One of the powerful things about the World Wide Web is the ability to find information at our fingertips in nanoseconds. I won’t get started on how I grew up using the Dewey Decimal System but it’s essential that you know the detailed info that anyone can find out about your business with a few keystrokes.
Getting Found Online
All business owners hope their business comes up first when a potential customer types a product they sell or the service they provide into a search engine. The complexity that goes into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) constantly blows my mind. These are just a few factors that go into organic search rankings:
- Indexed Age – The #1 trust component for Google is the age of your website and its content (Indexed age refers to the date that Google first crawled the domain, not when it was originally published.).
- Authority Profile – The right way to create this is a healthy link profile coming from quality content across the web. DO NOT try and fake this with link building tricks. Google knows if you are creating junk content and pushing it out on blog networks. This grey-hat strategy might get you short-term results but the punishment for trying to trick the system is not worth the risk. We have seen clients literally start over with a new brand/URL because too much damage had been done and it required a clean slate.
- Content – Quality content is one of the major anchors that tether you to Google’s relevancy algorithms. You can’t just copy and paste content from a competitor – the content must be original to boost your site’s authority. It must be well written, keyword centric, and highly engaging so visitors spend a good amount of time digesting and consuming content.
Most of us know the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” but are you aware that 94% of buyers do online research before deciding which brands to consider? Does your website give the same impression of confidence and professionalism to potential clients, employees, or investors that they get from meeting you in person? If your site doesn’t do those things, it should, because 19 out of 20 potential customers’ first impression of your business is your website.
Current and Relevant Content
It’s a momentous achievement to get a potential customer to land on your business’s website, so it’s important not to serve them stale content. People aren’t impressed if you start talking to them about events from two years ago, so why does your website make the same mistake? Make a continuous effort to update the content on your website regularly. I recommend at least a weekly blog cadence with that content being pulled dynamically throughout the site to keep the homepage and other subpages updated with new copy for your clients and for search engines.
If you really want to be an overachiever I would highly recommend developing thought-leader content for each of your customer personas. This content should be customized for where they are in the buyer’s journey (awareness->consideration->decision). By providing quality content at the right time you are educating potential customers. When they reach the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, your business will be top of mind.
Make It Easy To Buy!
I can’t stress enough how essential it is to make purchasing your product or service as easy as possible. Any friction in the purchase or contact process will reduce conversion. In the e-commerce world it’s a simple rule: the least amount of clicks to purchase is critical. It’s the same when trying to generate MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads). Make it easy for customers to get their contact information into your CRM. By requiring that they fill out too many form fields you are decreasing the conversion from visitors to leads. Many organizations fall into the fatal trap of trying to get sales people every possible detail in the initial contact and end up losing 50-80% of potential leads. It’s easy to continue gathering prospect details later by using progressive forms. With the existing tools and an e-mail address you will probably get a more accurate customer background.
Always Be Learning
One of my favorite sayings is “If we have facts, we’ll use facts, if we have opinions, we’ll just use mine.” The point I’m trying to make is that I want to make educated business decisions based on data, not my instinct. Socrates said “the only great wisdom is knowing that we know nothing.” By opening up to ongoing analysis and learning we can continue to improve content, user experience, and customer acquisition. Small changes like a button color, blog title, or even CTA (Call to Action) can have significant impact on results.
In summary, your website is the first impression for 95% of your potential customers. If you’re not as confident with your digital presence as you are with your elevator pitch then its time to start fixing the problem upstream. Your company’s website is working 24/7, 365 days a year, so it should make you stand out among your competition.