Ask not what you can do for search engine optimization (SEO), but what SEO has done for one Wisconsin business.
Take ABC Flooring, one of our clients in southeastern Wisconsin, and what search engine optimization has done for their business. ABC Flooring came to us in March with a problem: they had a website, but was not getting enough traffic to their site.
Fast forward four months later, and their website traffic has doubled thanks to search engine optimization. In just 30 days, their unique visits increased 122%, 166% in May, and recently have hit an impressive increase of 200%.
Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. Today, ABC Flooring receives form submissions every week, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package.
Their case may seem like a tale out of a story book, but the truth is that search engine optimization is necessary for anyone looking to grow their business, as you can see from the statistics behind search engine optimization. And if those statistics don’t convince you, just look at ABC Flooring’s web traffic statistics, proving that search engine optimization is effective. It’s also easy, if you start with a (free!) seo health report. Because what good is an attractive and functional website if your customers (and potential customers) don’t see it? Or don’t see it at the top of their search page?
An updated Facebook page with satisfied customer reviews is well, fantastic. Constant tweets with links to excellent content is beyond awesome. But a solid social media presence is just a presence if you don’t use word of mouth to promote it.
Even with all our technology, with all our smart phones, laptops, tablets, instant messages and email, word of mouth is still king. It’s still the BEST way to let people know you have a social media presence. It’s even easy:
Mention it to your customers during meetings. If you’re a real estate agent, a simple “and you can check out our Facebook page for listings and articles that will help you as you search,” is a way to give your clients more service, more resources—and to stay in touch with them even after their search is over.
Tell your customers to watch your page or profile for specials. Of course, if you tell them they can find specials on your social media sites you have to back it up with specials that make it worth their while.
Give your customers a card with a list or URL of your social media sites. Think about it, you’re ringing them up after they’ve experienced your quality services. A simple, “don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for specials and updates” and a quick pass of the card gets their attention—and their like or follow later.
Your customers want to know about your specials. They want to know about the latest products. They wouldn’t be coming into your store or calling your business if they didn’t, so why wouldn’t you want that connection to them when they are going about their daily lives?
But if you don’t promote your social media sites to your customers, or don’t link to it on your website, it’s just a page. It’s a presence with no link to the rest of your marketing tools. We see it all the time: clients who want the social media presence, but they don’t mention it to their customers, and don’t integrate it into their marketing toolbox. They assume that their social media presence will live on, with no input or link to the rest of their tools. The result is there is no connection with the people buying their products. And that’s what social media is all about—people, connections and word of mouth.
With the latest statistics putting the average user’s online time at 5 hours per day, it’s clear people are surfing through social media and websites. And the more we browse, the more we find the bad apples: websites that, though pretty, do not function. You can’t find what you need. The navigation is confusing. Or worse, you find bad links.
Is it the creator’s fault? Often not, as they are looking at a website as a marketing piece where they can push their information out to customers and potential customers.
However, we’re going to suggest a game-changing approach to designing websites. Look at your website like you’d look at social media. Look at it like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Social media is all about conversations, and if you’re utilizing your pages, profiles or whatever social media site you’re on correctly, you’re carrying on conversations with your audience. You’ve figured out what their questions are, what “inside information” they want and what fun posts they enjoy. It’s easy to connect with people when you’ve figured out what they are talking about (or thinking about) already.
Approach designing your website in the same way. What do they want to know? What questions are they asking (have they asked any of your social media sites)? What do they respond to graphically? And how can they find that information easily and logically, without a lot of effort?
Often, it makes sense to have someone (or several people) not familiar with your business take the wheel. Mock up a website with navigation, then have a friend or relative go through it. Ask them: what questions do you have? Did you find the information easily?
Their answers might surprise you. After all, it’s hard to look at something from the outside when you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Take their answers and design the page so it’s functional for anyone visiting your website.
Don’t stop there. Ask your customers as they come in or as you are talking to them on the phone: “have you visited our website?” “What did you think of it?” “Is there anything we could improve?”
Don’t take their answers personally. Their feedback is not a black eye, it’s the opportunity to improve your site, and make it easier to navigate for your valued customers. And when a site is easier to navigate, you get more business.
Evaluating a website is probably one of the most overlooked, or never done parts of website design. Remember, you always have the chance to make your website more functional, user friendly, and ready for potential sales. That’s functionality every customer, and business, can enjoy.