A strong web presence is a vital asset for a small and medium business. In an increasingly digital world, many customers go first to the internet when seeking out new products, review them, and ultimately buy them. Therefore because many of these customers will never set foot in your physical location, it is vital that any company, no matter the size, be capable of attracting customers and establishing credibility in the digital world.
The following are five important tips for strengthening your presence online:
1) Your Website is Your Shop Front
For most online customers, your website is the first and last impression they will have of your business. Like a shop front, your website should be clean, up-to-date, accessible, and easy to navigate. Ensure your website is professional, not too flashy and not too boring. A website that oversells itself may lead customers to think it is a scam, while a website that doesn’t present enough information may lose their interest. Furthermore, spelling mistakes, garish colours, or inappropriate advertisements will quickly drive visitors away.
One suggestion is to check out big players to see what they are doing. Most major retailers follow the same formula for website design, so pick someone you think is successful and take a virtual tour.
2) Easy Navigation
If customers cannot find your products, how will they buy them? Furthermore, if your contacts details or checkout process are confusing, your customers will become irritated and will shop elsewhere. Sitemaps, home buttons, and menu bars should be obvious to see and easy to use. Follow the formulas used by most other websites and keep links and contact details in predictable places.
3) Appropriate Advertisements
Nothing says your website is a scam like a barrage of advertisements. Advertising should be subtle and discrete. Your website is here to supplement your business, so focus on advertising your own product instead of advertising for others.
Oh, and never, ever use pop ups or advertisements that play videos or music.
4) Update Content
Make sure you add new content every week, and remove old news or items. Having news stories from months past and products that are out of production will lead potential buyers to question whether your business is still operating. A few blog posts, advertisements for sales, and product reviews will keep your website looking fresh and inviting.
If possible, link to a Facebook page or twitter account for your business as well.
5) Responsible Registration
Registering customers can be a great way to gather information about customer loyalty, spending habits, and your target demographic. However, it is advisable that registration be both easy and optional. Some customers will be put off by being required to enroll with your business, while a lengthy registration process will annoy others. Keep registration to one page for best results.
A good way to boost registration is to give a small bonus with it. Five percent off your first sale, or a timed promotional code for a product that is selling slowly is reasonable and doesn’t seem suspicious. However, be wary that a too good of a deal will encourage customers to create bogus accounts to take advantage of it.