. So, it’s best to avoid doing anything that puts you at risk.

Read through Google’s guidelines for Google My Business listings to get a clear understanding of what you should avoid doing.

6. Encourage reviews.

Local businesses listed in the map snippet of a local search usually have star ratings next to their name. These ratings are a huge part of your local search effort, and, more importantly, they are important for your customers. As prospective buyers have turned more to self-guided research, they tend to trust businesses that are highly rated by their past customers.

Listing

One of the best ways to get your star rating up is by encouraging your happy customers to give you a review on Google. There are many ways you can do this, but the easiest and most successful approach is to simply ask them — create a link that allows customers to visit your listing and write reviews for your business.

Here’s how you can do that:

Step 1: Open Google Maps and search the name of your company in the top left corner.

Local Listing

Step 2: From the menu option in the top-left corner, click “Share or Embed Map.”

Local Listing

Step 3: Click “Copy Link.”

Google My Business

Step 4: Share with all your previous customers by sending the link via email or text.

Related Blog5 ways to handle negative business reviews

7. Don’t ignore SEO.

Google My Business is a part of your local SEO, so don’t brush aside the need to optimize your website for search. Creating better (this could mean original, more in-depth, better structured, and locally-focused) content, incorporating relevant keywords into the meta tags and copy on each page, and finding high-quality backlinks will undoubtedly have search engines giving your local business more exposure.

8. Use Google Posts

Google Posts are almost like “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up prominently in the Google My Business “knowledge panel” and contain important information customers want to know about your business.

Google Listing

Don’t miss this opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few examples of GMB post ideas that you will get your creative juices flowing:

  • Touting the upcoming sales event that you are actively promoting.
  • Linking your latest blog post.
  • Revealing a new product line with several high-quality images.
  • Sharing a text update on a recent company advancement.

Keep in mind: Google Posts are only active for up to seven days, making it important to work out your posts in a specific and timely manner.

Conclusion

Local SEO, like traditional SEO, is a long process and takes a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it. If you are in business for a long haul or want to maximize your profitability by driving more qualified leads to your doorstep, you need to learn how to make the most out of your Google My Business listing.

Looking for a competitive edge for your local business in Dallas, Texas?

The Dallas digital marketing team at Click4Corp can help your local business position itself in front of new customers, and ahead of your market rivals by employing one of the most effective strategies your local business has in its marketing arsenal: Google My Business.

Give us a call at 469-441-4678 or fill out a simple online form to learn more about our listing management and local SEO services!

The Google My Business landscape has changed a lot in the past few months due to the coronavirus diseases. Read our blog on “Google My Business Updates Following The Covid-19 Outbreak” to learn more.

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business

How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing?

9 Local SEO secrets

Local SEO is arguably the most effective tool small businesses have in their marketing arsenal. That being said, it is not enough to simply set up a local SEO campaign and then forget about it. If you are in business for a long haul or if you want to maximize your profitability by driving more qualified leads to your doorstep, then you need to learn how to make the most out of your local SEO efforts.

So, in today’s blog, we are going to take a quick look at nine local SEO secrets that can help you dominate local search rankings and boost your online visibility.

1. Build a Strong Citation Profile

Having a strong citation profile (publications of your core business data on the Internet) can have a positive effect on your local search rankings. In addition, it can influence consumer discovery, which can result in web, phone, and foot traffic, culminating in transactions. So, take the time to get yourself listed on some quality citation sources, including notable local business data platforms (including popular social and review-oriented sites like Facebook and Yelp), geo/industry-specific platforms (such as the chamber of commerce websites or the websites of professional associations and guilds) and a wide variety of publications, including blogs, news sites, apps, maps, government databases, and more.

Local Listings

2. Keep Your Citations up to Date

As an extension to secret #1, it is important that you keep all the data featured on your accrued citations accurate and consistent, using the exact same structure and information. If the data search engines such as Google encounter is consistent and accurate, they trust the validity of your citation, which will strengthen your chances of ranking well in search results. Accurate citations also help direct customers to your business, leading to an improved public perception and higher revenue.

