7 Smart Ways to Grow Your Email List
Email marketing is where it’s at. It might not be the new, sparkly toy in your marketing tool box, but email kills when it comes to ROI. In fact, email marketing earns an average of $40 for every $1 spent.
Let’s face it, that’s the ROI that marketing dreams are made of. And it points to what amounts to a missed opportunity for many businesses. If you’re not actively growing your email list, you’re missing out on one of the best, most cost-effective ways to grow your business.
And here’s the thing. Growing your list doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. Here are 7 smart ways to attract new subscribers.
#1: Add a Sign-Up Button to Your Facebook Page
Let’s start with an option that’s free and takes only minutes to do. Facebook now allows businesses to add a Call to Action button on their page. There are six choices, but the one we’re focusing on today is the “Sign Up” button.
The button shows up on the right-hand side of the page just beneath your cover photo. Clicking it will redirect visitors to a URL you provide. In this case, it should be your opt-in page. That’s where you can display information about your list and ask people to fill out the opt-in form.
On a related note, you can run a Facebook ad with a “Sign Up” button too, and it will do the same thing. If you choose the ad, you’ll have to pay for it. But, it’s a cost-effective way to attract new subscribers.
#2: Have a Paper Sign-Up Sheet at Your Business
Our next trick is an old-school method to attract subscribers. People who walk into your business may be willing to take a minute to provide you with their name and email address if you make it easy for them to do. And what’s easier than a paper sign-up sheet?
If you choose this option, make sure to include a few lines at the top to tell people why they should subscribe to your list. For example, saying “Sign up here to be the first to know about our upcoming sales and promotions,” people will understand what they’re getting. Even better, they’ll be eager to sign up.
An alternative, of course, is to have your cashiers or other staff ask people for their email addresses when they check out.
#3: Allow People to Subscribe via Text Message
One of the biggest obstacles businesses must overcome when attracting subscribers is the inconvenience factor. People don’t want to waste their time filling out a lengthy or complicated form. So, why not let them text to subscribe?
Some email marketing providers are now offering a text to subscribe option. It allows mobile users to text the word “subscribe” to them, and they’ll be added to your email list. What we love about this method is that it takes only seconds to do.
This option works by creating a custom code for new subscribers to use. To make it even easier, you can display a sign in your store with the code so people can see it and act on it immediately.
#4: Collect Email Addresses When You’re Planning an Event
Do you host events for your business? Whether you’re putting together a charity fundraiser or a gala opening, you can use the opportunity to collect email addresses and grow your list.
The great thing about this option is that you’ll probably need to ask people for their email addresses anyway. You may need it to send them tickets or updates about the event. Simply adding a checkbox to your event sign-up form makes it a snap for attendees to opt-in to your list at the same time.
The key here is to make sure you describe your list briefly, so people know what they’re signing up for. You want to make it seem like a no-brainer for people to tick that box.
#5: Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet
The idea of creating a lead magnet isn’t new – but if you aren’t doing it, it’s new to you. A lead magnet, in case you don’t know, is a freebie you give people to entice them to subscribe to your list.
The key is to create a lead magnet that appeals directly to your target audience. Then, you need to sell it hard. Outline the primary benefits that subscribers will get if they opt in. The more enticing your lead magnet is, the more likely it is that it will help you supersize your list.
Keep in mind that a lead magnet doesn’t have to be worth a lot to be worthwhile. A well-designed tip sheet or template may be just the thing to bring in a slew of new subscribers.
#6: Get Creative with Your Sign-Up Form
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated opt-in page to get people to subscribe to your list. Sometimes, it’s enough to create the perfect opt-in form – and place it perfectly on your page.
One option that I really like is the scroll-triggered form. Instead of putting your form above the fold, as many marketing experts tell you to do, show it to site visitors after they’ve had a chance to read some of your fantastic content.
A form that shows up at the right time can catch readers when they’re impressed with your expertise and grateful for what they’ve learned by reading your content. At that point, they’ll be happy to give you’re their email address in return.
