Q&A: Anchor Your Online Strategy with a Solid Website
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Q: Everyone I know is on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Why should I waste my time with a website when I can just use social media to talk to my customers?
A: Blogs, photo-sharing, and other types of social media may be getting all the buzz these days, but websites remain the foundation of a successful online marketing strategy.
Though social media has redefined the rules of customer engagement and relationship-building, these channels are limited in size, content, and time. In order to truly “tell your story”—what your small business does and how it can help your customers—a well-designed, comprehensive website is a must.
Creating a professional-looking website has never been easier, thanks to WordPress and other do-it-yourself online design tools. But looks aren’t everything. As with every other facet of online marketing, good content is critical to both attracting customers and enticing them to learn more.
That’s why it’s important to organize and build your website from the customer’s perspective:
- Basic information: who you are, what you do, where you’re located, hours of operation, etc.
- How you can help them: details on products, services, special expertise, etc.
- Why a customer should do business with you: The kind of problems you solve, examples of successful projects/satisfied clients, etc.
Complementing narrative with photos and video is helpful, but don’t go overboard. Often, less is better, and what you do include should look as professional as possible. (In other words, use a digital camera or camcorder instead of a cell phone, and edit out any extraneous material.) And “freshen up” your content regularly by replacing outdated material with more timely, relevant information.
Many entrepreneurs have added educational components to their websites, providing relevant information about issues customers are dealing with or their industry. As a result, the website becomes an information resource that can help customers on an ongoing basis.
Also make sure your website’s content is optimized for mobile devices, especially if you own a restaurant or other business that customers may visit on impulse, or when they’re looking for something specific.
Create your optimal online presence with SCORE, a non-profit association that offers a wealth of information resources, workshops and training, and free, confidential counseling from more than 13,000 business experts. For more information, visit www.score.org.