In a world of mobile phones, tablets, virtual and augmented reality and other technological advances, small businesses have more options than ever to advertise themselves and reach out to people.
The amount of choice can be confusing, though. What are people keeping up with and where are their eyes currently? Are they on Instagram or Snapchat now, and does your campaign need to be futureproofed for when the next new app comes along?
It’s understandable, but a way of thinking that shouldn’t be at the forefront of your mind. Rather, you need to keep simplistic at all times to make sure that both you and your customers are able to understand simplistic messages and make your products and services easy to understand.
With that in mind, it’s essential to highlight how and why a website is more important than ever for small businesses.
Why not build a website myself?
You can, and there are numerous ways to build the most basic website through services like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress.
That completely misses the point of having a website, though. Having a website is incredibly important, but like many other things in life it’s what you do with it that counts.
For its affordable solutions, for instance, there are a lot of questions surrounding Wix and its suitability for search engine optimisation.
Wix to its credit has a section on its website about SEO, but the tips don’t really amount to anything unless you put the time and effort into search staples such as link building, social marketing and more.
Plus, if you do it yourself, then you’re beginning a journey down a deep rabbit hole that will take more of your time and budget than you’re potentially letting yourself in for.
It’s easy to build a website using the above, but that just isn’t marketing. It’s essential to build it with the right strategy in mind to attract the right people and turn them into long-term customers that will come back and shop with you into the future.
Why not an app?
It’s interesting to see how many people think an app will solve all of their worries, but if anything it can lead to more and more confusion in your overall marketing process.
Apps are expensive pieces of kit, and the majority of the time need to be marketed through the Apple Store and Google Play as you would a traditional website on a search engine.
Unless your app can offers something incredible to customers that your website simply cannot, then what’s the point in spending thousands on something that may not be downloaded and adds little to your overall message?
A well-built mobile responsive website can instead combat those problems for much less of your budget. Keep in mind that, according to Smart Insights, only 26% of consumers start their mobile research with a branded app. Customers still treat a search engine as the most important tool when researching products and services.
Why a website is critical to your online marketing strategy
Put simply, a website is the most critical part of your online marketing strategy because it can be moulded much easier than an app, attract and direct traffic to specific pages, create a narrative, collect data and much more besides.
The most important aspect to consider though is audience research. Target your personas, talk to regular customers and get a good idea of your market and who you want to reach. Once you visualise that, you can take them on a journey through your website, introduce them to your sales funnel and convert sales.
Targeting the right people
It’s easy to generate targeted traffic once you know how. The hard work comes in researching those people, discovering their likes and dislikes, where they spend their time online and – crucially – where your budget should go to reach out to them:
1: How to attract people looking for your products
People use a search engine with the specific intent to discover an answer to a question or find something that they’re looking for. By profiling the right people, putting some budget into paid search can attract those people to specific parts of your website that encourage them to start a journey with your brand as well as helping them find what they’re looking for as soon as possible.
By putting some budget into PPC you can instantly target people on a local or national level with different criteria for certain keywords, while an organic search campaign looks to get you ranking as highly as possible naturally for those search terms.
2: Attracting people based on gender, income and more
Putting budget into social media targeting options can offer people a different narrative to your business and attract them to different pages to entice them. Facebook and Instagram’s targeting tools are incredibly deep, and allow you to push a creative advert to the people you wish to target in an incredibly specific manner.
Other platforms are catching up. Twitter can target people based on their postcode while targeting people on Pinterest can get you in front of its supposed 90% female audience in a creative, visual way.
3: Segmenting and automating those customers
Perfect those techniques and market in an organic inbound way and it can begin to be optimised. The right software will create process to target your audience and direct them to the pages on your website that matter most, cultivate new leads and dismiss dead ones, allowing you to fully automate your marketing and give you more time to concentrate on your business.
All of these techniques and more cannot be found through an app and give better results than a simple Facebook page. Is your website working for you?
If you’d like to learn more about advertising yourself online, or if you need a brand new website and search management service, contact the Webpresence team today to find out more.