How to Grow Your Online Business – Week 1-4

Online growth doesn’t occur by using a magic wand or a sprinkling of fairy dust.  If that was the method we would all have top of the range wands and well stocked containers of fairy dust next to our desks.

It also doesn’t happen by “adding SEO” to your website (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation)  a term that non technical clients seem to have learnt and spray wildly at website design companies usually near the end of a project.

Please add SEO to the website when you get a chance – Jan Doe

SEO for a business is important but is at a minimum a medium term activity. I would estimate at least 3 months work to get started and much longer for a competitive business area.  So it isn’t “we will start Monday and by Wednesday we will have the back broken on it by dinner time

Yes you have a website but a website is just the a part of online success.

Whatever your business or service is I am pretty sure that there are a lot of other businesses online hitting the points below and more to get visibility on their brand..

So where to start?

Hold On Kieran – I Am Busy

I understand that you are busy, who isn’t? the thought of doing more work in a schedule that  is already creaking at the seams seems daunting.  But you need to do something.  I repeat this all the time to clients.  The website is not enough on its own.   It is a tool that you need to work along with other areas.

Your website is a destination that you want to get customers eyes on.  I tell all my website clients that their new website will not get them much new business.  The exception to this is if they already have an established known physical presence and even then they need to market it.

Online success takes time, patience, a bit of expertise and a marketing plan.

Of course internet marketing won’t generate thousands of customers right from the moment but you need to get going and even if your plan is scribbled on a page of a notepad it is better than no plan.

Here are my initial tips I recommend to all clients with websites.

1, Create Your Buyer Persona

What?

A buyer persona is a picture of who your customer or potential customer is.

Please don’t say everybody is your target audience or you have to go to the naughty step.  And don’t  say a high spending huge net worth individual who will spend thousands with you.  We all want that person so hold off on that thought for a bit.

What is a buyer persona?

If you are a beauty salon your client is more than likely female in a certain age group.  So your website and marketing needs to talk to them with the right messaging. Products, offers tips that revolve around what this person wants – this can be on your site or on your social media or both.  Apply this logic for your business even for 5-10 minutes and then read on.

Your website and marketing are there is to address the needs of your target customer . You want them to engage with you and perhaps commit to business when they visit your website.  You may have several different client types.  Create content and information and marketing for them.

All too foten I see people creating long biographies on their home page with pictures of the team and rambling trext about “wht we do” instead of presenting their 2-3 services clearly and showing clear signposting to what you the website owner wants wthem to do which usually is

  • Buy something
  • Sign up for something
  • Make a call to you

I am sure it isn’t to read about how you started off.  Yes this information IS useful for building credibitlity and peiople may click on About page.  But here is something that I believe in strongly.

When someone who doesn’t know you gets to your website they already assume you can do what you say you can.  The design portrays a reputable service, business hopefully.  When they get there you have seconds to get them to the next step as people really only spend seconds on website pages  so your task is to move them on to execute something.

So you need to onboard them.

2. Create A Website With An Onboarding Process

Onboarding sounds high tech but it isn’t.

Too many websites don’t  have clear email contact forms or their phone number clearly.  If I have to scroll around looking for my desired contact method I quickly give up and hit the back button.  Don’t  expect your visitor to be web literate and see the small phone number or email link.

Make it simple for them.  Not sure if your website is clear – get a 12 year old to check out your website.

For any site a contact form should be front and centre somewhere on the home page. It can and should be designed nicely and easy to use. More importantly for you collect all the information you want for the initial contact so you don’t  start and endless spiral of emails back and forward. If you want their phone number make it compulsory in the form for instance.

If you are being asked “Where are you located?” it adds an unnecessary step to a conversation.   The map to where your business is located is also clear should easy to find on the home page (perhaps footer or contact page).  If you don’t  have people visiting then skip this of course.

I never mentioned sliders, or logos or blogs.  I have sliders by the way. Yes.they may look good but the majority of people who hit your website are looking to confirm what you do, get a phone number or a form and then move on to more important things.

For more technical clients and busier traffic sites I add a CRM and email newsletter for communications and sign ups for offers.

3. Google My Business

Google My Business, or GMB for short is how you add your business listing to Google Maps.  It has never been more important. You see it all the time now in in search engine results (SERPS) in what is called the “3 pack” map listing in search results.

Plus it is FREE.

Adding your business an optimising it can mean that you are in that 3 pack results for your area.   Below is a graphic of a client which I set up his GMB did some light optimisation. He got 11 calls in 4 weeks.

This may not seem like much but before this listing he had zero.  Plus we did little or no work in optimising it.

For this guy when people call him invariably they visit him and do business with him.

4. Social Media

I recommend all my clients start with Facebook.  Personally I am not a fan of Facebook and have not posted personally in years on it.  You may think it is the tool of the devil and Mark Zuckerberg is Satan incarnate. I get it but millions of people check it religiously every day and actually don’t  go anywhere else to check the real world.

So set up a Facebook business page. Wear a silver cross if you are worried about the devil.

Once this is setup I encourage clients to do paid posts regularly to get leads and ata minimum give their brand visibility visible.

This is done through targeting and doing informative useful posts that catch people’s eye.  In the recent example above I boost posts 2-3 times per week for approx €10 a go and he gets 4-5 contacts per week out of it.

You may already have a business Facebook page with hundreds of likes but I find that usually this customer base is inactive and stale.  Using paid posts reaches out to people who may not know you exist.  Doing interesting posts to this paid audience and catching their eye will help you grow over time

Yes there are other social media channels and yes you should use them.  It all comes down to bandwidth and expertise.  Instagram is great, Linkedin too, Twitter, Tik Tok and there will be more.  But you need content to fuel it.

Should you sign up to them and use them.

Hell yes and you can manage all of them comfortably with expertise, a workflow and some tools to automate them a bit.  I use Canva to create fast social media visuals for clients and a paid Buffer account to manage clients social so there is a steady stream of useful content going out on all social streams they are interested in.

You needn’t pay for these tools just allocate some time per day to be social media maven and create content  and schedule to appropriate times when your audience is online.  You may not be award winning at the start but get doing it and people love authentic content.

One word of warning about social.  Don’t  be in sell mode all the time.  People will tire of it and stop paying attention to you.

5. Content

The purpose of your website and social media is to answer questions and assure potential leads that you are the right person or company to deal with.  Every company differs.  You need to ask yourself these questions.

  • Who are my current customers and why did they choose me?
  • Who do I want my future customers to be?
  • How can I catch their eye and make them engage with my brand?
  • What are the questions I am always being asked?
  • Have I content answering these questions?

Creating content isa gain an ongoing thing.  I recommend that in your business you think content all the time.  New product arrives, take a photo keep it and use it on social, perhaps create a blog post about i.

This is how simple content plans work.  Of course creating great or even decent content takes practice and time but if you are authentic, write simply and don’t  make spelling mistakes your audience will be forgiving.

6. Finally….

But all I wanted was a website that looks nice – you mumble

Creating a website without even the simplest marketing plan is just a waste of time, energy and money.

You need a strategy and a plan.  the points above are the tip of the iceberg in the initial weeks of your business.  If you do these alone you will get results however modest like the phone calls for the simplest example I showed.

If you need some help or want to chat then get in touch and I will be more than happy to give you some help

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