3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses

Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. This said, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to take short cuts when it comes to having online visibility. Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business. With this in mind, consider these five reasons why having a strong website is important.

First Impressions Count 

Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google GOOGL +0.25% before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp YELP -0.99% before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgement and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.

Window Shopping Isn’t What It Use to Be 

Strolling down your local Main Street isn’t the only way people check out stores and other small businesses nowadays. With routine visits to Yahoo YHOO +1.05%, Bing, Google, Yelp and other online sites, customers are constantly seeking where they plan to make their next purchases. Make sure your business is well represented on these sites by first and foremost, having a website – but by also being represented among each of the online search engines, review sites and other online spots your business may be considered for customer review. Beyond having your URL address available, also be sure your street address, phone number and email is easily visible. Social media links can’t hurt, either, but only include these if you are actually active on social media.

No Website Means Losing Business 

By now it’s clear that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who  you are and if they want to spend money with you. This said, if you have a bad website it is better to have no website. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad. With so many template based websites available nowadays, such as Shopify.com, for you to customize for your unique business, there’s truly no excuse for your website to look unprofessional and sloppy. If you can’t proudly promote the website you have currently live and available for the world to see online, take it down. A bad website is far worse than no website – but let’s be clear… both are bad for business.

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

If you don’t have a website, you’re chance of ending up in customer online searches is significantly reduced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you are a one man or woman show or operate with 100 employees, your website should appear as if you have a team dedicated exclusively to keeping your online presence strong and noteworthy. The key here is “appear” versus actually having someone updating your website everyday. For most small businesses, this is simply not necessary. However, having a professional, polished looking website that functions easily and offers customers easy navigation, strong photo images, professional quality content and an overall experience that engages them enough for them to want to do business with you is key.

8 reasons why your business NEEDS a professional website!

Like many small business owners, you may believe your business cannot benefit from having a website or that a website is not within your budget. Or maybe you think because you don’t use a computer, neither do your potential customers. These are misconceptions. These 8 reasons show why your company NEEDS a professional website, no matter what size your business.

1. YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WILL GAIN CREDIBILITY

Today, more and more consumers use the internet to search for the products or services they need. Your small business will gain credibility by having a website. Without one, potential customers will go to your competitors that do. If you already have a website but it is “home-made”, having it professionally redesigned will provide your business with a professional image which will inspire even greater confidence. For home-based businesses, this is particularly beneficial since you do not have a store front to promote your products or services.

2. A WEBSITE SAVES YOU MONEY

As a small business owner you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but you can’t afford NOT to. Although the cost of designing a website varies, once it’s up and running, a website for a small business generally costs under $100 a month and, in some cases, as little as $20. Compared with the cost of a newspaper ad, when you consider the potential market you can reach with a website, it is a very cost effective way to promote your business.

3. IT WILL ENABLE YOU TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS INFORMED

Think of your website as being your online brochure or catalogue. It is much easier and quicker to update information about your products and services on your website than in print material, making it an effective way of letting your customers know about the arrival of new products, upcoming events, special promotions, or any new services you now offer. Unlike print ads which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news.

4. IT IS ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE

A website is available to both your regular and potential customers 24/7/365 providing them with the convenience of reviewing your products and services when your store or office is closed. With today’s busy lifestyles, this is a great selling point when making a purchase decision.

5. A WEBSITE MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO TARGET A WIDER MARKET

Whether you provide products or services, your website will provide an alternative location to sell them. As a retailer, a website (eCommerce) is a great place to sell your products to a wider market; even services can be made available globally. Don’t think you’ll be able to sell your products or services online? Don’t forget, even cars and houses sell online!

6. IT PROVIDES A MEDIUM ON WHICH TO SHOWCASE YOUR WORK

No matter what type of business you’re in, a website is a great place to showcase your work. By including a portfolio or image gallery, as well as testimonials about your work, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique.

7. A WEBSITE SAVES YOU TIME

Providing information to your customers takes time, whether it’s on the phone, face-to-face, in a brochure, or in emails. With an online catalogue you can provide lots of information about your products and services. Once your website is up and running, it is available to your customers indefinitely, saving you time. And what is time? Time is money!

8. IT IMPROVES CUSTOMER SERVICE

Maybe you sell environmentally friendly products and would like to share tips on how to recycle, or perhaps you’re an accountant and want to give your clients advice on how to simplify their bookkeeping practices. By including a FAQ page, adding articles or uploading newsletters to answer all your customers’ questions you can keep them up-to-date. What better way to provide them with value added service than by sharing information on your website.

A New Study Reveals the Power of First Impressions Online

If you think any old website is OK for your business, read this.

It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve perused your company’s website, according to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. And it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.

Given that tight timeframe, making a good first impression should be among your first orders of business. To that end, the Missouri S&T study results might help you and your web designer determine which elements of your website are most important to those viewing the pages. The researchers employed eye-tracking software and an infrared camera to monitor study participant’s eye movements as they perused the test website pages.

