If you’re like many small businesses, you’ve worked hard year after year in your local community to provide services and products that are excellent and reliable. Those who know you are loyal to your business and are eagerly spreading the word about the quality of your work to their network when the opportunity arises.
Word of mouth definitely helps build trust for local businesses everywhere, and often the testimonials of our clients is the most powerful way to attract new customers.
Word of mouth, however, can typically be unpredictable for those who rely on new leads coming in every day, week, and month… Not to mention the difficulty new small businesses can have with building a large enough client base early on to earn enough positive referrals to bring in steady streams of new revenue.
Because of these challenges, we thought it would be helpful to share 5 ways small businesses can use their website to attract new customers.
1. Create Helpful Content Regularly
This point will be a bit longer than the other 4, as it’s perhaps the most important once you’ve set up your website.
Without doubt, creating helpful content week after week for your customers and stakeholders on your website is something each and every business should be doing.
The most common way to implement this is through a weekly (can be more frequent) blog. There’s a misconception among business leaders that they either don’t have time for posting regular blog content, or their business doesn’t do something that makes sense for blogging.
Both are untrue…well at least the second one is untrue. I’d also guess that the first is largely untrue, but I also know that small business leaders are balancing many different plates, and adding another one that they may or may not enjoy doing seems unbearable. If you are in business today, with customers to serve, you have relevant and helpful topics that you can blog about, but you may need to think about content creation through a different lens.
At the heart of the practice, content creation for the purpose of SEO can be boiled down to writing blogs and other content on your website that helps your business better serve your customers.
Of course other technical and strategic components come into play, but the core of the matter is that simple.
For those of you who don’t feel like you have anything to blog about that your (potential) customers would be interested in, the best place to start is by simply answering every question your customers or potential customers have asked you.
Really! That strategy by itself has taken struggling companies and turned them into industry leaders.
Stay focused on your customers
The key here is to answer your customers questions in detail, fully transparently, and in a way they care about (i.e. stay focused on their concerns, not your concerns).
For those of you who feel you don’t have time to write a blog, I’d ask how many hours each week are you spending writing emails answering customer questions, likely the same questions over and over. If you’re not doing this, someone likely is.
By answering their questions in detail and transparently through a blog on your website, you’re potentially freeing up hours every week in the long run. Not to mention your leads will be more educated and likely close faster than if your sales people are needing to answer 100 questions before closing time.
Aside from blogs, businesses can create content on their website in a number of ways including:
- Resources and E-books
While it’s ideal for you to build so
much trust with your clients that they contact you first, leveraging lead magnets, i.e. requiring a user’s contact information in exchange for access to a resource like an e-book, can be a helpful strategy for filling your pipeline.
2. Investing in SEO for Long Term ROI
Creating content regularly on your website is the priority for generating new leads for your small business sales pipeline, but if you’ve not sure of which keywords, phrases, and topics you should be writing about, you may be wasting your time.
Search Engine Optimization is key for both small and large scale businesses alike, because it determines the success of your online marketing as it relates to bringing in organic (i.e. non-paid, like with Google Ads) web traffic over time.
If SEO is totally new to you, here’s an overview.
For an overview of the major topics from that article, it covers how to:
- Work to understand what your customers are searching for.
- Optimize your website content and pages for your target keywords.
- Ensure that your website loads quickly, is mobile optimized, secure, and generally follows a straightforward list of best practices from Google.
- Earn backlinks to your website from other quality / relevant websites
- Benchmark and track your SEO success.
If you’ve not been following SEO best practices as you’ve been creating content, don’t panic. You can retroactively implement any changes or improvements that need to be made to get your website up to SEO par.
There are two main components to SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO essentially covers everything that happens on your actual website as it relates to SEO. While not exhaustive, on-page SEO covers things like:
- Content creation
- Keyword optimization
- Mobile first web design
- Optimized meta tags, title tags, alt tags, etc.