3. Put a Plan in Place to Encourage Reviews

Reviews are a huge part of your local search effort, and, more importantly, they are important for your customers. As prospective buyers have turned more to self-guided research, they tend to trust the opinions and experiences of the business’ past customers when it comes to evaluating options and making purchasing decisions. So, if you want to increase your visibility in search engines locally and build a relationship with your customers, encourage them to leave reviews. There are many ways you can do this, but the easiest and most successful way is to simply ask them. Put up signage in your store, ask in every email you send, reach out to customers on social media, or include a call-to-action on the base of a menu, invoice, or receipt.

4. Respond to All Reviews

When customers start leaving comments for you (whether they are good, bad, or neutral), make sure you respond to them — all of them. Interacting with customers by responding appropriately to their reviews shows that you value their thoughts and ideas. It also shows prospective clients that you care about providing quality customer service.

Related: 5 ways to handle negative business reviews

5. Produce Epic Content

Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. So, do not brush aside the need to produce awesome content to strengthen your local SEO. Creating better (this could mean original, more in-depth, better structured, and factual) content will undoubtedly have search engines giving your local business more exposure.

6. Identify Easy Link Opportunities

One of the most effective ways to drive qualified traffic to your local business is through some high-quality backlinks. It is true that finding high-quality backlinks is a long process and takes a lot of work — but the potential reward is worth it in the end. You can identify link building opportunities through your established business relationships, local outreach programs, sponsorships, offline groups, and, of course, by going the extra mile and analyze the link profile of similar businesses located in other cities or states.

7. Understand Your Audience

If you want to get the most out of your marketing, get a clear and precise understanding of your audience. This could mean identifying the specific characteristics of your ideal customers, including geographic, demographic, and psychographic variables, such as their personality traits, interests, values, and opinions. Creating a “buyer persona” will help you craft the perfect marketing message to appeal to your target market.

8. Conduct a Gap Analysis

Do you want the content on your website to get old and stale over time? Probably not! Well, in order to keep your content fresh and exciting, you may want to consider using a “Content Gap Analysis.” Content Gap Analysis is simply a strategy that can be used to identify the key issues within your existing content so that you can fix them. You can find opportunities to refresh your old content via competitor-based content gap analysis or market-based content gap analysis. It can provide massive local SEO gains, including improved ranking positions and organic traffic.

9. Be Aware That Local Means Local

Remember that the word “local” in local SEO means local. Confused? Let us help you understand this with an example. Say you want to get your local business ranked in Allen, Texas. For that, you must have a physical postal address located in Allen, Texas. Many people struggle to understand this simple concept and expect their site to rank outside their own geographical area. It is never going to happen.

Conclusion

So there you have it: our 9 secrets to improving your local SEO efforts.

The Dallas digital marketing team at Click4Corp can help your local business position itself in front of new customers, and ahead of your market rivals.

Give us a call at 469-441-4678 or fill out a simple online form to learn more about our local SEO services!

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business

12 Items you need to do for your GMB

12 Items you need to do for your GMB

When it comes to successful inbound marketing and location-based SEO strategies, one of the best tools available to local business owners is Google My Business (GMB).

Getting on GMB will help business owners improve their odds of getting on the Local 3-Pack and drive more traffic to their website, social channels, and front door.

If you have not claimed and verified your GMB listing yet, you can do so by visiting www.google.com/business/.

Claimed and verified your Google My Business listing?

Well, that is not enough!

To get the most out of your GMB listing, you need to optimize it. Here are a few ways to do that:

1.Fill in all the relevant details about your business.

The key purpose of your Google My Business listing is to make it much easier for potential customers to know more about your local business.

Don’t leave anything to the guesses or assumptions of your customers.

Make sure your listing clearly communicates your business name, address and phone number (otherwise known as NAP), website and store hours to potential customers.

Verify all the information on your listing for accuracy and ensure it is consistent with the information on your website and social channels.

2.Select a business category.

By choosing the right business category, you make it easier for customers who are searching for the services you offer to connect with you.

3.Make sure your map pin is in the correct spot.

It might seem obvious, but don’t forget to make sure your business address matches the correct coordinates on the map. You don’t want to miss out on foot traffic because you’re not showing up on the map

4.Add descriptions.

