Get Seen: Maximizing Your Online Presence

Are you overwhelmed by using the Internet to gain leads, or have yet to stat utilizing it in general? These tips will help you get started using the web to maximize your return on investment.

Internet search on a tablet

Having a website improves customer experience by helping them figure out what to expect from your company. Customers are moving away from the traditional sources of company information and are doing their own research, especially for services with a higher cost.

 

A website is a small investment that often garners big returns. Hosting a website costs little, and there are many resources to help you customize your website to your business’s unique qualities. Find an Accredited Website Designer/Developer in your area by visiting ask.bbb.org/chicago and searching “Web Design”. Building a website can be a very simple process. Research online tutorials for the beginner web designer if you’re looking to get started on your own.

 

WHAT TO INCLUDE

A Small Bio of Your Company | This helps to build trust and lets the customers learn more about you before hiring you. Include memberships in any trade associations or organizations, and any awards or honors you have received, where you received your training, and how long you have been in the business.

Pictures of Your Services | Be sure to note what exactly the consumer is looking at and what part of the picture is your handiwork. For example, if you installed the windows of a house, include a caption that states the specifications of the window.

Background Information About Your Profession | This is especially helpful for professions that consumers don’t know very much about. Ask yourself: Why are your services or products important? Why should consumers spend money on your product or services?

The Specifics | Services or products your company offers, including brands, techniques, and materials. If possible, include links to the manufacturers or pictures of the product so that customers gain an idea of what the product or service might look like in their home. Be as specific as possible. Remember, consumers are relying on you to give them quality, useful information! The more useful your website is, the more likely consumers are to use your services.

 

WEBSITE DESIGN TIPS

Keep it Simple | Customers want to see neat, clean, and easy-to-navigate designs. Avoid music, animations, and auto-playing videos whenever possible. Use a medium-sized, simple font. Good fonts include Ariel, Verdana, Times New Roman, and Helvetica. Depending on your business type, avoid ‘cutesy’ fonts, as they do not look professional and can be difficult to read. Use as much contrast as possible between the background and the font color to facilitate an easier read as well. For example, if you have a white background, use a darker font color like black or navy blue.

Pick a Theme | …And stick to it throughout the website! For example, if your logo is green and blue, stay close to those colors and have a plain background. Avoid using pictures or brightly colored tiles as backgrounds. A solid color in a neutral shade, such as white or light brown, works best and wont strain the eyes.

Include Navigation Buttons | Place them on either the left side or the top of the page. This allows consumers to easily click through your website and avoid getting lost or frustrated.

Avoid Large Text Blocks | Use bullet points and short paragraphs so that the consumer can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for. Instead of using a lot of superlative language to describe your company, stick to factual information, such what services you provide, how long you have been in business, and when you are available to perform work.

Keep it Current | If you have a calendar of events, make sure that you update it on the first of every month, and ensure that your contact information is always up to date.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA COUNTS, TOO

Start Small | Create pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Be sure to add photos, quick tips, information about your company, and use your logo as the profile picture.

Post Regularly | A good rule of thumb is to post a status update at least once a week or up to a couple times a day.

Keep it Light | Avoid hostile conversations with other social media users, posting political opinions, or straying too far away from discussion of your products and services.

Keep it Fresh | Add pictures, post articles about your profession, inform consumers about upcoming events, and mention any special discounts that your company is holding. You may want to post promotions on your Facebook or Twitter to encourage individuals to check your Facebook page regularly.

Interact With Your Followers | Be polite and professional as you would in any other interaction. Address customers’ concerns in a helpful and courteous way, and take consumer suggestions or comments seriously. Consumers who feel respected and acknowledged are more likely to utilize your services or buy your products because you have formed a personal connection with them.

Consider Your Audience | …Especially when providing contact information. Younger consumers look for a lot of integration with the latest technology and expect a strong online presence, including multiple ways to connect online, such as a Facebook profile and a Twitter page. Older consumers may not be as comfortable with technology and may prefer to communicate with companies by phone or email. Multiple forms of contact means that every type of consumer can stay up-to-date with your company in a way that feels comfortable and natural to them.

 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR REVIEWS

Read Them! | Look to resources like the Better Business Bureau to find customer reviews and take them into consideration when making changes to your company’s services, core competencies, and products. Pay special attention to whether certain compliments or complaints appear multiple times. If several people are staying the same thing about your company, it is likely to be somewhat valid.

Reach Out | If a customer has clearly had a poor experience and is upset, reach out to them and ask what could be done to rectify the situation. An unsatisfied customer posting on an online review site is likely to turn away other potential customers, but if their concerns are acknowledged and your company is proactive about offering a solution, you may be able to regain their patronage and gain recommendations rather than warnings.

Stay Trustworthy | Do not pay people to put up false negative reviews for other businesses or write false positive reviews your business. Not only is it often obvious to customers that the review is fake, but should anyone find out, your business’s reputation will be damaged. Focus on offering excellent service, treating customers well, and maintaining a strong digital presence. While you cannot prevent a customer from writing a bad review, you can work hard to ensure they have no reason to.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? 

Advertise Online | Online advertising can help you reach more potential customers quickly and easily. Setting up ads is simple with programs such as Google Adwords.

Show Up First | Some companies, like BBB Accredited, Be Found Online and PageTraffic can assist you with search engine optimization, which helps your company stay in the first few listings of a search result page.

Explore Your Options | Learn about different social media websites in addition to the ones listed above, such as Pintrest, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube, to find the sites that work best for your company.

Stay True | Treat your online activities just as seriously as your real-world practices. Remember that more and more individuals today are using the Internet to research companies to work with: if you do not have an online presence, you are missing out on a crucial chance to gain business. While building a website and updating social media can seem challenging at first, with practice it will become an easy and simple way to keep your brand fresh and relevant.

Get Seen: Maximizing Your Online Presence

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