The number of people researching businesses online before they visit is increasing. Smartphones have replaced phone books and potential customers expect easy access to hours of operation and the ability to plug in driving directions.
To provide adequate customer service before the customer even steps foot in your door, there are a few standard website basics that must be included on every small business website.
A company website should be clean and up to date, both in terms of content and design. Hours of operation should be listed and easy to find. The current year’s copyright date should be included in the footer. Images should be engaging, in focus, and not look dated.
Each website page should include the business’ contact information to increase SEO. This includes business name, full address, phone with area code, email address and logo. Contact information should be listed in text, not placed as an image in the header. Search engines cannot read text in an image.
The website’s navigation should be intuitive and include social media links in the header or footer. Content and links should be verified regularly and dead links should be removed as they indicate that the business information may not be accurate.
Most importantly, all business websites need to be responsive on mobile devices. If a potential customer does not have an easy, user-friendly experience visiting a business website, there’s a good chance they will not visit in person. The font should be large enough on mobile and desktop.
In addition to a website, business listings on Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor should be claimed and updated.
Many businesses utilize social media in addition to their website. Facebook is still the powerhouse for nearly all businesses, with Instagram and Twitter following, depending on the nature of the business. Some businesses also use Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Flickr.
A business should look at their target market before joining a social media platform. If the target market is not using one platform, it might be worth the effort to update that platform with business content.
Facebook pages should be updated 2-3 times each week. Some businesses like to update theirs daily. We recommend not updating your page more than once per day unless it’s being used to communicate emergency information.
The page should have a decent number of fans in order to make the time spent updating the page worthwhile. An ad buy may be needed to advertise the page to current and potential customers on Facebook. Signs should be placed in the business (on the door or by the cash register) to let customers know they can follow the business on Facebook.
Each business Facebook page should include a square profile image of the business logo, larger cover image, full contact information, and hours of operation. If staff uses Facebook regularly, Facebook Messaging should be turned on so that customers can contact the business directly through Facebook.
Instagram & Twitter
Both of these networks should be updated more regularly than Facebook. Instagram posts should be engaging images and utilize appropriate hashtags. Twitter content should be original, with appropriate hashtags, and not be linked to Facebook posts.
To build followers on Instagram and Twitter, it may be necessary to search for and follow potential customers based on interests, locations, or hashtags. Promoting the network inside the business will help current customers connect online.
Our Digital Assessments
Cygnet Strategies has worked with dozens of communities and small businesses in assessing digital marketing efforts. We offer Digital Marketing Assessment packages for individual businesses as well as communities. Contact us to see how we can help your business with digital marketing.