If you’ve recently launched a website, and are getting crickets, here’s how to avoid two big issues I see all the time.
Confusion, which says, “I don’t know what to do to get my website to bring in business”
Doubt, which chimes in, “I don’t really believe that my website will really bring me business.”
I understand. After a small business owner has invested time and money to create a website, its normal to feel tapped out and want to get back to doing work in their business, rather than on their business. But without having a marketing plan and working it, most sites will just sit there. They won’t bring in the business that should come from the website. At that point, it’s easy for doubt to take over about the site ever working to bring in new business. That and a big dose of confusion about where to start makes in near impossible to do what it takes to make a plan and implement it.
So read on for the story of Carla and my 20 practical tips for growing your website business, and say goodbye to confusion and doubt.
Carla the Doubter
I have a friend and client who started a construction service business with a couple of partners. Carla (not her real name) knew my mantra about blogging and social media since we had built and maintained her previous company’s website for a number of years.
When we started building the new site for the new service business, I asked Carla what her plan was to get business. She told me that she and her partners really didn’t believe people with high-dollar projects would finding their company online, so they were going to call on all of the property managers in town. “Judi, don’t even start because I am not going to blog or do any social media,” she flat out told me.
My friend is as stubborn as I am, so I shook my head and said OK.
The thing is, two weeks after we launched their site, Carla called to ask why the company wasn’t coming up on the first page of search results for the type of service they provide. I reminded her that they weren’t going to do any blogging social media or anything else.
Could I help them get on the page one for her main search term? I could… and I knew she was motivated by vanity and competitiveness even though she didn’t really believe that she would get business from coming up in a Google search.
In her company’s case, her most relevant search term is not hugely competitive, having only 478,000 results. I know that may seem high, but some competitive terms are competing against hundreds of millions other pages for that prominent placement.
I optimized one of her website pages for that term, making sure we had her keyword, title and description well written and that the page content focused on that term.
Next, I wrote a post about her business for the New Tricks portfolio. I used the same search term to link back to Carla’s site. I also wrote a post on the website of a mutual friend who is a commercial real estate broker recommending Carla’s business. We used that same search phrase in that post and linked it back to Carla’s site.
Within a couple of months, Carla’s site moved up to number one for that search term phrase. And lo and behold, they started getting a steady stream of customers from the website. Six months later Carla even got an $80K contract from someone who found her company online.
Work these 20 Tips
I am not saying your situation will get results as easily as it did for Carla’s business, especially if your field is more competitive. What works for one company can be very different from what works for the next.
But that makes it all the more important for you to come up with a marketing strategy that includes some combination of content marketing, social media, search engine optimization and ads that aligns with your industry and what you uniquely offer. Don’t let ignorance or doubt stop you from taking those last steps needed to get a return on your website investment.
Here’s my list of 20 practical tips you can do in addition to and maybe as a part of your marketing plan, complete with links that go into more detail on the topics. They are in no particular order of Have at it!
- Set up a Google Analytics account linked to your website.
- Check your Google Analytics regularly. To see what is working and what can be tweaked.
- Make a social media plan. Follow other people in your field and interact with them and share their posts on your social sites. They will start following you and sharing your posts.
- Sign up for social media accounts such as Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and perhaps Pinterest. Fill out these accounts completely using a professional headshot and using branded imagery on profile/cover pages.
- If you are a solopreneur, use your own name and photo on your Twitter profile.
- Grow your Twitter followers with a selected group of industry leaders and people in your target market, start with a follow and unfollow strategy. Follow 25 people each day and then unfollow those who don’t follow back after a while. Once your account grows, gradually increase the numbers of follow- unfollows using Manage Flitter.
- Share images related to your work or company culture on the Instagram account for your business. You can set up your account to automatically post your Instagram images to Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtags (#) quite liberally so people can find your account. You will also get followers by following other accounts and sharing their images.
- Ask your friends to share your social updates with their networks.
- Set up a Gravitar (globally recognized avatar) which is uses your headshot or other image and follows you from site to site like when you comment on yours or others’ blog. It is free and you sign up for it with an email just like a social media account.
- Keep up to date on information relevant to your business. Check out other blogs, Twitter and other sources to find articles to use a research for blog posts or for sharing on social media sites. Keep track your finds with using apps such as Evernote to help you keep your articles organized.
- Make sure your website has a blog page that is designed for maximum readability.
- Create five to 10 categories for your blogs. Don’t assign a post to more than one category.
- Research and develop a list of keyword phrases you would like to come up for in Google searches and write posts on topics related to your keyword phrases using those words in the post.
- Optimize your pages and posts for your keyword phrases using the Yoast SEO plugin.
- Publish your posts and social updates on a consistent schedule. CoSchedule makes it easy to do all from one place in your WordPress dashboard.
- Keep the conversation going by responding to comments on your blog.
- Create a MailChimp account and make an email marketing list. Embed a sign-up form for this list onto your website. Being invited into someone’s inbox is one of your most important marketing tools you can have because it gives you an opportunity to nurture that early interest.
- Attract and nurture leads with a sales funnel that includes making an invitation to sign up for you list and receive a special opt-in offer—something simple like a tip sheet or short instructional video that solves a problem related to your expertise. People who opt in are interested in that subject, so you can create a series of autoresponder emails to keep them engaged. This way, people on your list will get to know you and remember you when they become ready to work with you.
- After you write a blog post, send it out to your growing list via MailChimp so people will know to read it.
- Speak, organize, join, network. Always refer people back to your website to sign up for your mailing list so you can grow your community.
Keep working your plan and tweaking your site and your methods. Over time, you will improve every aspect of this process, and your website business will show it as more people are attracted to your website, and more visitors are turning into loyal customers. You can do it and it will work, if you work it☺