#7: Use Guest Wi-Fi to Collect Addresses
Do you allow guests to access your wi-fi? If so, adding a gateway to their access can make it easy to collect email addresses.
Instead of just giving guests the password, add a field to the form and request their email address as well. Even if you make the email field optional, most guests will be happy to provide their email address to use your wi-fi.
Don’t Let Your List Stagnate…
Instead, use these seven smart and easy ways to attract new subscribers. Once they’re on your list, you can wow them with a well-designed drip campaign that will convert them into paying customers.
How to Get More Customer Referrals
You want more business. That’s a no-brainer! But if you’re thinking that the best way to get it is through paid advertising, think again.
The truth is that even in this electronic age, word of mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold. That’s why online reviews are important. 97% of all consumers read online reviews prior to patronizing a business – and most often, they’re reviews from strangers.
Referrals from friends and colleagues carry even more weight. In fact, they convert 30% more often than leads that come from other sources.
That’s why you need to set up a referral program to encourage customers to send their friends to you.
But wait… won’t happy customers just refer their friends as a matter of course?
Some might – but most won’t. You need to ask. So, let’s talk about some simple things you can do to get more customer referrals.
Step #1: Identify Potential Referral Sources
Referrals can come from many places. Before you decide on the parameters of your new referral program, you’ll need to think about who can provide you with the kind of qualified leads you want. Here’s a run-down of the most likely sources:
- Existing customers and clients are a great source of referrals. They know you and your products, and that makes them uniquely qualified to point likely customers your way.
- Employees are another potential referral source. Like your customers, they know the company and what it does. They can also provide potential leads with detailed information about the benefits of working with you.
- Vendors may be a source of referral business. They know what it’s like to work with you. Even if their experience is with a different side of the business than what customers would see, they can still talk about your products and services knowledgeably.
- Joint venture partners are another potential source of referrals. These arrangements may have a quid pro quo element to them, but they can be very effective.
- Finally, don’t forget your friends and family. Even if they’re not customers, they can still point people in your direction when the opportunity arises.
The techniques you use to attract more referral business are similar regardless of the source you focus on. Now, let’s talk about what to do to attract referrals.
Ask for Referrals
The first and most obvious way to get referrals is to ask for them. A lot of businesses skip this step and they miss out on valuable referrals as a result.
Are you wondering why you need to ask? This statistic might explain it. A study at Texas Tech University found that 83% of consumers were willing to refer acquaintances to a business after a positive experience. But – and here’s the corker – only 29% of them did!
Why the gap? It might have something to do with not being asked.
There are lots of ways to ask for referrals. Here are just a few:
- Send a follow-up email to customers asking them to refer a friend if they’re satisfied with their experience.
- Hand out referral cards or business cards to people who visit your business.
- Attach a small supply of business cards to outgoing correspondence and stick a few business cards into the brochures you give out, too.
- Touch base with your customers by phone. After verifying that they’re happy with your product or service, ask if they know anybody else who might be interested.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best – so don’t forget to ask! And don’t just ask your customers. Put the word out to vendors, employees, friends, and family members, too.
Pinpoint Companies Who Share Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to get referrals is to start with your audience and work from there. In other words – when was the last time you identified local businesses who target the same consumers you do?
Let’s look at a sample audience to illustrate the point: parents with young children. Here are some businesses targeting that audience that might be able to refer customers to one another:
- A children’s party planning service
- A martial arts school that offers kids’ classes
- A toy store
- A kids’ book store
- A tutoring service
Those are just a few options, but you can see how quickly an audience-based referral service could grow. Try reaching out to other businesses with the same audience as you and suggest a mutual referral program.
Attract Referrals with Shareable Content
Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating an infographic to share on Pinterest, you should create content with referrals in mind.
Think about it this way. When people share your content, they’re also sharing information about your company – even if only indirectly. Any person who sees your content might be a potential customer.
Create content that provides clear value to the people in your target audience – and then encourage your existing audience to share it. Again, asking is the key. Some people might share your content, but many will only do it if you ask them to.