Google now allows you to use 750 characters (~250 characters before the “Read More” separator) to describe your goods, services, and values, among other things. Use these characters well, and you will find your customers (and Google) favoring you over your competition.

Google is actively reviewing your business description to ensure that people are not scammed or trolled. So, be sure to follow the following guidelines:

5. Reinforce your listing with keywords.

Google takes into account the same traditional ranking signals to serve local search results. So, using relevant and trending keywords in your Google My Business listing would be beneficial for your local online presence.

Be careful, though.

Stuffing your listing with keywords (relevant or not) could actually have the complete opposite effect.

6.Add posts.

Google Posts are almost like “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up prominently in the GMB “knowledge panel” and contain important information customers want to know about your business.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few examples of GMB post ideas that you will get your creative juices flowing:

  • Touting the upcoming sales event that you are actively promoting.
  • Linking your latest blog post.
  • Revealing a new product line with several high-quality images.
  • Sharing a text update on a recent company advancement.

Keep in mind: Google Posts are only active for up to seven days, making it important to work out your posts in a specific and timely manner.

7.Manage customer reviews.

Reviews are the cornerstone of local SEO… more so in 2020 than ever before. They can help your business rise up in local search results rankings, they can help you build customer trust and loyalty, and they can improve your website’s click-through rates.

So, why not create a link that allows customers to visit your listing and write reviews for your business?

Here’s how you can do that:

Step 1: Open www.google.com/maps and search the name of your company in the top left corner.

Step 2: From the menu option in the top-left corner, click “Share or Embed Map.”

Step 3: Click “Copy Link.”

Step 4: Share with all your previous customers by sending the link via email or text.

8.Respond to Reviews.

When customers start leaving comments for you — good, bad or neutral — on your GMB listing, make sure you respond to them… all of them. Interacting with customers by responding appropriately to their feedback shows that you value their opinions, and it also shows prospective clients that you care about providing quality customer service.

9. Respond to Q&As.

Like the reviews, you can not afford to overlook the “questions” that appear on your listing’s knowledge panel. When a customer asks you a question, make sure you take the time to give an appropriate answer.

10.Make your listing visually appealing with photos.

Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos, according to Google.

Would you prefer customers visit your location rather than your competitors’? Then add some high-quality photos.

Before you go around uploading all the photos off your iCloud, here are some things you should know:

  • All photos should be in either a JPG or PNG format.
  • All photos should have a file size of anywhere between 10 kb to 5 Mb.
  • All photos should have a minimum resolution of 720×720 pixels.
  • All photos should be well lit, and there should be little to no enhancement or excessive use of image filters.

Keep in mind: not only can you upload your own high-quality photos, but you can also include user-generated images. Someone snapped and posted a great picture of your store? Use it as your profile picture by selecting it under the “Photos Tagged of your Business” option.

11.Don’t forget to add videos.

Google now allows you to add a 30-second video to your Google My Business listing!  

Adding videos to your business is a great way to let your customers get a “behind-the-scenes” look at what your business is all about. This will help you establish a strong(er) bond with your intended audience and earn their trust and loyalty.

12. Start Measuring.

With Google My Business Insights, you can take a look at what goes on behind the scenes. You can find out how customers find your GMB listing and what they do after they find it (e.g., click on driving directions and make phone calls).

Insights

Get the most out of your Google My Business listing

So there you have it: our top 12 tips on optimizing Google My Business listings for small businesses.

The Dallas digital marketing team at Click4Corp can help you employ one of the most effective strategies your local business can use to position itself in front of new customers, and ahead of your market rivals. Contact us today to learn more about our listing management services!

The Google My Business landscape has changed a lot in the past few months due to the coronavirus diseases. Read our blog on “Google My Business Updates Following The Covid-19 Outbreak” to learn more.

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business

9 Most Harmful SEO Mistakes

9 Most Harmful SEO Mistakes

SEO is one of the most widely recognized forms of online marketing that keeps evolving at the speed of light. The ever-evolving nature of SEO means that the strategies that worked for you six months ago might be completely out of date today. And, if you fail to reconfigure your strategies to the dynamic SEO landscape, you might make a few mistakes that, even though tiny, could end up tanking your ranks in SERPs.

