Why are you in business?
You started a business because you had the desire and passion to provide awesome products or services to people or other businesses, locally or globally. Regardless of your target market, it's important that your business has a strong presence on the internet and on mobile networks to help engage existing customers and attract new people that may be looking for businesses similar to yours.
You need to have an awesome website. You also need to ensure that customers can find you using their tool of choice and that the information they find is complete and accurate. Incorrect information can lose you customers even before you know they're there.
Researching the online resources and registries pertinent to your business, managing your business profiles on those tools, and leveraging them to their maximum potential can be a time-intense undertaking that takes you away from your core business offerings and well-deserved personal time.
Sometimes, you need a little help.
I am here to help
I am an online marketing consultant that helps small to medium-sized business owners improve their business website and optimize their online presence across the multitude of platforms where customers may find them.
Read more about how I can help you ATTRACT new customers, ENGAGE new and existing customers, and RETAIN customers who already do business with you.
How can you ATTRACT customers?
People need to find you
You can't do business with someone if they don't know you exist. But where can they find you and what do you need to do about it?
Your business needs to show up as a top result when someone uses a popular search engine or online map to look for businesses like yours. You also need to ensure that your website is set-up to allow search engines/maps to quickly and easily learn about your business. The earlier you get key business information in front of someone, the greater the possibility they will engage with you.
Registering your website with search engines for Google and Bing can provide them with detailed information about your business. Registering with free online business listings such as Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Apple Maps Connect improves how key information is displayed and improves the possibility that someone will find you.
Understanding your search position, particularly in relation to your competitors, helps you figure out how to improve your search ranking and connect with more customers.
It's not just about search
There are several online and mobile services that make it easy for customers to find businesses based upon what the business does and where they are located. Services like Facebook, Yelp, and Yellow Pages can provide your business with an extra opportunity for customer connection.
It's important that your business is represented, and represented well, on any tool that a customer uses for their research.
Check out What I Do to learn more about the steps that I will take to help you ATTRACT more customers.
How do you ENGAGE a customer?
Your information is everywhere
Most likely the first time that a customer reads about your business is by searching the web for businesses like yours or by using a mobile app. You want that first impression to be a positive one.
You need to take control of your business information no matter where it's found. Your business listing on Google My Business, Yelp, or other services applicable to your business, needs to be complete and accurate. You need to leverage those services to their maximum potential: inform customers about your products and services; provide photos of your storefront; your products; and your team. Give customers the information they need to know to educate them about what you do and motivate them to engage with you. Optimizing your profile on these tools provides customers with early information about who you are and what you offer and increases the likelihood that they'll click that link.
The Customer Experience
Once a customer gets to your website they expect a trouble-free experience. Information should be clear, easy to understand and they should be able to find the information they want quickly. If they are shopping online, products should be simple to find and easier to purchase.
It's essential that your website provides a great customer (or user) experience no matter what device they use: desktop, mobile phone or tablet. They should never get a 'page not found'. Webpages should be informative and be displayed in a pleasing manner. Forms should be clear on what's required, perform appropriate data validation and present errors in a clear and instructive manner.
"If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends."
– Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon)
Accessible to Everyone
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of the world's population experience some form of disability. In a report produced by the Canadian government, 22% of people over the age of 15 have one or more disabilities (Source: Canadian Survey on Disability Reports). And this number increases as the population gets older. People with disabilities related to motor function, vision, hearing, dexterity, learning, or memory may need some help to understand what you do and what you can offer them. They may be using a device or software to read and interact with your website.
There are temporary or situational disabilities that can affect anyone: a broken arm or a new mother holding a baby affects their ability to use a mouse, or bright sunlight affects their ability to clearly view the screen of a mobile phone or tablet.
Whether your website is custom-built from scratch or by using one of the many website building platforms problems can exist.
“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”
– Stevie Wonder (musician)
People that experience problems may choose not to do business with you, leave a negative review, or talk to others about their bad experience. Incorrect information on any online service can affect a customer's decision to do business with you.
A professional review of your online presence ensures that information is correct across all points of customer engagement. An assessment of your website helps to make sure that customers will have a great experience, confirm that data is validated to industry standards, and identifies issues with accessibility. Finding problems before customers see them eliminates negative feedback and increases customer loyalty.
Check out What I Do to learn more about what I can do to help you ENGAGE more with your customers.
How can you RETAIN customers?
The best way to retain a customer is to provide them with an excellent product or an outstanding service. Customer satisfaction and repeat business start with the products and services that you provide. But it doesn't end there ....
Knowledge is power
Understanding how customers interact with you provides an opportunity to improve your relationship with them. It gives you an appreciation of where they go, what they do, and when they move on.
Registering your website with services provided by Google, Bing, Facebook, and other online services provides you with insightful reports on customer interactions and engagement.
Installing free tools like Google Analytics on your website can provide you with a wealth of information. Paid services are available to further increase your knowledge on customer behaviour.
Know Your Customer
It's great to have all this information about your customers at your fingertips. But information doesn't become knowledge until you organize and analyze the facts, figures, and statistics available.
Each platform or tool provides excellent information on customer interactions and engagement. And there is a lot of information available. You can certainly spend the time reviewing the reports from each platform/tool but that can be an exhausting task. Extracting information pertinent to your business, consolidating information from multiple sources, and presenting that information in a meaningful and understandable format can help you make the right decisions on how to improve customer retention.
“You'll never know how close you are to victory if you give up.”
– Jay Samit (digital media innovator)
Address their concerns
One of the great things available to an online business is a customer's ability to leave a review, comment or recommendation about your business. Positive reviews provide prospective and existing customers with an early indication of the quality product or service they will receive.
Negative reviews don't necessarily detract from your business reputation but how you handle those negative reviews is important. Every negative review that someone leaves, on any tool or platform, should be responded to and responded in such a way that informs other people about the situation that caused a negative review and what was done to address any concerns raised.
There are several opportunities for customers to comment upon your business and it's important that you recognize the platforms allow customer commentary and that you're set-up to respond to those comments promptly.
Check out What I Do to see what we can do to RETAIN customers.