The analysis of eye movement garnered from the data helped these researchers determine how long people focus on specific portions of a web page before moving on to another part of the page. These sections included the navigation menu, logo, photos, images and social-media icons. Also important, according to the research team, is the selection of color and images to a web page’s design.

Study participants were asked to rate sites on the basis of visual appeal and design factors during an average of 20 seconds spent on each of 25 websites. The sections sparking the most interest included:

  • Logos: Visitors spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this most identifiable portion of a site.
  • Navigation menus: Users spend almost as long (6.44 seconds) studying the menu on a webpage.
  • Search box: This area kept visitors’ attention for more than 6 seconds.
  • Links to social utilities: The fact that participants in the study focused on social-media icons for 5.95 seconds reveals just how important it is for your business to offer opportunities for customers to engage with your brand and other customers.
  • Primary image: Visitors perused the main photo or graphic on the page for 5.94 seconds.
  • Written content: This element took up 5.59 seconds of their time.
  • Bottom of the page: That’s where users ended up, engaged for about 5.25 seconds in that location.

If it’s been a while since you last looked at your own website, take the time now to identify the top three things you want visitors to do as a result of visiting your site. Write these items down, followed by scheduling a meeting with your web team to review the current site. You may be surprised by what you see.

How have you revamped your website to attract more eyeballs? Leave a comment and let us know how to help you.

How to Improve Your Company’s Online Presence

What is the definition of an online presence? Is internet popularity an indication that your company has a good online presence? Well, it’s certainly part of the picture, but not all of it. After all, an individual or business can be well known on the internet for very negative reasons. Ideally, your goal is to increase your name recognition on the internet while also increasing the positive associations people have with your products and services.

As you improve your online presence, revenue and customer conversion  rates are also going to improve. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ways in which you can help increase your internet presence.

Make a Commitment to Online Presence Management

There’s no way around it. If you want to improve your online presence, you must dedicate man hours to managing your internet profile. This means acting proactively, influencing the way that your business is presented on the internet. To do this, you must first establish guidelines on how your company is to be presented on the internet. This includes social media accounts and your website.

Then, you must establish guidelines on the ways your company will interact with others on the internet. This might include the following:

  • Designating a person to craft social media posts, and responses to posts
  • Monitoring relevant websites for commentary about your enterprise
  • Using analytics software to track website traffic
  • Modifying your social media pages, website, WordPress, etc. to make sure that branding and messaging are consistent

Create and Use a Social Network Presence

No matter what business you are in, never make the mistake of assuming that you don’t need to establish a social media presence. Building a social network is a must.

Here’s the truth. Even if you don’t have a Facebook page, blog, or Twitter account for your business, your business is still active on social media. You just aren’t participating in that activity, nor do you have any control over it.

When you create a presence on social networks, you control the ways in which your business is presented on the internet, and the ways in which you use social networking to interact with others. You’ll want to begin by identifying where your company can best present itself on social media, and making a plan to stay active once you establish your presence.

Remember that it all Boils Down to SEO

Well, maybe not all of it, but certainly a lot of it. Let’s face it, you want to be on the first page of returned search results. You certainly don’t want to find yourself anywhere beyond page 3. So, what do you do? You keep track of Google’s and other search engine’s ever evolving SEO algorithms, and then you make adjustments accordingly.

Some of this is fairly organic. Many of the changes made by Google and others is truly a good faith effort to prevent spam websites and other charlatans off page 1. For example, you can help yourself by insuring that your content is valuable and not a vehicle for keyword stuffing.

However, there are also more advanced issues to consider when it comes to SEO. This is why it is a good idea to get help from a professional SEO advisor. They will be able to provide you with the knowledge and service that will make sure that you are utilizing the latest and greatest SEO strategies that are available to you. Then, remember that with everything else you do to increase your internet presence, even Google is looking for an SEO professional so it must always be on your mind.

Commit to Blogging as a Marketing Tool and not an Indulgence

Starting a blog is easy. WordPress and other packages make it easy to create, write, and publish blogs. Maintaining a blog, on the other hand is not easy. All too often, business owners create blogs, publish several posts in a short amount of time, but then fade away. In some cases, the issue is time. In other cases, the issue is that they don’t understand what it is that they should be writing about. In any case, the end result is the loss of a great opportunity for a company to develop and grow their online presence.

This is why it is so important for business professionals to approach blogging as a business obligation. What does this mean? This means that blogs must contain high-quality content, and they must be published on a regular basis. Maintaining a blog is well worth the effort. If you cannot commit to the upkeep of your company’s blog, please consider passing those duties to an employee or a consultant.

Create and Deliver Excellent Content

When you first began learning how to do business online, your focus was most likely on creating your company website and establishing an ability to conduct online transactions securely, that is why you should design your content writing strategy properly.

Now that you have accomplished that, it’s time to explore ways to drive customers to your website so that they will actually purchase your products and utilize your services. To get this done in a way that is both effective and inexpensive, you should adopt content marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy.

If you are unfamiliar with this relatively new form of marketing, content marketing is a new approach to attracting customers. Instead of approaching marketing with an advertising mindset (eg: Come and buy my products!), the strategy behind content based marketing is to educate, inform, and even entertain customers without a hard sell. The result is the development of a relationship with customers and potential customers, branding establishment, and ultimately increased web presence.