In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at nine such mistakes and our tips on how to fix them.

1. Slow Site Speed

Most users have very little patience, and if the website takes more than 2 seconds to load, their patience will wear out and they will end up abandoning the website.

In other words, no matter how much time, effort and money you have invested in driving organic traffic to your website, it’s all futile if the page takes forever to load.

What’s the fix?

Run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights to test your website’s speed. If it’s slower than the optimal speed, you’ve got work ahead of you.

Site Speed

You can work on optimizing your site speed by:

  • Removing unnecessary characters;
  • Removing redirects;
  • Resizing and compressing images on your site;
  • Minimizing CSS and JavaScript files; and
  • Having a hosting solution that can deal with large volumes of traffic.

2. Blocked Files

Googlebot should be able to crawl and index important scripts such as JavaScript and CSS or image files on your website. If the robots.txt file on your site blocks Google’s access to those files, you’re sending the wrong signals and risking your ranking in search results.

Blocked Files

Your site might not be malicious, but that’s exactly what Google would think if you have a lot of restricted files. How do you expect the search giant to display your content when it can’t trust your site?

To prevent this potential disaster, test your robots.txt files on the Google Search Console to make sure that no necessary elements are disallowed.

Google Search Console

Use Google’s Fetch tool to ensure you have no further indexing issues.

Structured Data Testing

3. Interstitials Ads

Google is at war against interstitials that ruin the user experience. Back in 2017, it even announced an update known as the Intrusive Interstitial Penalty, which explicitly states that if a website is found guilty of showing intrusive pop-ups, banners or overlays, its ranks would be bumped down in SERPs.

Ads

If you want to make your mobile website conversion-friendly, don’t use these intrusive interstitials. But if you do decide to use them, be responsible about it. Don’t go out of your way to interrupt the user experience, and try to make pop-ups as seamless as possible.

4. Unplayable Content

Considering how smartphone users outnumber desktop users, the former should have access to everything a website offers. Yet far too many content types, such as unoptimized gif and flash, remain desktop-only, which may lead to a poor or disconnected user experience on mobile devices.

If you’re serious about having a slice of that mobile market, you need to ensure your website is clear of any unplayable content.

Use HTML5 standard tags for animation and use video embedding that are playable on all devices. Google Web Designer can help make it easy to create animations in HTML 5 so that your content is more widely accessible.

HTML

5. Bad Redirects

If your sitemap changes or if you’re restructuring your URLs, you need to set up 301 redirects to ensure that valuable SEO juice from your old URL is transferred to the new one.

Failing to do this may result in a drop in your rankings as well as more 404 errors (the dreaded “page not found” fail-whale) for your site’s visitors.

Site visitors

6. Mobile-Only 404s

If users see a 404 error when they visit your mobile site, but the same page is visible without a problem on a desktop browser, it is a problem that needs to be remedied.

404 Error

Our website audit can help you easily find and fix all 404 and soft 404 pages on your website.

7. No Rich Snippets

Gone are the days when search engine result pages only included necessary information about websites. Rich snippets allow search engines to give more details to the search user, which can directly impact the click-through rate for the given listing — especially on mobile devices.

So, if you’re not using Schema Structured Data markup, you’re missing out on a key driver of organic CTR.

Schema

You can test your website’s structured data, and make sure that your mobile and desktop versions are equivalent, using this Structured Data Testing Tool.

8. Not Specifying Mobile Viewport

It’s no secret that today we have more mobile screen sizes than ever before. Unless you have clearly identified the right viewports with meta tags, some of your users may experience distorted or incorrectly configured pages when they visit your site using their mobile device — which will lead to poor user experience.

However, you can easily solve this problem by enabling user scaling and controlling the basic dimensions of the web page by using the meta viewport tag. The responsive web design basics on Google Developers blog is also a good resource to learn more about it.

