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A Website is No Longer Enough: How to Improve Your Online Presence
by Clayton Preble Thu, 11/22/2012 - 13:49
A website is for most small business and entrepreneurs is their main online presence. It’s your current and prospective client’s portal into your services, products and values. Today, most customers will research and review your business online before ever setting foot in your store or picking up the phone. This makes having a website that not only sets you apart from the competition, but also showcases your unique value essential.
As the web has evolved, more and more tools have become available that make it easy for anyone to build a web presence within minutes. While this is an exciting development, it does allow more and more competitors to enter the field. In the early years, having a business website was just part of the process in establishing credibility. Back then there were fewer competitors, and it was easier to stand out on the web. Those days are long gone. When I started out my company, Georgia Generators, the web was just a small part of our marketing efforts. Now it tends to be the central focus of our efforts.
Not having a professional, clean and easy-to-understand website is your first mistake. But if you have built an online presence, there are some ways you can refine your online strategy in order to ensure that your site is brining you the most value.
Find Your Niche and Differentiate Yourself From the Competition
Running a company that solely focuses on supplying homeowners and home-based businesses with residential generators creates a unique challenge to my own marketing strategy. Our target market is less than five percent of the general population. We are also up against wholesale marketers who offer the product for sale and have much larger marketing budgets.
The first step is to think like the customer and find a way to show them what makes us different from wholesale retailers. We educate new visitors to our site the importance of getting the sizing, application, and installation correct so that they end up with a home generator system that will give them years of good service. We also differentiate ourselves from wholesale marketers who don’t offer support after purchase.
In order to find out this information, figure out the keywords and terms that people are using when they search for your products. This will give you insight into what they are curious about as they work through the sales funnel. Organize your website in a way that will ensure that when they land on a page, they’ll find what they’re looking for. On the web, you have mere seconds to showcase that the information a consumer is looking for is there.
Know When To Outsource
A business owner is responsible for many things, and they have to succeed at each of these. However, there are certain projects that you should bring in a specialist for. Knowing when to do this is key. For our company, there are two areas that meet these criteria: quarterly and annual tax reporting and web optimization.
For your business, look to outsource tasks on your own website when:
- The level of necessary expertise is beyond your skill set.
- The importance of getting the job right is critical.
- The use of your time is more valuable in other areas of the business.
In order to stay a step ahead of your competition, you must realize that your website will be a prospective customer’s first impression of your business. Make it a point to highlight the strengths that you have over competitors within the site. A well-designed website that is easy to find and is appealing gives your customer confidence in the service you provide.
About the author
Clayton Preble is the founder and president of GenSpring Power, Inc., a company formed in 2002 that specializes in home standby generator systems for residential customers. Prior to forming GenSpring Power, he spent more than 30 years in the natural gas industry. He is a Master Service Technician, the highest service level expertise certified by Briggs & Stratton.