According to Adweek, 81% of consumers conduct research online before buying something. You almost certainly already know this and pivoted your business storefront online years ago, but unless you are remarkably vigilant of the latest trends, your online presence could probably use an upgrade.
Changes continuously sweep across the internet, social media, Google, and the content marketing world. Your online business presence must change too, or you risk receding into obscurity, stagnating with an out-of-touch website or, god forbid, a MySpace page. Most small businesses aren’t maximizing their online presence. Less than half of small businesses advertise online, pay attention to Search Engine Optimization, or have a social media presence, and a quarter of small businesses don’t have a website at all.
For those who wish to gain a competitive advantage, consider this 5-step checklist for revamping your online presence before 2017:
Re-assess and Segment Your Target Market
Before you make any actual changes to your online presence, it’s important reconsider your target market. Identify the common characteristics of your target market. Then segment that market into specific groups of people. Without segments to focus on, you will never have a highly-focused and effective campaign.
For example, an online clothing store has segmented their market – men’s and women’s – to push customers down the sales funnel toward their desired destination. Customers are looking for something specific from you – so direct them to that segmented goal.
Listen to and Engage with Your Audience
Now that you have your target market segments, engage with them and conduct some experiments. Find the best channels to interact with your potential clients. Social media platforms often break down along demographic lines. Do you have a professional, career-oriented customer base? Try LinkedIn. Focused more on female creatives? Try Pinterest. Once you’ve zeroed in, engage with your audience, track their online activity, and set up Google Alerts to figure out how to best design your online presence to match your audience’s tendencies.
Optimize Your Landing Pages for Conversions
The main goal of improving your online presence is to maximize conversions, turning a casual visitor to your website into a customer. Your landing page is therefore mission critical. Most site visitors spend only up to 8 seconds before leaving your landing page. This means that you must use the most effective design tactics possible to keep your visitor’s attention and readily satisfy their needs. Also remember that every page on your site is a possible landing page – not everyone will enter your site through the front door.
Don’t Forget About Mobile
There are still many small business websites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. This should be a major concern. To make the most of your online presence, make sure you hire a web designer who works in responsive design, who can create a flexible website for both desktop and mobile.
Take Advantage of Google
Your business may not show up on Google Maps unless you’ve claimed your Google My Business. If you haven’t done this yet, do this immediately. Google accounts for more than 70% of all desktop searches. If you’re not maximizing your use of everything that Google has to offer, you are invisible to many potential customers.