The number of people who access the internet through mobile devices is higher than the number of desktop users. Moreover, Google also tends to favor websites optimized for mobile devices. Therefore, by not making your website mobile-friendly, you’re losing out on so many potential customers and good SEO equity.

You can read our blog on how to make your website more mobile-friendly to better understand how to fine-tune your website in a way that it functions the way you want it on mobile devices

Conclusion

So, these were the 9 common mistakes that you should avoid if you want your site’s SEO to be successful in the long run. That being said, you don’t have to worry about doing everything right if you leave the job to professionals.

At Click4Corp, our team of SEO experts in Dallas, TX, will make sure your site remains in Google’s good books and attracts a large number of qualified leads. Contact us today for more details.

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business

9 Simple Steps To Increase Your Domain Authority

9 Simple Steps To Increase Your Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a ranking metric developed by Moz, a Seattle-based software service (SaaS) company, that predicts how well a site will rank online. DA is measured on a scale of 1 to 100 — the closer you are to 100, the better your odds of ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs) and earning more clicks.

What’s your site’s DA?

Moz has a free tool called Link Explorer that you can use to check your site’s DA.

Head over to https://analytics.moz.com/pro/link-explorer/home. You’ll see a page with a search bar in the middle:

Moz Link Explorer

Enter your site URL into the search bar and hit “Analyze.” You’ll see a results page with your DA listed:

Moz domain authority overview

We’d say most DAs hover around the 30-50 mark, roughly speaking. However, if your DA is lower than that, don’t be discouraged.

With this nine-step plan, you will most definitely improve your DA score.

1. Age your domain name.

They say that wisdom comes with age — and this is especially true when it comes to your domain name. Older domain names are seen as more legitimate and have a much higher DA score than younger domain names. It means that every time you change your domain, it’s like knocking down the credibility you’ve built up over the years and starting from scratch. That’s why it’s important to pick an easy-to-remember domain name that’s relevant to your niche and keep it for a very long time.

2. Optimize your On-Page.

The next step in improving your DA is to optimize all your on-page code, content, site structure, meta tags, and other on-page elements (such as H1, title tags, image alt tag and site architecture) to be search engine friendly.

3. Create high-quality content.

To attract high-quality links from multiple domains in your niche, you absolutely have to create awesome content that appeals to your target audience. Doing so will definitely improve your DA score (and give you a ton of additional SEO benefits).

4. Improve your internal linking structure.

You must not be so overly concerned with earning external links that you lose sight of linking internally. Internal links help nudge visitors to what they are trying to find on your website, thus enriching their user experience and taking your DA score up.

5.Clean up your link profile.

If you want a great DA score, you’re going to have to find a way to keep your link profile clean. And to do that, you need to remove the bad links from your profile. This process entails using a tool like Moz Explorer, Ahrefs Backlink Checker or SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool to figure out any inappropriate or unwanted links.

Once you have performed your link audit, you can contact the website owners and ask them to either delete the link or add the “nofollow tag” to devalue the link. If this doesn’t work, you can use the Google Disavow tool to remove links from your profile.

6.Create your authority in your niche.

Becoming an authoritative figure in your niche requires you to position yourself as an expert on a particular matter by gaining the confidence of readers and providing expert advice to the community. This can only be accomplished by producing interesting and insightful content (perhaps you can make guest blogs on forums that are related to your industry) and engaging your target audience on social media in a meaningful way.

By reinforcing your public image as an expert, you will be able to enhance your brand image. This will not only help drive a ton of traffic to your site, but will also increase the number of external links you receive from other high-quality domains in your niche. This, of course, translates into a higher DA score.

7.Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Mobile isn’t just the way of the future. It’s the way of the now. Research shows mobile users outpaced desktop as of 2014. That was six years ago!

What this means is that if your website hasn’t been optimized for mobile use yet, not only will it hurt your search rankings (Google favors mobile-friendly sites), but you’ll also lose out on a big chunk of visitors.

In order to get started, you can take advantage of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and run the test for your domain. Google will give you a nice report of how mobile-friendly your site is and what you can do to improve it.

Google Mobile Friendly test

8.Improve your page speed

If you don’t have a website that loads fast, people will bounce faster than you can say “Don’t Go!” After all, most users have very little patience, and if the website takes forever to load, their patience will wear out and they will end up abandoning the website.