Of course, just as is the case with creating a social media presence, your content must be consistent, relevant, and of high-quality. This means committing to producing content on a regular schedule, and publishing that content where your customers will read it.

Create an Interactive Experience

When customers visit your website, one of the best things that you can do to make them return is to provide them with an interactive experience. You can ask them to take a fun quiz, to answer a survey question, or simply to provide their opinion on an  issue. You might even consider offering an incentive, especially if the feedback you  receive can be used for market research. If customers know their name is being tossed into the hat for a freebie or discount, they’ll be more likely to stick around.

 

If you have an issue with bounce rates, getting customers to spend a few moments taking a quiz or answering questions is an excellent way to get visitors to stay for a few moments.

Find a Friend

Try to find a friendly, non-competing business and build a relationship with them. Then, consider ways in which both businesses can form a symbiotic relationship. This might include guest blogging, link backs from articles, or even giveaways for website visitors. Collaborative marketing is trending so when you develop an excellent relationship with another firm, you can be assured that the internet presence of both companies will be improved.

 

10 reasons your company needs a Digital Marketing strategy in 2017

10 reasons you need a digital marketing strategy in 2017

 
 
1. You’re directionless
 
I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.
 
2. You won’t know your online market share
 
Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven”t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace: the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications. See online marketplace methodology post.
 
3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share
 
If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!
 
4. You don’t have a powerful online value proposition
 
A clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal.
 
5. You don’t know your online customers well enough
 
It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.
 
6. You’re not integrated (“disintegrated”)
 
It’s all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.
 
7. Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance
 
Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
 
8. You’re wasting money and time through duplication
 
Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
 
9. You’re not agile enough to catch up or stay ahead
 
If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic – trialling new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.
 
10 You’re not optimizing
 
Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing. So that’s our top 10 problems that can be avoided with a well thought through strategy. What have you found can go right or wrong?
Hire us to put things right for you… http://megaboostng.com/multipage-contact/

4 Ways to Grow Your Online Presence and Find More Customers

4 ways to grow your online presence and find more customers
4 ways to grow your online presence and find more customers

The 4 ways to grow your online presence is a product of our vast experience in the Digital Space in Nigeria. We have developed templates to help you find more customers  and hence, grow your business. For most customers in the 21st Century their first introduction to a business is by discovering the business online. That’s why each and every business needs to have a strong online presence. Not only will this increase your brand’s reputation, it will establish you as an authority figure. Both of which can help more customers discover you and the services or products that you provide.

 

But, how can you stand apart from every other business that is attempting to reach customers online? Here are four simple methods that will not only grow your increase your online presence, but also attract more customers.

  1. Optimize Your Website

At this point, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a website. Surprisingly, however, only 51% of small businesses have a website. That’s a major concern when you have 97% of consumers searching for products and services online. If you haven’t done so already, then start getting to work on your website. It doesn’t have to be too fancy or complicated. Keep it simple with pages that showcase your work, a bio, contact information, testimonials, and a blog where you can share your expertise and unique voice.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating your existing website, make sure that it’s optimized by making sure that it’s mobile friendly, loads quickly, includes a click-to-call-button, has updated information (work samples, resume, headshots), is easy on the eyes, and optimize your URLs.

Depending on the nature and size of your business, you may want to take your website a step further and add features like a live chat or create a mobile app.

  1. Chose Your Social Channels Wisely

You’ve heard time and time again that you need to be active on social media. While engaging and interacting with influencers and customers via social media is one of the most effective ways to grow your online presence, you don’t have to be on each and every social media channel. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, focus on one or two primary social channels that you can easily manage and grow.

In most cases, the you should at least focus on the big three; LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. LinkedIn is the preferred chose to network and generate leads, while Twitter is excellent at conversations.

When you do find your preferred social network, spend around 20 minutes everyday curating content that you customers would enjoy and use tools like Buffer to schedule and manage your accounts. As a rule of thumb, implement that 80/20 rule during your social media campaign – 80% should be shared content created by others and 20% should be pushing your content.

  1. Go Beyond Blogging

Maintaining a blog not only raises your online presence, it assists with defining your brand’s voice and builds trust since you’re creating and sharing useful content. But, you don’t want to limit yourself to just blog posts when creating content.

MegaBoost Corporation
4 ways to grow your online presence and find more customers

Businesses should be developing multiple forms of contentthat their customers will either find entertaining or informative Examples include:

  • Videos that are uploaded onto YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Hosting a podcast.
  • Creating an infographic.
  • Conducting and releasing a case study.
  • Publishing an eBook or White Paper.
  • Hosting an online course, workshop, webinar.

When you create unique and quality content, it will be passed around by industry thought leaders in your industry.

  1. Don’t Forget Guest Posts and Email Marketing

Despite all the new tools and techniques out there that promise to help grow your online presence, there are two tried and true methods that shouldn’t be neglected; guest posts and email marketing.