The Importance of Digital Strategy as a Small Business
Properly done marketing continues to be at the core of successful business management. It is the best avenue for creating and maintaining customer relationships; allowing for the most impactful business-customer interactions. The manner in which a business presents itself to potential and longstanding customers has a large part to play in this, and in the last three decades, the rise of the internet has morphed the marketing sector and changed business presentation practices alike. Now-I’m not going to pretend as if I have seen the rise of the digital landscape, as I grew up amidst its existing popularity. However, it is clear to see the changes that have taken place in the realm of online business presentation even recently. The evolution in marketing practices and business presence has changed the standards for growing a small business.
As a small business looking to grow, marketing to potential customers is a key aspect in the quest to increase sales. Customer behavior hugely affects the methodology required for reaching them, and in today’s cultural environment this means plenty of digital involvement. When searching for a service, the majority of potential customers will Google just that, bringing up results such as the following:
Immediately the customer’s attention is brought to the top three serach results. But what if you perform the same services as these companies but don’t show up? You could be overlooked entirely, leaving potential business off the table and losing opportunities for growth.
Take “Tim’s Total Tree Service” for example, which is the seventh business to show up on this specific inquiry:
A majority of the time, customers will overlook other options in favor of the companies that appear first, because it is easier. The digital world is all about convenience, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is no exception.
SEO is important when the potential customer is looking for a certain service or good rather than a specific company, but when the search is for a business, appearing first is a huge leg up on those that may have a similar name, or companies that pay to appear first based off similar business’. A quick, free, and easy way around doing this is through utilizating the “Knowledge Bar” in Google search results. The Knowledge Bar displays what Google deems to be relevant search information, showing a specific company.
The knowledge bar shows the key information about the company such as ratings, phone number, location, FAQs, and links to a website (and menu in the case of a restaurant). In the case of “Freshlook Home and Lawn”, the SEO is very poor, placing them 7th on the list, but by simply utilizing the Knowledge bar, they are able to appear clearly in front of the web user. Of course, it would be ideal to do both, to become as visual as possible, but by implementing this simple (and free) tool, it makes a big difference for the company at hand.
Another crucial aspect to digital presence is the business’ website. A website can be a deal breaker for attracting customers just the same as poor SEO. A website not only shapes a company’s brand-image and contains important information, it also provides a sense of credibility and professionalism that customers look for when selecting a business. Not to mention, it serves as a fantastic tool for marketing special deals and services that are unique to a specific company.
Take the following as an example:
Even though their pizza is amazing, Joe and Mimi’s website lacks the necessary components to keep user engagement high. Right off the bat, the visitor is greeted with an enormous banner image, which requires scrolling to navigate through. This not only feels unwelcoming, but there is no useful information that the visitor can take in when they first visit the site, or a specific brand image that is being portrayed (unless that brand image is a poorly sized banner image). This makes the visitor have to search for what they are looking for. Due to the mis-location of important links such as a menu or monthly specials, this increases the risk of the visitor missing this information all-together.
Comparing the first website with “Park Pizza” illustrates a stunning difference in usability, brand image, and information accessibility. Right from the get-go, the visitor is greeted with a visualization of the pizza that they serve, helping the potential customer make a decision. Secondly the phone number and menu are placed right where they can be seen, making for easy navigation. This not only allows the user to get the information that they want more quickly, but it allows them to associate a more positive website experience with the business itself.
Even using just these three methods are an easy way to take your business’ digital strategy from non-existent to a great success. While these are just a few of the many facets of digital strategy, they are a great foundation on which to build upon, and the results will pay for themselves (especially since some of them are free!)
If you need helping shaping your business’ online presence, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!