- Descriptive URLS
- SSL Certificate
- Schema Markup
Here’s a resource to learn more about on-page SEO.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand can be more nuanced and encapsulates everything that takes place off your website that benefits your search engine results page rankings.
The reason this is more nuanced is because it can seem so broad and hard to improve, but ultimately it comes down to focusing on a few primary areas. These are:
- Link building (i.e. getting relevant and authoritative websites to share links to your website).
- Brand mentions online via social media, news, or other channels.
- Google My Business profile setup with reviews coming in.
- Social media content from your brand being engaged with and shared.
Ahrefs blog also has done an excellent piece on off-page SEO. That’s linked here if you’d like to take a deeper dive when you’re ready to get to work.
3. Design Your Website Intuitively for Users
This one is relatively common sense for most, but all to often we see websites that have been pieced together over a period of time. The end result of these situations is a sort of “Frankenstein” website that is not serving anyone well, and truly probably just frustrating both the business who is keeping up with it and the customers who land on the website.
You should begin with the end user in mind when building or redesigning your website, and if you don’t know how to do that, make sure you’re engaging a quality web design company that can help advise you on an intuitive user experience based on your business and industry.
For those wanting to DIY, take a look at leaders in your industry. How have these other businesses structure their websites. Do you see commonalities among them? If so, there’s probably a reason, and you can likely benefit from not having to recreate the wheel.
We are certainly not encouraging you to copy or steal from others work, we are simply saying that you can take inspiration from those who are serving their customers well with their websites.
Feedback and Analytics
Additionally, you should be gathering any feedback from current customers if you already have a website, on what’s most important to them, what they like/dislike about the website, etc. when it comes time for your redesign.
Google Analytics has tools that can show where website visitors drop-off your website, and where they navigate to, which can be helpful in determining what is potentially causing frustrations and what may be taking too many steps to navigate to.
Here’s an example of what that looks like.
4. Use Google Ads and PPC to Bring in Immediate Traffic
While this is not something you do with your website to attract new customers, at least not in the same way as content creation, SEO, and web design, it does require your website.
All PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising campaigns should be driving traffic to your website and more specifically landing pages that are hyper focused on one call to action that you want users to take. We’re not going into detail on how to setup PPC ad campaigns with Google Ads and Facebook Ads, or other platforms, but here’s a good resource on that.
These PPC ad campaigns can help bring in immediate traffic, because it simply takes the budget and proper keyword targeting to start generating leads.
There’s no doubt that a well done PPC ad campaign can pay for itself many times over, but a poorly run campaign can cause you to hemorrhage cash. If you’re not sure of what to do with Google Ads, we’d suggest bringing in a marketing agency to help, taking advantage of Google’s free basic consulting for customers, or hire a PPC expert for your business.
As a side note, while we know Google Ad campaigns and the quick results that are often seen can make it seem unimportant (or pointless at worst) to invest in SEO and content marketing, trust us, those are better long term investments for most businesses. PPC ad campaigns will only compliment the work you do as it relates to content creation.
5. Leverage Social Media Platforms
Finally, leverage your social media platforms to drive users to your website by sharing and distributing all that content you’ve worked so hard on.
Once you’ve put all the work into creating truly helpful e-books, articles, tools, and more, you’ll want to go to the rooftops and do the hard but fun work of sharing the content with your audience.
It’s been said that you should follow the 80/20 rule. This states that you should spend 20% of your time creating the content, then 80% of your time sharing it. This may seem overwhelming, but Facebook, LinkedIn, email lists, Twitter, these are all easy places to share your newly created content.
The good news is that once you’ve created those new pieces of content on your website, all you really need to do is capture snippets and takeaways that you can share on the various social platforms to invite users to follow the link, land on your website, and “consume” the content.
These 5 ways small businesses can leverage their websites to bring in new users and gain new customers are not exhaustive, but we believe if you are doing the 5 things listed above well, that you’ll be well on your way to making the most of your website to benefit your lead generation and better serve your customers.
Still have questions? Let’s schedule a call to talk.