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Launching your business’ online face

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Like it or not, the consumers’ use of technology and the web is no mere love affair – it is ingratiated in almost every facet of their lives. And to reach your customer base, your business should be no different.

While launching an online aspect of your business has its marketing benefits, cutting through web clutter can get you in a tangle. Fortunately, it’s not expensive to give your business an edge. It only requires time, effort and a little keyboard grease.

Jim Stewart, internet marketing expert, says the internet is a major factor in consumers’ purchasing patterns.

“Ninety-five per cent of business purchasing decisions are researched via google first so that means people are going into Google to basically research what it is they want to buy,” he says. Team that with the fact that 85 per cent of all web traffic originates from search engines, and you would be silly not to take advantage.

Search through customer eyes

The difference between operating online and operating online effectively is to ensure you have a strong presence on Google, says Stewart. The way to do this is to approach search engine optimisation (SEO) as if you were a customer. Which words would your ideal customer be Googling? The trick is to use these search terms on your webpage and use them often.

“It’s good cataloguing on the website. A lot of people don’t realise that. They say they don’t come up for a search or whatever and half the time they don’t have the words on their website that they’re searching for,” says Stewart.

While generating traffic for your website is seen as a priority, Stewart says this shouldn’t be the main focus.

“You don’t need to be getting thousands of hits to your website a week. We get about three or four leads from our website each week,” he says. “You don’t need a lot, you just need the right people visiting the site.”

The benefit of SEO is that you are targeting the right customers at the right time, when they’re in the market for your product or service and are actively searching for it.  

“Think about what it is that your clients would be typing into Google if they were looking for a product or service like yours. Getting found in Google is about introducing your product or service to a group of people who don’t know you exist,” he says.

Connecting with your customers

Once your customers have found you online, foster long-term relationships and give them a reason to come back – and refer you to their friends and family. Email marketing campaigns or online newsletters are one method of marketing your business. And, with research from US-based Pew Research Center indicating 94 per cent of internet users access email daily, the benefits are proven.

Before sending out a campaign, nut out your online strategy. Why are you emailing your customers? Is it to inform them of a promotion, increase website traffic or strengthen sales? Once you have your strategy and goals in place, your marketing campaign will be more targeted and useful to your customers.

Socialising on the Net
There are many ways to market your business online and these efforts shouldn’t be restricted to a website. The rise of social media has meant that businesses are generating higher exposure through word (or rather, type)-of-mouth.
“Social media is a fancy way to say people connecting online and getting involved with online communities,” says Stewart. If your business can become a talking point within these communities, the marketing is both free and invaluable, largely because a presence online can feed into different marketing forms.
“We’re finding that even if a company decides to get involved in a social media campaign, that also affects their search volume in Google,” says Stewart. “What happens is people start talking about this webpage, this social media page … or this particular funny video and people go searching for it.”

“The message is spreading faster than ever these days online and I call it the speed of idea propagation is that we can just in the blink of an eye with things like Facebook and Twitter.”

While updating websites and social media accounts may take effort, the benefits of increased exposure in a growing medium are immeasurable.
So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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