What You Didn’t Know

Website, SEO, and Social Media Marketing FAQs

Do I need a website for my business?

If you want customers to find you, then you most definitely need a website.  Here are the facts:

89% of consumers turn to the Internet to research and purchase their goods and services

64% of Americans own a smartphone

74% of adult smartphone owners say they use their phone to locate businesses in their area

50% of mobile users actually visit stores after doing a local search

Internet Presence:

Can my business be found easily in an Internet search?

If your business does not come up using keywords and NOT your actual business name, chances are potential customers are NOT finding you in a simple local search.

If I build a website, will they come?

The answer to this question is “Not necessarily.”  Having a website is like owning a plot of land.  It might not be mapped yet; therefore, the post office and other map companies might not know it exists.

The same is true for Internet locations or plots.  A website has to be registered and indexed, so the major search engines can find it.  This alone is still not enough.  You must optimize your site to be found when people plug in different key words.  You must decide which keywords you think Joe Public will type in when he is looking for a business like yours.

What are some ways I can improve my Internet presence?

This first thing you can do to improve your Internet presence and raise your Google, Yahoo, or Bing ranking is to register and index your site.  After that, you have to make sure you have enough text on your pages, so the major search engines can find keywords woven into your pages.  Although people tend to prefer bulleted lists, this actually works against you when search engines are ranking you.

To improve your Internet presence and search engine ranking, you must optimize your site for search engines. This is known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.

What is Internet Marketing?

Internet marketing is the process of sharing your products or services with the public in an attempt to convert them into customers.

Is Internet Marketing something I can do myself, or should I hire a service?

The final decision is up to you, but you need to know that successful Internet marketing is a full-time job.  There are many companies that offer marketing services also known as social media marketing.  You need to do your research before you put out your money.

Some things that you will need to do to market your business on the Internet include building a proper website that looks professional and is optimized for SEO.  The next thing you need to do is establish yourself in at least one social media platform such as Facebook, Google +, or Twitter.  Then, you must use that platform to reach your audience and build a relationship with your customer base.  Today’s population is not necessarily looking for branding as much as a relationship with the companies it gives its money to.  If you want to be a company people give money to, you must build relationships with your potential customers.

To be successful at building relationships and reaching your target audience online, you must analyize your audience and their behaviors.  This is not something that comes naturally to most people unless perhaps you majored in marketing in college or you have your MBA.  For the rest of us, that means we must constantly be reading up on and keeping up with the trends.  That’s a lot of work.  Believe me.

I keep reading about business data and analytics.  What’s this all about?

Before the big dot-com (.com) expansion, businesses made business decisions based on gut reactions.  People who had good guts, did well.  People who didn’t, well you know how that ends.  Now, things have changed.  There are so many opportunities to gather data on customers to see if what your gut is telling you is actually real or true.

Here are some ways to gather data on your customers and potential customers:

• Ask for comments below all of your online postings on You Tube, Facebook, Google+, your blog, etc.
• Use QR codes on all of your advertisements that take your customers to a survey.  Include this on your business card, any magazine or newspaper print media, flyers you hand out, coupons, etc.
• Send out surveys in everything digital: website, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, texts, email, etc.
• Use Google Analytics to analyze everything about your website.  This is where the true ROI information lies.  Google Analytics will tell you how many people traveled to your website in the past day, week, month, etc.  It will tell you what pages they landed on, how long they stayed on your site, what other pages they visited, and whether they left your site immediately.
• Add opportunities to your website to collect customer information willingly.  These can be in the form of a newsletter subscription form, an email list subscription, etc. When you offer these subscriptions, let the potential customer know how often you plan on communicating with him/her.  Nobody wants to be spammed by any business.
• Offer something for free that requires you to collect emails, so you can do a follow up email to gauge interest.  This should not be abused, though.  Always have an unsubscribe option and ask whether the person would like a follow-up call or email.

Why should I pay someone to make my website when there are so many cheap Do-It-Yourself website companies out there? 

 There are two reasons why it pays to hire a professional: 1)it will look professional and 2)it will get done.

How many projects have you done around your house that you regret doing?  You paid for all of the materials, took the time to complete the project, and when it was finished you realize that you lost money on the materials and you lost time.  Some people are better hiring professionals.

How many unfinished projects do you have at home waiting for you attention?  Me, too! I have half-finished quilts, pillows, and curtains; I have yards and yards of material and patterns that are now out of fashion because I got a burst of energy and decided I would make something for myself or one of my 4 children.  What happened?  Life happened.  I had every intention to do it, but you know the famous saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  It never got done.

Websites are no different.  They are time and labor intensive tasks that take skill and drive.  If you start a website and it is only partially finished, that reflects poorly on your business.  People don’t want to see half of a store, nor do they want to see a partially finished website.

If you are task oriented and usually finish the jobs you set out to complete, then definitely give it a try.  If not, save yourself the trouble and just hire a professional to do the job right.