To diagnose what is causing your website to run slower than it should, you can run your website through Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Google Speed test

Not only will Google’s PageSpeed Insights analyze the speed of your site, it will identify some ways for you to make your site faster and improve your search engine rankings.

9.Increase your social signals.

Although Google has officially stated that social signals are not part of its ranking algorithm, there is a clear correlation between websites that rank high on Google search results and their social signals. What we mean to say is that websites that are popular in Google are more likely to have many likes, shares, and tweets.

Seeing as social signals are a major ranking factor, you will need to share your content on your different social media accounts in order to get those signals. Otherwise, the content, no matter how good, would only sit on your site by itself.

Final Notes

The domain authority is important for a couple reasons. On the one side, it allows you to analyze how well your website does in the search space, and on the other, it allows you to compare the performance of your website with that of competing websites and see where you stand.

At Click4Corp, our team of online experts can help your site climb up the DA ladder and establish itself as an Internet force to be reckoned with. Interested in learning more about our SEO services in Dallas, TX? Contact us today!

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business

Does A Small Business Really Need A Website?

Does A Small Business Really Need A Website?

The second decade of the New Millennium is just over, and if your small business still doesn’t have a website, it’s probably because you’ve either been quoted scandalous prices, are intimidated by technology, don’t understand how it can support your business, or a combination of the three.

We hope that the following insights will give you a fresh perspective on how a website is potentially the most cost-effective marketing tool you have in your sales prospecting arsenal. In down economies, it’s often difficult for businesses to survive, let alone grow and thrive. If you’re in business for the long haul or are experiencing a downturn in sales, then you must use every tool at your disposal. And a website is like five marketing tools in one, as you’ll soon find out!

Reason #1 – Informationsmall business website

There are four incredible sub-categories of informational benefits every website potentially offers. The first one is AVAILABILITY. Your website is available 24/7 to provide your customers and prospects with the information or products they desire at any time they want it: weekends, after-hours, holidays, while you’re at a wedding reception or on a vacation cruise. Consider it a free 24-hour customer service agent.

The second informational benefit is that it satisfies consumer intel needs. A website offers QUALITATIVE information. Consumers love to buy, but they hate to be sold to. As consumer savvy rose, friendly in-store consultants became the dreaded salesman. The phrase, “No, I’m just looking,” emerged as a congenial tactic to fend off these predators. Today consumers not only educate themselves online, but they also price-compare leisurely after hours within the comfort of their own home without perceiving any sales pressure. A website allows prospects to consider you a consultant before they buy. It enables them to “just look” without someone watching over their shoulder. Without a website, they’ll educate themselves at your competitor’s site.

The third great informational benefit involves the limitless amount of information you can provide your customers and prospects. A website offers QUANTITATIVE opportunities. Considering prospects are intelligent consumers, how much information can one derive from a 3.5″x2″ business card? Even if printed on both sides? A website is a business card, a flyer, a brochure, radio commercial (audio), TV ad (video), and promotional event all in one! It allows you to actively tweak and refresh your information to better persuade prospects that you are the right choice without the prohibitive cost of reprinting materials or reproducing media ads.

The final informational benefit is FEEDBACK. Both direct and indirect information you can mine from visitors to help you sell more effectively. Direct feedback is information your visitors provide to help you with your marketing. The most popular and simple example is the Survey or Poll. Here, you pose a short question to your visitors and allow them to tell you what’s most important. For example, a Kitchen & Bath renovation business might survey their visitors with a question about make-over allowance. The survey could offer four different tiers of renovation budgets and see if there’s a predominant amount most visitors choose. If so, the business can now design marketing materials to appeal to their budget: Look What Your Kitchen Can Become For Less Than $10,000!

Indirect feedback, on the other hand, is information you can glean from visitor stats. By looking at your site’s statistics, you can determine which pages are visited most often, which have the most repeat visitors, which pages visitors stay on the longest, etc. This information allows you to deduce what information or items are drawing attention and holding it. A popular page with lengthy visits is evidence that something on that page is of great interest to your customers. Knowing what interests your prospects is the start of selling them what they want!

