Take a moment to imagine a scenario. You’ve discovered a really, really interesting company and you’d like to learn more about it. When you go to Google and enter the name of the business, you are greeted by…nothing. How would you feel if you discovered that the company was nowhere to be found on the internet, had no online presence at all? If you’re like 90% of the population, then you check online before deciding whether or not to do business with a company. Now, if you’re an entrepreneur and you are seeing this information, how does that change your perspective on the importance of digital marketing? Does your small business have an online presence or are you a “ghost” on the worldwide web?
A Website To Speak For You
Donuts to ten you are going to have clients searching for you online, just as you would search for a company that you are interested in. Give your clients something worth finding by creating a fantastic website that is informational and gives them a good idea of who you are and what you’re all about. If you’re not very hip with CSS or HTML, no worries; you can always hire a website development agency to help you create something fantastic. Don’t forget to include the things that consumers are looking for the most on your site:
- Products with high-quality pictures and an informative description. Consumers want to know what you’re selling and all associated specs.
- A menu that is easy to find and easy to navigate. Nobody wants to waste time looking all over the place for a navigation bar, and a website that’s clunky and messy is one that people tend to take less seriously.
- An about section. Who are you, where did you start your company and why did you choose to start it in the first place? Believe it or not, customers truly do want to know these things because it helps to better identify with you.
As the first line of defense against an empty online presence, your company website is one of the most important marketing tools that you will ever have. Make it something worth visiting again and again by current and future customers.
Online Reviews — The Good, The Bad and the Downright Scary
The aforementioned 90% of clients that are searching for you online are looking for more than just a pretty website and cute logo. What people are really looking for when searching for you are the online reviews — what others have to say about you. And with that in mind, be paying close attention to your ratings on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Review. Keep up on what the online consensus seems to be regarding your business and make sure that you are responding to all of the reviews, not just the positive ones. Yes, seeing that your business has affected someone positively is exciting and you want to celebrate those reviews, but understand that the way that you respond to the negative ones can show your character almost better than the positive reviews.
Think about it: It’s easy to be excited about someone else’s happiness that you helped to create, but criticism is never easy. Handling it with grace and taking control of the situation can show your sense of professionalism in a difficult situation, thus proving to the public that you take your company and your livelihood very, very seriously. Remember some of the best tips for responding to tough reviews:
- Take a breather before reacting. Reading a scathing and unjust review is enraging, and your instinct tells you to RESPOND NOW WHILE ANGRY. This is a terrible idea. If you’ve read something that makes you react in a strong emotional way, then avoid responding at the height of that emotion. Stepping back and taking the time to consider your reply can help you methodically to sort out your thoughts.
- Do not, repeat, do not be overly confrontational or threatening in your response. Again, put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. How would you feel if a business owner reacted to your review by personally attacking you? Not only could this be considered bullying, but it’s also just plain unprofessional. An angry, aggressive response to a bad review makes you look just as awful as the initial review suggested. Don’t prove them right, no matter how much you want to.
- Take ownership. This can be frustrating, especially when you don’t think that you did anything that warrants an apology, but remember that the customer is always right. If you want your small business to survive, then owning up to your shortcomings speaks volumes to other people: You can take criticism and you will do what you can to make it right.
Since the whole world uses online reviews, it can seem dizzyingly terrifying to see a bad one among the ranks. Once you develop a healthy strategy for approaching them, then you will find that they work in your favour instead of against you.
Social Media: Not Just Cat Memes
The world runs on social media, businesses not excluded. While your personal social media pages can be as full of cat memes and witty saying as you like, remember to change up the format a little for your business. Some of the best ways your business can use social media include:
- Announcements: Promotions, sales and anything exciting you think the world needs to know
- New products that you are just now unveiling
- Behind-the-scenes photos of staff and the development process
Social media is great because it comes in so many platforms and reaches so many audiences. Tap into the dynamic to spread your customer base online.
Since the world is depending less on paper advertising and more on the online world, it’s essential that you get your small business on the internet. When people Google search for you, give them something amazing to find instead of leaving them wondering why you have no presence in the great digital void of the internet.