Thousands of new businesses have launched over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of 1,000 micro businesses, one in five respondents have gone online for the first time, according to the latest research from GoDaddy. Among the most common issues for businesses is promoting themselves on a tight budget.
GoDaddy has partnered with Olympic gymnast turned entrepreneur, Beth Tweddle, along with Stuart Coupland, founder of Coupland Leather, for their second Back to Business Masterclass. The virtual masterclass, Promoting your business online for ‘next to nothing’, aims to help entrepreneurs to maximise the reach of their website and social media output.
Here are four tips to help you promote yourself online, as explained by Louis Brightman, customer care guide at GoDaddy.
Get your website fundamentals right
First of all, design a site that turns browsers into buyers. Go through the customer journey yourself to see if it makes sense.
According to Brightman, 95 per cent of people leave your website without buying or leaving their details – for most, it’s nearer to 99 per cent.
Is it clear that you’re better than the competition? Could you be putting more information on your blog or homepage? Do you have an FAQ page? ‘Don’t leave anything unsaid,’ said Brightman and ‘do [the above] before putting money behind your website.’
It’s also worth think carefully about your website’s main image and navigation. The right image can tell your audience more about your business. For example, vegan pie company, Magpye, has pictures of pies part-way through the process to let the user know that they’re handmade. Structure your navigation according to your customer’s journey through your website. To round off their experience, give your user action to take. This could be completing a sale, joining a community or leaving a review.
Look for three main keywords for your website that are key to your business and why people might be visiting you. Brightman briefly talks about short tail and long tail keywords. If you’re a landscape gardener, ‘garden’ would be a short tail example. ‘Garden pond installation’ would be a long tail. Read more about why you should focus on long tail keywords in 9 tricks to boost your small business blog posts.
It doesn’t stop there. You need to constantly review your keywords. ‘Make seasonal changes as a minimum,’ said Brightman. So, if you’re a landscaper, this could include images of recent work.
GoDaddy offers a website maintenance service. When they make changes for you, they’ll update your SEO too.
‘The website is the customer’s first point of call,’ said Tweddle. ‘ Whatever your website is portraying is your company’s look.’ She makes sure the website for Beth Tweddle Gymnastics is customer friendly, vibrant and colourful. Even though the site is mostly for parents, the customer is ultimately children.
Navigation has to be easy too as the website is used to host customer accounts. Customers also use it to log in to their account to change details like their child’s age group and class times.
Use blogging and social media to reach your audience
The first question you should be asking is: ‘What is it you do that makes social media users want to be part of your community?’ This could be something like running a competition or giveaway. Encourage users to share, tag and like your post for the chance of getting something in return. Successful companies do this regularly. Always include a link to your product or website on your social media posts.
Depending on where your audience is, you might be considering paid posts on Facebook, Instagram and/or Google.
With Facebook and Instagram, it’s important to set your objective. Focus most on ‘awareness’ portion of the preference – this includes target age, gender and interests. Brightman warns that you won’t know your audience right away. It will be regular reviews that will tell you where your audience are. You can set your budget and schedule. Perhaps you only pay for the number of people clicking your ad. Ad sequencing on Facebook targets the same people who have already seen your ad.
On Facebook, the average click-through (CTR) is five per cent. Even a very good ad has up to 15 per cent CTR.
Once you’ve done some experimentation, it’ll become clearer who your audience is. Don’t feel you need to target a specific platform because it’s popular. ‘It depends on who your target audience is,’ said Coupland. ‘I know a lot of old ladies who aren’t on Facebook or Instagram, they’re on Pinterest’. He added that LinkedIn is best for targeting businesspeople: ‘I made a timelapse video [of a product being made] and put it on LinkedIn – it blew up.’
‘We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin,’ Tweddle said. ‘ We use Instagram and Facebook for paid ads – they’re great tools for targeting customers. I use Linkedin for staff and Twitter for organic posts and linking in with schools.’
Using a blog to sell improves SEO too. Each blog can be 1,500 – 5,000 words with your aforementioned keywords. This blog can serve multiple purposes in that it can educate customers and it gives Google more content to find on your site. Ideally, you’ll be running your competition on your blog too. Make sure you run it across all channels.
Find influencers and use a mailing list
If you’re interested in influencer marketing, ensure the partners/influencers that you go with share your values and interests. Buzzstream and YouTube are good places to find influencers. You can base Buzzstream searches on your keywords and other metrics.
As for your mailing list, make them your insider group. Give them exclusive offers, let them in on what your company is doing. The more special treatment you give to your inside people, the greater chance of growing your list, said Brightman. They have their own networks too, allowing more room for growth.
It worth mentioning what your mailing list group are getting on a page of your website to entice new people to sign up. Always give people the option to subscribe.
Understanding and getting results using Google
Use Google My Business to help with growth. It’s free to set up, like a Facebook page. Use Google Trends to find out which key terms are trending relating to your business. Meanwhile, Google Analytics will tell you who has visited your site by demographic, what links they’ve clicked on and how long they spent on that page.
If you’re struggling with targeting on social media, opt for Google Ads. ‘Everybody uses Google,’ said Brightman. ‘It’s not about the person, it’s about what they’re looking for.’
As you’ve gathered, a lot of these tips tie together. Whatever content you’re running, make sure you align your social media, blog post(s), Google Ad activity and website so it’s all consistent. ‘Think of it as one big circle,’ said Brightman.