Reason #2 – Low-Cost

Compared to any form of primary advertising/marketing (radio, print, TV, event promotion), a website is by far the least expensive tool for communicating the quantity and quality of information required to encourage sales. Compare the size and time constraints of a website with a biz card, a yellow page listing, a radio spot, or a TV commercial. Then compare the cost difference. Per word or per image, there’s no cheaper form of advertising!

Reason #3 – Rapport

The most crucial element in any sales cycle (even considering price) is the rapport a prospect feels toward the salesperson. Nobody buys from people or companies they do not like. Your website allows your prospects to get to know you and your business. Before they enter your store, or call your office, or click to buy, they will have known everything they wanted to know about your business, and thus most likely will have developed some rapport with you over your competition.

Reason #4 – Internet Searches

If your target demographic is between the ages of 12 and 50, the chances are incredibly high that they do a great deal of searching online. The internet is quickly overtaking the hardcopy phone book as the go-to when looking for companies, products, and services. More and more people are wise to the ways of searching for local companies. Simply put, if you’re not showing up in their searches, then you’re losing the exposure.

“But I am showing up in their searches. I have an online yellow pages listing, why do I need a website?” Let us answer this way.web design company

You can advertise in the Yellow Pages without a phone number as well, but would you? If that sounds ludicrous, let us offer this argument: You could put your address, your store hours and other information in the yellow pages ad but just leave off the phone number. That way, prospects would be required to drive to your store. A real live warm prospect! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this? Because it’s a terrible idea. Advertising online without a website is the same as advertising in the yellow pages without a phone number. You’ll be inviting prospects to go to a competitor. Why is this? -Because the only way you’re allowing them to learn more about your company is by inviting them to call a mysterious voice that may or may not have the information they want. And for the internet savvy, calling takes more time than just clicking to a competitor.

Phone calls worked for the past 70 years! True… because there was no other option. Options are what change behavior. People walked before horses and cars. People drove before airplanes. People used to write personal letters before phone, emails, or text messaging. They will call once they get enough information to determine you may be the company for them. Provide as much information as possible to allow all the various personalities to feel they’ve “got enough” to warrant a call. For some, that might be just a phone number or a nearby address. For others, it may be testimonials or industry articles. The information highway is like a real highway. A sign out front helps people know you’re there. Let those who search the internet know you’re there as well. Put a sign and a location online.

Reason #5 – Social Media

There are really only three ways to increase your sales. (1) Sell to new customers. (2) Sell more products/services to current customers. (3) Resell to past customers. Instead of focusing their efforts on those who have already “voted with their wallets,” businesses try to recruit a constant stream of new customers. This is called churning. As a result, many companies spend a lot of money attracting strangers rather than reselling to those who have already trusted them enough to have purchased previously. In his book called The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld writes: “Raising customer retention rates by five percentage points could increase the value of an average customer by 25 to 100%.”

One sure-fire way to raise retention rates is to keep in contact with past customers. TOUCH them after the sale. Let them know you appreciated their business and say, “Hey, here are some other things we can offer you.” The most cost-effective and least annoying way to accomplish this is through social media.

Social media postings allow you to continually educate your customers with information that’ll help them better utilize or manage the products they bought from you as well as entice them with specials and inside offers that persuade them to buy again. What’s great is that such posts allow the reader to click-through to read complete articles, click-through to your site, or share the post to a friend or relative that might be interested in the articles and/or specials. What’s even better is all this activity can be tracked. This gives you vital information on what your customers are finding interesting and allows you to use this insight to formulate an even better social media marketing strategy, hopefully moving them closer and closer toward another purchase.

Final Notes

Regardless of whether you’re a one-man show or have hundreds of employees, size truly has no bearing when it comes to the benefits of getting your business online. Let the team of expert Dallas web designers at Click4Corp help you get your name out there with a professionally designed website. Our web design services in Dallas, TX, will ensure that your business stays relevant among today’s tech-savvy consumers and that the growth of your company is maximized.

We Look Forward To Working With You, To Grow Your Business