Nowadays, every small business must have a consistent, professional and high quality online presence. Around 54% of small businesses have a website, according to figures from 2017, which shows how far behind the curve many still are.
It can feel overwhelming to tackle your online presence when starting a small business. It’s also all too easy to miss key opportunities by mismanaging it. Here are some tips to avoid common errors made by many small businesses.
Don’t ignore local SEO
Approximately 97% of internet users search online for local businesses. This clearly means small businesses just can’t ignore the potential benefits of local SEO. It can help you attract customers who carry out searches tied to specific locations, such as ‘Thai restaurants in Brixton’.
By optimising your website for local searches, you are bringing your business to potential customers. The best ways to sort your local SEO include:
- Verify your ‘Google My Business’ listing, which connects you with customers. When you’ve verified your page, you can update your contact details, add a description and edit the categories to best suit your business.
- Embed a Google Map on your website, linking to the Google Plus local listing. This will clearly display all the necessary information about your business to customers.
- Optimise content and meta tags for local keywords, such as adding your city into the title tag to increase local search clicks.
- Make sure contact information is consistent across all of your online channels.
Be accessible to everyone
If your website isn’t accessible for every user, then you are missing out. As customers become more sophisticated and demanding, all businesses must ensure that their website is usable across different platforms. For example, make sure the user interface works across web, mobile and tablet.
A Google survey showed that 72% of mobile users think that it’s vital for a website to be mobile-friendly, and it has been proven to increase conversion. Similarly, the speed of a website is important. Even a very small delay in loading can mean a lost conversion of 7%. Around 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Accessibility should be a priority for every small business. Improving the customer experience is key, as this will help you beat the competition and retain repeat customers.
Take advantage of online customer reviews
Online reviews are now such a vital part of a customer’s purchasing decision that 88% of users trust them as much as a recommendation from a friend. The more reviews a business has, the more chance it has of earning customer trust.
Small businesses should always encourage and invite reviews and consider incentivising the process. Even negative reviews can be useful if businesses embrace and address them. This allows the business to build up a trusted relationship with customers and be seen to be improving its performance. Online reviews also count as new content for a website and can therefore improve SEO.
Keep data consistent
Small businesses expanding their online presence should measure the effectiveness of their work. While it’s important to look at Return on Investment in terms of online marketing, it’s more so to find the best way to combine data between online, mobile and offline marketing. This will give a more useful understanding of how best to allocate a budget. Not combining this data means businesses will miss potential opportunities.
Communicate effectively with customers
All small businesses must understand their customers. A business with an effective online presence is paying attention to what customers say they want, and brings them much closer to effective, two-way communication.
There are far more opportunities to increase sales when businesses develop authentic relationships with both prospective and existing customers. Building an effective online presence will mean this goal is much closer.
All these steps are easy to take and should be implemented by small businesses. For more advice from a small business expert, talk to Turner Little here.
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction/repair, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.