Digital challenges and stress when you run a small business, especially when you are starting up your own small business and all the challenges you face are enormous. Often exciting and rewarding, but they can be pretty daunting too!
One of the biggest digital challenges for business owners today is that of the whole internet marketing field. Having a website and what to do with it is a very important topic. One which is often looked upon with fear and trepidation… fear not, help is at hand!
In this series of blogs we will attempt to explain the various aspects of “Getting Digital” for your business. What you should be doing, and why.
When you understand a little about the options for marketing your business on-line, and the best ways to approach it from YOUR businesses point of view, it will become a lot less daunting.
So, let’s look at the main areas that you need to consider:
The most important, numero uno, top of the list of things to get sorted for your new, or existing, business, is your website.
This is your digital hub, where all other marketing and advertising efforts will be directed to, it is your shop window to the world.
So, with that in mind, it’s pretty darn important to get it right, right?!
We always advise our clients, actually it’s more like we insist, that we have a “website planning” session before we do ANYTHING otherwise the digital challenges faced in the future can do nothing but rise.
This does not have to be a long drawn out session, depending on the complexity of the site and how many people need to have their say! It is vital that you really consider and plan exactly what you want your website to do for your business, how it should look and how it should function.
After all, you wouldn’t dream of building an extension on your home, or setting your new business, without a set of plans would you?
The planning part of the website build will enable you to have exactly the website your business needs. It will help you determine who you are trying to reach, your ideal client or customer.
Map out the journey that your website visitors will go on and ensure that they reach their answers as simply and as quickly as possible.
It will determine how the wonderful people who are looking for your products or services actually find YOU and not the 100’s of other companies that do what you do.
A website planning session will give you the confidence in knowing that your new website will be the best marketing tool you can have for your business.
The other main ingredient to making sure that your website really works for your business is ”Keyword Research”… what is that I hear you ask?!
Simply put, keyword research gives you a crystal ball into which you can see what your potential customers are looking for when they search the web. You can use keywords on your website to inform the search engines (like Google, Bing etc) that your business website is the best website to deliver to that person.
Keyword research enables you to hone the content of your website to appeal to EXACTLY who your target market is. Ultimately you can make sure that your business is found by the people searching the internet for what you do or provide.
It is a fascinating process and gives you a real insight into the psychology of your potential customers, and it’s not hard to do, there are some great, FREE, tools out there to help you find your precious keywords and phrases.
There are numerous ways you can promote your website, by adding content yourself regularly like a blog or new information or products. You can also pay the likes of Google to “advertise” your site in their rankings.
This is where you see the little “Ad” sign at the beginning of your search results, this can be a seedy, and probably quite expensive way of getting your site on the first page of the search engine results.
Also, this technique sometimes has a negative effect. Research shows that some people prefer to contact a company that is not “Advertising” on the search engines but instead is ranking highly due to their efforts in proving to Google, and the like, that they are the best company to help you.
This is called ranking “organically” and is very often much less expensive but can take longer to achieve top results.
Getting up the search engine rankings “organically” is seen to be a far better approach in the longer term and often yields better results.
So, how do we rank “organically? One of the most effective and best-known ways is to optimise your site and on-going activity to optimise your chances of getting to the number one spot on Google – SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation – SEO, what is it?
To put it simply, SEO is the term used for a variety of techniques aimed at telling Google and the other search engines that your website is worthy of a high ranking on their pages… for a user’s SPECIFIC search terms.
For example, if your business was a Tattoo Parlour in Lincoln, then, whenever someone searched for a “Tattoo parlour in Lincoln” you would want to appear pretty high up on Googles pages so that the user would see your business first, makes sense, doesn’t it?
But what if there were dozens, or even hundreds, of Tattoo Parlours in Lincoln? How would Google know which ones to put at the top of page one?
Well, they would use a series of algorithms and techniques to determine who is worthy of getting the top slots.
This is called SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, optimising your website to appeal to the search engines.
The techniques for these digital challenges we can employ to do effective SEO range from very technical things like link building and content optimisation, to more marketing led tasks like blog posting and social media activity.
These days the search engines are much more interested in social media activity and engagement than they used to be. We now need to adopt a “pincer” approach to our SEO… we need the technical things to be done to attract the “robots” who trawl the internet for sites like ours. We also need the social media aspect to attract the people who we want to reach.
The likes of Google now monitor both, so “SocialSEO” is now key!
If you have any questions at al regarding SEO and how it could help to promote your business, please do give us a call on 020 3730 1785.