If people hear about you through word of mouth or spot an ad in Focus or the Advocate – you can bet they are going to Google your business to find out more. What happens next could make or break this potential sale.
In today’s world how you appear online has a big influence on how people view your company. This is true even if you don’t consider yourself an online business.
The great thing about the online world is that you don’t need a big corporate budget to access it. The downside is there are so many things that can trip you.
So we’ve put together a list of the top mistakes we see with small businesses. Don’t get tripped up by any of these online missteps.
An amazing 46% of small businesses still do not have a website. You may think you don’t need a website, but with 81% of shoppers researching online before buying anything, we think it might be time to think again.
Use a social media page instead of a website
It’s tempting to think that a Facebook or Instagram page is enough. The problem is that your business identify is now effectively “owned” by a social media company. Facebook gets to decide what information you do and don’t have on your page,. Worse still Facebook knows who all your contacts are – and you don’t. Yes, social media is important. But it’s not a substitute for your own website.
Website not mobile friendly
Of those small businesses that do have a website, 23% are not mobile friendly. Now here’s the problem: 74% of Australians rely on their phones at least as much as they do their desktops when searching for information – and that number just keeps increasing. If your website is not easy to read in a mobile environment, people will lose interest….and you may lose a sale.
Not promoting your website
Would you spend hard earned money printing company brochures and then keep them locked in your storeroom? Hopefully not! The same logic applies with your website. Once you’ve invested in a website make sure you let people know where to find out about you. Your web address should be on EVERYTHING that you do – your business card, advertising, social media pages, at the bottom of your emails…. you get the picture!
Using a generic email provider as your company email
Nothing screams “small” (maybe fly by night) business more than an email address like email@example.com. These days it is easy and inexpensive to change that to firstname.lastname@example.org – and this one small step speaks volumes about how seriously you take your business.
Wasting time on “free” social media
Our experience, and that of most other businesses, is that the cowboy days of free social media advertising are long gone. Linked In still offers potential to reach a B2B audience without advertising spend, but Facebook “fans” are becoming increasingly impossible to reach without ad dollars. If you are investing a lot of your time or paying someone else to post daily on Facebook then that time and energy would be better directed elsewhere.
Not tracking your results
If you don’t track your results – both online and offline – you have no way to learn from your mistakes and continue to improve. The great thing about the online space is how easy it is to track results. As a minimum you should have Google Analytics set up on your website and review how your web visits are tracking monthly. If you are boosting posts on Facebook or other social media, make sure you are checking out the results.
Obviously we are accountants, coaches and financial advisers – not online marketing specialists. But we do understand the value of a brand and the importance of putting your brand’s best foot forward at all times. Take your own brand seriously and avoid these mistakes.