In partnership with Simply Business
3rd in a series of articles exploring how to make 2019 your business’s best year yet.
By Rieva Lesonsky
Many small businesses are dependent on local customers to survive—retailers, restaurant owners, accountants, contractors, remodelers, home services providers, among many others. For these business owners, marketing has become a little more complicated.
In this article and a following one, we’re going to explore the “marketing musts” your business needs to employ to be successful in 2019.
Websites are a must
It should go without saying that every business, no matter its size, must have a website. But shockingly, an estimated 40%-50% of businesses still do not have a website. If you don’t have a business website, you must build one immediately. A website helps you build your brand and gives you a consistent online “home” for your business. (A social media platform is not a substitute for a website.) Businesses that actively engage online can expect to grow 40% faster than they would without an online presence, according to a report from BCG.
If you’re just starting out, don’t stress. Your first website does not need to be elaborate. Just make sure to include the basics: address, phone number, hours, prices, and services. If you want people to visit your physical business location (obviously vital to restaurants and retail store owners), be sure your website includes a map and directions.
You’ll need to find a domain name for your website (check out NameStudio), which should, if possible, be the same or similar to the name of your business. Figure out if you want to DIY your website or hire a web designer to create a site for you. And then decide what your site needs to include, such as:
- Number of website pages
- Amount of website storage (images & videos need more storage space)
- Tools (for example, online forms, blogs, customer reviews, maps, slideshows)
- Links to/integration with social media
- Video and/or audio players
- Shopping cart
- Tech support
- Ease of updating content
Check out this Checklist to Build a Website to learn more.
Make your site mobile-friendly
All websites must be optimized for mobile viewing. Google’s algorithms primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, which impacts your placement in the search engines.
More important, consumers demand mobile-ready websites. In fact, as Eric Reynolds, the SVP and CMO of Clorox says, all “marketing essentially is mobile today.” On Thanksgiving, for the first time ever, according to Adobe Analytics and reported on CNBC, consumers rang up $1 billion in sales via their smartphones. And over $2 billion in sales on Black Friday came from smartphones.
Overall this year, nearly 40% of e-commerce sales came from mobile devices, which should soar to almost 54% by 2021, according to Statista. Studies show consumers prefer to complete their entire shopping journey on mobile devices; however, mobile conversions are still lower than desktop because the mobile user experience remains subpar.
You don’t want to lose customers, so make sure
- Your site loads quickly—you can test the speed of your mobile site here
- Photos are large enough for shoppers to see, but don’t slow down load time
- Forms are short with drop-down options
- Your site is secure. If it’s not https://, Google’s Chrome browser shows a “NOT SECURE” warning next to the URL
Getting found online
While it’s vital for all businesses to appear on the major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), for local businesses it’s even more important to be discoverable on local search sites and directories. When consumers search on smartphones for businesses, products, and services (which about 70% of consumers do), Google considers the phone’s location before displaying search results, giving businesses using local SEO an edge.
Published at Tue, 11 Dec 2018 17:37:46 +0000