In a perfect world, customers, friends, and family would refer you out of the goodness of their hearts. But… we don’t live in a perfect world.
The solution is to give people a reason to give you referrals, something that goes beyond doing a good deed for you or a friend. It’s perfectly acceptable, and even desirable, to incentivize your referral program.
Here’s an example. I knew a factoring company that offered existing clients one month of free factoring if they referred a new client who signed up. That was potentially a big incentive – factoring isn’t cheap! But the owner of that company got a lot of referrals from clients as a result.
If you decide on this type of referral, make sure to specify under what circumstances you’ll pay out the incentive. A small incentive, like a free basic product or a coupon, might go to anyone who offers you contact information, whether the referral comes to fruition or not. But, if you’re offering a big prize, like a bonus or a free service, you might want to require that the referral turns into a customer before issuing the prize.
Referrals are a great way to grow your business…
And they can help you build up a lot of good will with the people around you. Instead of hoping that people will refer new customers to you, go out and make it happen. A coherent, consistent referral program will help you increase your profits.
How to Increase Sales on a Shoestring Budget
You’ve got to spend money to make money. Right?
Well… maybe. The truth is that it it’s not that simple.
Many of the tried and true marketing tricks you read about do require a substantial budget. But some don’t.
In fact, there are ways to increase your sales even if you’re running on a shoestring budget. It’s all about getting creative and taking chances with your marketing where it makes sense to do so.
So, with that in mind, here are some super-effective marketing tricks that can help you grow your sales without blowing through your (small) budget.
Use Customer Feedback to Create New Products or Services
This first technique can be free – or nearly free. Basically, what you’re doing is talking to your existing customers to find out what else you can do for them.
Let’s look at a simple example. Say your company creates and prints custom business cards. By talking to your clients about their other printing needs, you may be able to attract additional business without spending anything on advertising.
Instead of printing only business cards, you might find an opportunity to print letterhead and envelopes, too. That way, you increase the lifetime value of a single customer, and you can offer your expanded services to new customers, too.
Create a Promotion Schedule
Do your existing customers know when you’ll be running a special? It might sound a bit mundane to run promotions on a schedule but doing so gives your customers something to look forward to. And, it increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you regularly.
This technique is perfect for building customer loyalty, but it can also help you attract new business. When your existing clients know that a promotion is coming, they may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it.
This is another sales-growth technique that can be carried out for only a few dollars. You’ll want to advertise your promotion a bit. But, once you’re on a schedule – where, say, clients know that you run a promotion every other month – they’ll start to expect it. That means you won’t have to spend as much to promote it!
Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner
Local businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to team up to generate sales. Simply by scanning the membership list of your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your products or services.
For example, the owner of a catering company might pair up with a florist or party rental company and offer a special to attract new business. Planning an event can be pricy, and you can attract new clients by giving them an incentive to hire both companies to help them with their event.
Another option might be partnering with another business to create a night out. The owner of a restaurant might offer a free appetizer to people who come in with a ticket stub from the local movie theater. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Doing so can make your business the destination of choice for local patrons.
Revamp Your Content to Focus on Customer Benefits
One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced marketers make is focusing too much on their product’s features and not enough on what the product can do for their customers. Fortunately, this is something you can fix with little to no money.
The first step is to audit your website’s content. If you find that you’re not talking about how your products or services can improve your target audience’s lives, revamp it so the focus is on them. You know your product is awesome, but you need to explain how buying it will benefit your customers.
After that, you can use the same technique to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Focusing on benefits makes your content more shareable than it would be if you simply touted your products. You’re likely to see a bigger return on your investment because you’ll be enticing people to buy your product.
Bundle Products and Services
Every consumer likes to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain when they buy something. That’s true both in B2C and B2B marketing – and you can use it to your advantage.
There are two ways to approach product bundling. The first is to bundle a basic product with some upgrades and add-ons and offer a price that’s slightly lower than what it would cost to buy everything separately.
The other option is to bundle products that go together in some way. A gift basket is a good example, and businesses use this technique around the holidays. For example, a Valentine’s Day bundle might include perfume, scented lotion, and a candle.
