As we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown level 3, life has changed for most of us and continues to change at high speed. One of the biggest shifts we’ve seen in day to day life is that many South Africans have embraced a more digital lifestyle, preferring to work remotely and shop online where possible. In other words, being online is more important than ever for the average small business.
A website can be one of your most powerful sales and marketing tools, during and beyond this time of physical distancing. It gives you a powerful platform to tell your business’ story to the world, showcase your strengths, collect leads and, ultimately, convert customers. Here are some ideas about how you can use your digital presence to grow your business.
- Create a modern, mobile-optimised website
- Optimise for search
- Create a compelling landing page
- Start blogging
- Continuously improve
- Collect email addresses
Let’s jump right in and go through the tips in more detail.
1. Create a modern, mobile-optimised website
While social media accounts give you a digital presence of sorts, your own website gives you more control over your branding and customer experience and shows that you’re running a credible business. It is a place where people can learn more about you and contact your business, engaging customers and inspiring confidence.
But an outdated website or one that looks bad on mobile phones can damage your image. So, the right place to start is by building a website if you don’t yet have one, or modernising and updating it if your existing site’s look, feel or content is out of date. With the GoDaddy Website Builder, you can use a selection of templates to build a slick, attractive, customisable website within an hour or less – and you can even build it from your smartphone.
2. Optimise for search
It doesn’t really help to have a website if people don’t know it’s there. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about ensuring that your future customers can find you via Google, Bing or Yahoo. By optimising your site for search, you help the search engines to categorise your site and display it in relevant search results.
Getting the keywords right is just part of it. Optimising for mobile, ensuring the website loads quickly, using SSL encryption (https encryption with the lock symbol on the left-hand side corner of the URL address bar), and cleaning up broken links can all help improve your SEO ranking. These steps will also improve the user experience on your website.
Don’t neglect your Google My Business profile. It shows up when people search for you on Google or Google Maps, and is essential for attracting local customers. Use it to offer a snapshot of the most important info about your business, such as your phone number, directions, hours, reviews and pictures of your products or services.
3. Create a compelling landing page
If you’re using search, social or ads to bring leads to your website, consider building a special landing page. You can use this landing page to drive a call-to-action – such as signing up to your email newsletter, emailing you to get a quote, or scheduling an online appointment. By making it easy for the client to see the information they need to make a decision and take action, you are helping them to buy from you.
4. Start blogging
Once you’ve established a website, it might be worth considering starting a blog. One reason to blog is to create relevant content that brings visitors to your site from social media or search. That, in turn, can help you to build awareness and perhaps even attract relevant leads from customers seeking products and advice in your industry.
But equally important, blogging is a way to build an ongoing conversation with prospects and customers. It’s a way to show your human side – remember, people still buy from people – and to showcase your expertise. Relevant and insightful content can improve your credibility and position your business as the go-to in your sector. That can help, over time, to drive sales for you.
Pro-tip: Establish an editorial calendar and aim to produce regular content for your readers. You can be guided by company milestones, important external dates and events for your business (like Christmas or back-to-school), and industry news and developments. Some topics include news about your business, new launches or products you’re highlighting, special seasonal offers or even behind-the-scenes looks or Q&As about your company.
5. Continuously improve
Once you’ve built your website, that’s not the end of the story. It needs to be regularly maintained, updated and improved if it is to perform at its full potential. Your website should be changed to reflect any modifications to your business, from new opening times or a change of address to the addition of extra services and products.
But beyond that, you should monitor your website to see how it’s performing for you. How much traffic do you get? Are people reading your blog posts or are they ‘bouncing’ straight away? Do people sign up for your email newsletters and click through links on your site to find new content? And are customers who email or phone you indicating that they found you on the web?
The answers to these questions can help you make tweaks to your website that help you get more leads and customers – for example:
- Are your product and service descriptions clear and compelling enough?
- Are your search terms bringing the right people to your website?
- Could your blog posts be punchier or should you be writing about different topics?
- Is the website loading too slow – should you optimise images, for instance?
GoDaddy InSight™ can help you optimise your digital presence. This tool uses algorithms create a custom Action Plan tailored to your business. It gives you insight into things like website traffic, social media activity and online sales — benchmarking your business to others in your industry and region, with a similar online tenure.
6. Collect email addresses
Email is a tried-and-tested way of engaging customers, collecting leads and driving sales. You can add a simple signup form to your website to gather email addresses from visitors. Anyone who signs up will automatically receive your next email. People who sign up will most likely be interested in what you have to say (and perhaps in what you sell).
Once you have an email database going, you can track the performance of your emails — how many were opened, which ones got the most clicks and more. You can use these insights to learn what works and make each email more successful than the last. Email is versatile – you can use it for seasonal or special promotions and as a way to keep customers informed about your latest news.
GoDaddy Email Marketing offers templates that make it easy to create clean, professional emails that look great – especially on mobile devices.
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