If there’s anything COVID-19 taught us, it was to expect the unexpected.
What does a business owner do when one of their familiar marketing channels is cut off without warning? As a business owner, what do you do when you’re forced to communicate primarily online for the foreseeable future? Forgoing in-person networking, trade shows, and speaking events doesn’t mean that business stops. But it’s a very good thing that adaptation is not a foreign concept to entrepreneurs.
Operating a business during a pandemic has definitely changed the playing field, causing those without a strong online presence to fight twice as hard to stay visible as those with even the most basic website. Yes, the road to a more user-friendly digital business world was certainly expanding pre-pandemic; however, 2020 put that urgency of an online presence into overdrive. Now more than ever, businesses are claiming their virtual territory and reaching a vastly bigger audience as quickly as they can.
In the tech world, where many entrepreneurs are focused on protecting other businesses from being hacked or compromised, there is the temptation to work “in” their businesses rather than “on” them – and external marketing efforts often get back-burnered.
One of the ways in which entrepreneurs can work more “on” their businesses is to be certain that their own websites and their digital marketing networks are working at full capacity for them.
Why? It’s worth remembering that there are roughly 5.6 billion searches a day on Google. With an estimated 46% of those searches locally focused according to HubSpot, a business can miss out on local leads if the company website is not properly positioned to show the community you are open for business! Be certain that your website can be found online in search engines like Google and Bing.
Yelp data shows 60% of business closures due to COVID are now permanent. If your business survived 2020, you deserve to share it with the world! You only a few seconds to make a first impression online, by not having a website that can be easily found, your customers will be lead to believe you didn’t survive and might even consider giving your competitors a call.
It’s fair to say, social media platforms were in the winners column in 2020. With all of the Facebook community groups, posts for online recommendations for local businesses were sky high. These can range from general contractors to IT professionals. Facebook tagging allows consumers in a way to easily “shop” online, perusing each company’s website at their leisure, similar to a new version of “word of mouth marketing.”
What should you, as a provider of IT or technical services, remember as you look to put your best digital foot forward in the marketing arena?
- Be sure that your website is discoverable.
- Your chances of that happening are greatly enhanced if you add content to your website on a regular basis. Include an “in the news” button. Write a blog each week and post it to your website. Include a link to your website in any external communications – newsletters, press releases, and more.
- Be sure that your content contains the critical keywords that describe what you do.
- Check out Google My Business. Be sure to claim the site – and ask your colleagues and customers to write reviews for your business.
There are options for paid Google ads and other ways to boost your online presence as well. But if you even start with the “free” ways, such as upgrading your website, posting relevant content and being certain to have your business listed on Google, your SEO should improve and you can evaluate the need for some paid online promotions as well.
Bringing your business online should be an exciting experience, a website is the one place to tell your story in your voice without the annoying pop ups or potential competitor banner ads. I guarantee someone is searching for your product or service right now. Give them an easier roadmap to your business in 2021 with a website that fits your brand.
Kate Stallings is principal of Kate Creative Media, a Greater Boston web marketing company that specializes in building tailored websites and marketing strategies for startups and seasoned business owners.