Increase Engagement on Social Media
Many companies make the mistake of not trying to engage their social media followers when they promote content. That’s a mistake – and in a way, implementing this technique can save you money by increasing your ROI on social media.
One simple technique is to ask your audience a question. Everything you post should include a call to action. When you ask a question, you encourage your followers to respond. The question might be asking their opinion about something you post, or you might ask them which question they’d most like to have you answer in a future post.
Either way, you’re not taking your audience for granted. Getting your social media toengage with you by providing valuable content triggers the cognitive bias called Reciprocity. That’s where people feel obligated to return the favor when you give them something for free.
Nurture Your Leads
You probably already have an email list – but are you using it well? A lot of businesses aren’t — and revamping your technique can make a huge difference in your sales.
If you’re emailing subscribers rarely, you’re missing out. Most email automation services charge based on the number of subscribers you have. That means you won’t pay any more for increasing the frequency of your emails.
Try creating one or more email sequences, also known as a drip campaign. Focus on explaining the benefits of buying your product, and you’ll likely see an increase in your sales, too.
Marketing Isn’t Just for Millionaires…
… and you don’t have to double your budget to double your sales. Using the simple, inexpensive techniques outlined here can help you grow your business without busting your budget.
What’s the Definition of a GOOD Website?
Most businesses these days have a website. But is that enough to make your business a success? Is it enough to help your business grow and thrive?
I don’t think so. I’ve seen some pretty terrible websites. Here, I’m talking about sites that are arguably worse than having no website at all. They’re amateurish, ugly, and worst of all…
They’re ineffective. That means they don’t do a single thing to elevate the business they represent. They don’t attract visitors, and when someone lands on the site by chance, they don’t stick around.
The problem is that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know what makes a good website. As horrible as this sounds, a lot of web developers don’t know. They might have a handle on one aspect of web design or SEO, and completely miss the boat on others.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to define what makes a website good. Once you know, you can create the kind of website that attracts new customers.
First – A Good Website Provides Valuable Information to Visitors
Information is where it all starts. Your website is your home base online. Ideally, your website should act as sort of a combination plate, something that encompasses a well-written brochure, an attractive office, a professional receptionist, and an ace salesperson.
Whew. That’s a lot to do with a simple website. But, the good news is that it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Let’s start with the content. Your website must attract visitors – and the only way to do that is to optimize it. That means:
- Picking the right keywords
- Using your keywords wisely – in tags and in your content
- Including internal links to give your site structure and make it easy for visitors to find relevant content
- Using external links to authority sites to back up your claims or inform visitors
It’s also about varying your content, interspersing written content with relevant images, captivating videos, and visual data (like infographics) to educate visitors about your business. You’ll also need a contact page that makes it simple for people to get in touch with you.
Ultimately, your website should tell people who you are, what you do, and what they stand to gain by doing business with you. If you can accomplish that, the informational aspect of your website is what it should be.
Second – A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged
You can have the most beautiful home page in the world. But, if it doesn’t encourage people to read, explore, and stay a while, it won’t matter.
There’s a reason that your Google Analytics tells you the average time visitors spend on your page. That information is valuable. It tells you how engaged visitors are.
Let’s face it, a visitor who lands on your site and spends 90 seconds on a page that should take 10 minutes to read isn’t engaged. And the chances are good that that person didn’t navigate to another page on your site. Instead, they probably clicked the “Back” button and went in search of a more engaging site.
So, what does this mean in terms of defining a good website? It means your site must have:
- Well-written, engaging, valuable content that keeps visitors glued to your page until they’ve read everything there
- Intuitive navigation that allows them to find what they need easily, and navigate your site with a minimum of time spent wondering what to do next
It also means that your site should have a responsive design. Mobile use is on the rise and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. People using mobile devices won’t stay on your site if it’s not easy to read on the device of their choosing. That means no horizontal scrolling, and buttons and menus that adapt for use on a small screen.
