You’ve Built Your Small Business Website. Now What?
You’ve finally launched your small business website, congratulations! Now that you have a website for your small business it might be tempting to think that the rest will take care of itself, all you need to do is sit back and watch the money roll in. This is only the beginning though. For a website to help you and your small business create some momentum and reach the growth goals you need to utilize your site properly. It’s a basic tool that you’re going to be using on a daily basis to create the foundation of your company, no different than what a hammer is to a carpenter or a trowel to a bricklayer.
So what else goes into your tool belt? What else does a small business owner need to arm themselves with if they want to SMASH their way to the top?
Search Engine Optimization
SEO strategies are an absolute must for anyone looking to leverage the power of the internet and digital marketing strategies. Contrary to what many still believe, SEO is about so much more than keywords and keyword research. Modern SEO strategies also involve content creation, optimization of your small business website for mobile users, backlinking and internal linking, and referral traffic. Further, sites that are well-organized, have an intuitive UI, and offer a user-friendly experience perform better overall – this lends itself to your Google ranking as well. SEO strategies can involve a multitude of different combinations, so you will need to take time and see which strategies suit your growth goals best, which are in line with your brand’s image and objectives, and which work well with the resources you have readily available to you.
SEO is the collective name for organic strategies which boost your ranking and small business website performance. SEM, or search engine marketing, uses paid advertising tactics. This is also referred to as pay-per-click advertising, or PPC for short. It’s similar to SEO as far as the approach and objectives go. The primary difference is that SEM pays for strategies placement of your ads and involves targeted ad campaigns. SEM puts your ads in front of your target audience while SEO attracts them to you. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so determining which to use comes down to a few factors-
- Your budget
- Your market research
- Consumer behaviors of your target audience
If SEM isn’t something that your budget can support right now you can get started with SEO strategies to get some traction, and then dial it up to 11 once PPC becomes a feasible tactic for you to use. It’s possible to use a combination of the two, but you need to be careful not to spread yourself too thin or you won’t see much success. Focus on one and use the other to compliment it.
Content marketing strategies are great for small businesses looking to fortify their brand, establish an identity, create a voice that resonates with their target market, and drive traffic to their site and social media accounts. Blogging is the best place to get started. It ties in perfectly with either SEO or SEM tactics, meaning it’s a feasible option for any industry and budget. Perhaps one of the biggest draws is that it opens up networking opportunities as well. Consistently providing high-quality content increases your odds of developing backlinks, and creating backlinks for other brands is a good way to start conversations that lead to mutually beneficial business relationships.
Blog content can also be repurposed to create content elsewhere. Sharing it to your LinkedIn business page, for example, can help you connect with peers just as backlinking does – but it also puts you on the radar for thought leaders and other heavy hitters in your industry. Blogs can also be used to create other types of content such as interactive content for your social media accounts. If you’re skeptical about that approach, take a page from Buzzfeed’s playbook. Interactive content is how they SMASHed through the competition to create the empire they have today.
While we’re on the subject of backlinks and mutually beneficial business relationships, we need to talk about guest blogging. If you are able to create a guest blog post for another company you’re creating referral traffic and backlinks for your small business website, and the fact that you’re even given the chance to write guest blogs is an endorsement from trusted sources. Reaching out to your peers and asking if they would like to write a guest blog for you is a great way to gauge their opinion of your brand and your content – if they agree to do it, they think you’re someone worth partnering with. It’s a testament to your reputation and image.
Your social media platforms are another place to recycle your success content, keeping your work fresh and engaging. More importantly, social media platforms are spaces to build communities and increase engagement with your customers and prospects. Engagement is the best way to build trust and brand loyalty. Customers want to feel valued and appreciated, so take some time to read and respond to the comments they leave and messages they send. Thank them for the feedback they offer, and assuage any concerns or frustrations that your customers might be feeling. It does more than just make you look good as a brand – people are literally telling you what they want to see from your small business. You can only benefit from listening to what they have to say.
Prepare for Growth
It might happen after a few weeks, it might take a few months, but once that growth finally happens you need to be ready for it. Can you keep up with the influx of orders? Do you have time to read every email that you receive? Take time to put together a system that will help you stay organized and on top of everything. If you’re able to hire a personal or executive assistant to handle some of the new tasks coming your way, definitely give it a whirl. It will alleviate the headache before it begins and helps you free up time to focus on what matters most, running your business.
Maintain Your Growth
The only way to keep it going is to know what triggered it in the first place. Have your KPIs established early on so you know how to measure your success, and have context for what to tweak when something isn’t working out. Make sure to give your strategies enough time to take root and flourish – some people throw in the towel if they don’t see results within a week. Never assume something isn’t working until you have the numbers to back that up.
This is especially important for small businesses with big dreams of opening multiple locations or growing into a large corporation. Patience is paramount when you’re trying to expand your small business. Once you find the secret recipe for success, you’ll be well on your way to SMASHing all expectations.