Where do I start when building out my online presence? Lemme tell ya!
Let me start off by saying this will be a four-part mini-series discussing how to either build or repair a business's online presence and where to start. A lot of the information I will be sharing comes from a completely brandable slide deck that is available to all Vendasta partners called The Street Level Sales Deck. This slide deck perfectly breaks down the customer journey. It also breaks down how much things have changed, and how important it is to be online today. This is a super helpful sales tool for all partners and pairs well with things like the snapshot report.
Where to begin: Websites
One of the biggest questions for a business that is new to online is, where do I start? Typically people think “well digital ads are where I should start, that way I can start driving customers into the business!” Another common idea is to start with social media like a Facebook page or an Instagram account. Though both are great for growing your online presence, it's not the best place to start. Our starting point when establishing an online presence should always be the website.
Now, there are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that the website is where we want our customers to end up. The whole purpose of us running ads and doing Facebook posts is to push potential customers to the website. "See what I have, look at my qualifications, see how professional I look, shop with me!" This is going to sound like a bit of a stretch here but think of food and websites as the same thing. Now what I mean by that is, similar to how we eat with our eyes, we judge a business by their website! If they have a website that they created back in 2006 and it looks like their niece or nephew made it for them, you may think “wow this business is dated” or if the website is slow to load, you have the potential to lose that customer. Typically if a website doesn't load within 4 seconds, that customer will go somewhere else. Today more than ever you need to have a strong website that looks up to date, mobile-friendly, looks professional, and loads in a reasonable amount of time. Remember when your building a house, the first thing you need to build is the foundation.
I hope that you found this to be educational. My next post will be about our second area of focus on Wednesday.
I love this, thanks for sharing Mason, as you mentioned here, Websites is absolutely essential for any type of Business, especially loved the example here!
You know they always say better late than never, so here it is part two on establishing or repairing businesses online presence
Listings & Reputation
Once we have the website in order, we need to make sure that our listing information is correct across the board. If people can't find you or get in contact with you, you're not going to be able to get their business. Now listings may be one piece of the online presence businesses may not know about, and if they don't know about it, how can they fix it? For anyone who doesn't know what listings are, they are online entries for your business. Their role is to help customers find you online and in real life (ie: Bing, Google, etc) So we need to make sure that our listings are set up correctly. If we don't have our listings set properly then we can end up in the situation that has happened to all of us, we google a business, we check the hours and the address, then we show up and the business isn't open yet, they're closed, or they aren't even there anymore. As a consumer, this is easily the most frustrating experience, and the most preventable. We don't want someone to google us and end at our competitor because they couldn't get ahold of us.
After we get all our business information sorted, then we can start to look at things like reviews, generating them, and responding to them. Reviews are a game-changer when it comes to the customer journey, if you have poor reviews it will deter your customers. Let me frame it up like this, if you had to choose between two plumbers and one of them had 158 reviews and an average score of 4.8 or another guy that had 5 reviews and their average score was 3.8, who are you most likely to choose? Reviews can be the deciding factor for a potential customer.
There are plenty of reasons why we would want to have our reputation and listings established before running ads. The main one is we don't want to start running ads and directing them to either wrong listings or lackluster reviews in either case, we have the potential to lose a customer, and direct them to a competitor.
So I said this would be broken into four parts, but just as posting on time is hard, so is math. This will be my third and final post talking about establishing or repairing a business's online presence.
Social Posting, Digital Ads & SEO
So, we have our website established and polished. We have our listings set and correct across the board. We are now generating reviews and responding to them. Now we can focus on things like ads and social media. Just like building a house, you can't start framing and roofing, you need to have a strong foundation first. Now that we have laid the foundation we can start driving people to our business with ads and engaging social posts.
I'm sure if you have made it this far in these posts's you’re thinking “Man, this guy has a lot to say.'' This is only the tip of the iceberg. I've added a document in this discussion that we refer to as the Street Level Sales Deck. This Slide deck perfectly breaks down how much things have changed and it is completely brandable and open for any of our partners to use. I hope you found this helpful and I wish you all the best in your selling efforts!