Third – A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers
Ultimately, your goal isn’t just to attract visitors to your site. You want to turn those visitors into paying customers. If your site isn’t designed with conversions in mind, then it’s not a good site.
Of course, not every guest will convert on their first visit. That’s why your site needs to present multiple conversion opportunities. Some will focus on turning visitors into leads, while others will focus on making sales.
There are three main features to consider here.
- An opt-in form that entices people to sign up for your mailing list is a must. Once someone gives you an email address, they become a lead. It’s your job to nurture them, overcoming their objections and making it impossible for them to resist buying your product or signing up for your service. Ideally, you should have an opt-in option on every page of your site, not just your home page.
- A strong call to action is the next must-have feature for a good website. Here, I’m not talking about a single call to action. The most effective websites offer multiple calls to action at strategic points. You might have a static form above the fold on your home page, and then include a scroll-triggered form and a pop-up form to capture people if they leave without opting in. You’ll also need direct sales CTAs on your product pages.
- The third conversion-friendly feature to include is a simple, intuitive checkout process. When your checkout process is slow, unwieldy, or intrusive, people may abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase.
A site that has all three of these features is likely to do a good job of conversion. There’s a missing piece of course. Lead capture is only as good as your lead nurturing campaign. You’ll need to use your email list, social media, and other resources to convince the leads you collect to convert.
Not all websites are good websites…
… but yours can be. Focusing on these three elements – information, engagement, and conversion – can help you capture leads, nurture them, and earn the profits you deserve.
25 Must-Have Features Your Website Needs
When was the last time you updated your website or did an audit of its features? A good website must evolve with the times. Research shows that the average web user will wait only about six seconds for a page to load, and has minimal patience for things like complicated navigation or broken links. It’s your responsibility to do what you can to ensure that visitors to your website have a smooth and enjoyable experience that will encourage them to visit again – or to come to your physical location and make a purchase.
With that in mind, here are the 25 must-have features that you need on your website.
Let’s start with the home page:
- An easy-to-remember domain name. Your domain name should be as close as possible to the name of your business.
- An attractive and compelling logo that includes your business name and is relevant to what you do.
- A short tagline that lets people know what your business does. The ideal tagline should have no more than ten words and give people a clear idea of who you are.
- A strong image above the fold. Nobody wants to click on a website and see a wall of text. What you have on your website should be a combination of text and graphics, and it’s very important to start off with a striking image (or images on a carousel) that will draw people in and engage them.
- Top navigation. The most common site for navigational tools is across the top of your website. You don’t want visitors to your site to have to guess how to get from your home page to your store, or from your blog to your home page.
- A search function in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Menu placement is important, but some people who visit your site are going to want to search and you need to make it easy for them to do so. You should also plan on including a search function on your blog page.
- Bread crumb navigation on every page. Bread crumb navigation allows users to return to your home page at any time. You can have a link to your home page or, as many companies do, turn your logo into a hyperlink that will return visitors to your home page if they click it.
- Key information about your business, including your full name, street address, telephone number, and hours of operation. You may also want to include a map.
- Customer testimonials or reviews. More than 80% of all internet users say that customer reviews and testimonials play a crucial role in their buying decisions. You should have at least one written (or video) review or testimonial on your home page with a link to a dedicated page where users can find additional reviews.
- A call to action. You may end up having more than one of these, but it’s a good idea to have your first one above the fold (meaning before a user has to scroll down) on your home page. It might be a link to download a lead magnet, call your business from a mobile device, or sign up for a free consultation. Whatever it is, it should be easy to see. Contrasting or complementary colors are a good choice to make it stand out.
- Main features of your business. You should include an overview of your products, services, features, and other distinguishing characteristics of your business. You want your home page to give visitors a solid picture of what you do.
- Quality content. Any written content on your home page (or on any interior pages, for that matter) should be written for people first and then for search engines. Use keywords by all means, but remember that your most important visitors are customers, not search engine spiders.
- Internal links in your content. Internal links may lead customers to more detailed write-ups of your services, or to your online store.
- Social media follow buttons. If you want to build your social media following, you should have buttons for all of your accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on) in the footer of your home page.
Now let’s look at some must-have features for your interior pages:
- A contact page with an easy-to-use contact form and a Captcha to help avoid spam. Even if your contact information is on your home page, you need to have a dedicated contact page, too.
- A personalized “About Us” page. People who visit your site want to know about you. The “About Us” page is where you can share the history of your company, brief biographies of yourself and your staff, and your vision for your business.
- A “Frequently Asked Questions” page that addresses common questions and concerns and clarifies what you do. Your FAQ page doesn’t need to be long, but it should be as comprehensive as possible. It’s also a good idea to have a link to a contact form for customers who can’t find what they’re looking for on the FAQ page.
- A blog page. Blog entries don’t need to be long, but they really are essential if you want to use content marketing as a way of attracting new visitors to your site.
- Content in an “F” pattern. Research shows that most internet users read content in an “F” pattern, meaning that they tend to read the first line or two all the way across the page and then skim down the left-hand margin. They may read across if you have a subheading, but you want to make sure to use plenty of white space to make your content as easy to read as possible.
- Social sharing buttons on every blog post. The whole point of having a blog is to get people to visit your site. One way you can do that is to enable social sharing so that the people who read and enjoy your blog can share it.
- Comment section on every blog post. People who read blogs like to leave comments and questions. Make sure you have a comment section and monitor it regularly.
- A clear, easy-to-read font. If you want to use a fancy font for your logo or headline, you can certainly do so. However, keep it to a minimum. The majority of your site should be in a 14-point Sans Serif font.
- A mobile responsive design. More people search online with mobile devices than with computers. That means your site must be mobile responsive if you want mobile users to visit it.
- Easily recognizable links. Readers shouldn’t have to guess which text is hyperlinked and which isn’t. Your links should be in a color that stands out from the rest of your text.
Of course there are other technical elements and design features that you may want to include, but these 25 will ensure that you get off to a good start and provide visitors to your site with what they need.
5 Ways Your Website Is Costing Your New Business
Modern technology has improved at an alarming rate over the last decade, with the internet at the forefront of each and every single one of these advancements. Smart phones and tablet devices are now a part of everyday life, and you can even now use them to do your banking and to pay for items and services.
You can even pay for items and services using digital currency, namely the bit coin. Yes, technology is most certainly king and for that reason, if you want to stand any chance of succeeding within the business world, you need to embrace it and get with the times.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small your business may be, the simple fact of the matter is that if you want to stand any chance of succeeding, you will need to own a website for your business, and if you want your business to flourish in these new times, your website will need to do more than the days of old. It will need to work for you. If your website is outdated, neglected, or just simply poorly designed this could potentially be costing you thousands in lost revenue every single month.
If your business is suffering and you’re not quite sure why, maybe, just maybe, your website could be to blame? Here’s a look at 5 ways in which your website could potentially be costing you new business.
Your site does NOT have a clear call to action – One of the best ways of actually getting what you want is to ask for it, and in simple terms, that is essentially exactly what a “call to action” is. On your site it is your job to encourage, or even to direct your customers towards exactly what it is that you would like them to do once they’ve finished browsing your services and/or products.
Exactly what you require them to do will of course depend on what your business is all about. Do you want them to sign up for a free trial? If so, a simple hyperlink linking to the “free trial” page, with the text ‘Click here for your free trial” is all that you need to do.
Do you want them to browse your service or products? If so, ‘Click here to browse our full range of products/services’ etc. Place these clickable links strategically throughout your website’s content, ensuring you don’t overwhelm the customers with too much text or content.
It’s essentially the same as using bait while fishing. A few carefully placed links with simple call to action text will bait customers into clicking them, seeing your products, seeing something they like the look of, and purchasing it whilst making you a tidy profit in return.
Your site layout sucks – On average, a new visitor to your website only spends six seconds evaluating whether to stay on your site or to click the back button and go somewhere else. If your website’s most important information is buried under the fold, then there is a pretty good chance it’s not being seen.
The layout of your website is arguably one of the most important factors to consider when creating a new site for your business. Although there are a number of “create your own” websites out there that cost little to nothing at all, it is advisable to always hire professional web designers to create and design your website for you.
You should think about what you want each page to say, and then look for ways of saying it using as minimal text as possible. Hey, if you have a knack for writing, that’s great that’s what your blog is for.
But most our potential customers will be visiting your website to browse your products and services, not to read long walls of text. They want to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly and as easily as possible. Make sure you keep the text to a minimum, don’t try to include too many images, and make sure each page is well balanced.
Your design is outdated – A great website design can validate to consumers that your business is a legit, professional business that they want to patronage. It can either boost your reputation or turn potential consumers away.
If you’re trying to save money by doing it yourself, you could actually be losing potential customers, and in the end, losing money. By taking design into their own hands, small business owners cause themselves more headaches and risk by ending up with a poorly designed and planned out website. Not surprisingly, 41% of small business owners who are unhappy with their current website say design/aesthetic is one of their top priorities
So do it right the first time. Hire a professional web design service and make sure your website looks contemporary, attractive, and allows customers to easily engage with your business.
You don’t have any social networking links – Social networking is now a part of everyday life, and whether you like it or not, it looks set to stay that way for the foreseeable future. First off, if you don’t have several social networking pages created for your business, you need to consider getting them set up ASAP. Social networking is ideal as it’s a great source of free, or very cheap marketing and advertising, millions upon millions of people use these pages, and it’s an ideal way of potentially drumming up more business.
Once you do have several social networking pages created, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest etc, you will then need to ensure that you provide links to each page from your website. Linking to social networking pages is ideal because it allows you a way of keeping in touch with potential customers, and keeping them up to date with what’s going on.
So let’s say you are having a sale. People love sales right? By promoting this sale through social networking sites, you have a direct line of communication to people who are already interested in what you’re selling.
Your friends, fans and followers then see the amazing deal your offering and will likely take advantage of it because you’re speaking directly to your target audience. We spoke about calls to action earlier and social networking links are prime examples of how effective a call to action can be. Simple text such as “Stay Informed by liking us on Facebook” with a direct link to your Facebook page is all that is required, and it’s proven to be extremely effective.
Your site is not mobile-friendly – As mentioned previously, smart phones and tablet devices are now extremely common, with close to 50% of all US citizens actually owning at least one of these devices. For that reason, more and more people are using these devices to browse the web, rather than laptops or computers. If your website isn’t mobile friendly then you need to rectify this issue as soon as possible, as again, you could be losing out on a lot of customers.
Websites that aren’t user friendly show up incredibly small on the screens of smart phones, forcing the user to have to enlarge the text and to then scroll left, right, up, and down, every few sentences. If there are any clickable tabs or links on the page, they often inadvertently get clicked by accident, which is extremely frustrating for the user. Rather than spending 10 times as long as normal to simply read a few paragraphs, the user will instead search for a much simpler alternative, namely one of your competitors with a mobile friendly website.
Mobile friendly websites recognize when a user is browsing via a smart phone and will display the text in the perfect size for your device’s screen. This means you won’t need to enlarge the text, you won’t accidently click on the wrong page, and you won’t need to scroll left and right every few words. You simply read the text and scroll down as you go. It’s simple but it works and works so much better than the non-friendly alternative.
Your contact information is hard to find– Studies and expert research have both found that including your contact information on every single page of your website is the most effective way of maximizing your potential to increase and boost your sales.
Many businesses make the mistake of placing their contact information solely on their ‘contact us’ page, or sometimes not at all. Visitors don’t want to navigate through different pages just to find a telephone number or email address. Visitors want to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. You can easily eliminate any frustration by listing your business phone number, your operating hours and business email address situated at the top and bottom of every page.
For further benefit make sure to include links to your social networking pages with your contact information. The easier you are to get hold of, the more likely you will be to land yourself extra leads, and sales. You get the results you want, as does the customer as they easily get to find exactly what it is they’re looking for without wasting time by navigating through page after page.