Growing your business online can seem complicated and frustrating. It often seems like you try a lot of things that just don't pan out. To add to the confusion, the internet itself is full of competing ideas about what's important and what works. A lot of the advice is intended to sound complicated so that you hire the smart 'advice-giver' to do the work for you.
This article is intended to provide you with actionable steps you can take on your own to grow your business's online presence. These steps will provide a quick boost to your online presence and how effective that presence is. Will it work miracles? No, but it won't work you into the ground either. They are relatively quick, relatively easy actions that you can implement today. You will see some results quickly, but the long-term payoff is much more lucrative.
#1 - Refine (or write) Your Marketing Message.
I talk about this a lot. Why? Because having the right message is… dare I say Crucial? I do. Your business has a Crucial Message. You need to be repeating it over and over. If not:
You will struggle to talk about what you do in a meaningful way.
You will struggle to get visitors to interact with your website.
You will struggle to convert leads into customers.
If you don’t have a central marketing message at all, you’re essentially playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” with your marketing: throwing out whatever sounds good at the moment hoping to attract a new customer. Take control by going through the Crucial Message process today.
Even if you do have one, going through the Crucial Message process will help you refine your message and make sure that you are speaking it in a way that connects your business with the right people.
Answer the questions in the following steps to create your Crucial Message statement:
How To Write Your Marketing Message
Step One - Answer: Who Wants What?
Define the who and what they want.
Step Two - Answer: What Do They Struggle With?
Define what struggle prevents them from getting what they want.
Step Three - Answer: How Do I Solve That Struggle?
State what product or service you offer and how it solves their struggle.
Step Four - Answer: What Changes In Their Lives?
Describe how your customers’ lives are different after using your product or service.
Step Five - Answer: What Is My Crucial Message?
Write Your Crucial Message Statements using the answers from the first four questions.
You can follow this format, but you shouldn’t feel boxed in by it. As long as you include the key elements.
Crucial Message Format
Who wants what but struggles with what.
I provide what service that solves the struggle and creates what change.
As an example, my Crucial Message Statement is…
"Small business owners want to grow their business online, but they are losing a lot of time and money with ineffective websites & marketing strategies.
I build websites and develop marketing around their crucial message so that they compel their people to buy their products & services allowing the owner to save time and grow their business."
In a longer version, you can include a "Why" statement that explains a just or philosophical reason your business matters.
“No small business should have to struggle with how to connect with their customers online.”
Pro-Tip: If you want help with this, check out our free webinar: The Words To Fix Your Marketing! (Instant Access-No Email Required)
Follow these steps and write your Crucial Message statements and you'll never be at a loss for words when it comes to talking about your business. You will connect with the right customers more easily and your online presence will be stronger because of it.
#2 - Claim Your Google Business Profile.
The next thing you’ll want to do is claim your business listing on Google maps. Formerly known as Google My Business, this listing provides a great boost to your overall online visibility.
If you are a local business that services local customers, this is a MUST. This is your competitive advantage over other companies.
“How is it an advantage if other companies can do this too?” Great question. The thing that separates those who are more successful in anything and those who are less successful in anything is not their ability to do different things; It is their ability to do the same things better and with more consistency. This applies to business and this applies to your Google Business Profile Listing.
Most businesses will claim their listing, fill out some of the information that they ask for during that process, and then call it good. You will set yourself apart by completing your business profile: Entering Basic Information, Adding Additional Details, Uploading Logos & Photos, and Making Sure Your Details Match Up.
Your business listing will attract new customers, drive traffic to your website, and boost your Search Engine ranking.
To put it simply, follow these easy steps and you’ll be happy with the result.
How To Setup Your Google Business Profile
Step One - Go to business.google.com and click the Manage Now button.
Step Two - Claim your business or add your business.
Sometimes your business is already on Google and all you have to do is claim it. The newer your business is, the more likely it is you'll have to add it. Regardless of what you end up doing, it all starts the same: Searching for your business in the space provided on the page.
Step Three - Follow the prompts and include as much information as you can.
Google has published these guidelines for representing your business on Google Maps. I recommend reading through it as you add information so that you don’t get your listing suspended.
Step Four - Verify Your Listing.
Most commonly, Google will require you to enter a code that they will send you via postcard to your business address. This is fairly straightforward. If you don’t receive mail at your location, there are workarounds. These workarounds are much more work and go beyond the scope of this article.
Step Five - Add More Pictures and/or Post An Update.
I recommend uploading a photo of the owner and any employee that a customer might come in contact with as well as photos of your products (or results of your services). Continue to add new pictures and updates regularly.
Step Six - Add Reviews.
Get past customers to leave reviews for you on Google. This tells Google your business is popular and high quality. They will list you higher among other local listings as a result.
Pro-Tip: Respond to all reviews! Good reviews? Say, thank you. Bad reviews? Apologize and offer to make things right, giving them clear steps on how to take advantage of your offer. Make it easy for them. After you make it right, ask them to consider amending their review. Implement these steps and you'll boost your business's online presence, especially in the local market. Most business owners get impatient and never finish the process. Don't let that be you. The result is worth the effort.
#3 - Update Your Website (or Get A Website From Crucial Message)
Updating your website regularly is good for several reasons. To name a few:
You can boost your website's SEO,
Avoid having outdated business info, and
Stay aligned with your marketing message.
Change is constant. Too often a business’s website is the last thing that gets updated when change happens. I get it, you’re busy working on your business. Your website is often the last thing on your mind.
Even if you’re doing a great job keeping your website current, I recommend you check for some key components that can make a difference in what visitors do when they arrive on your site. To make it easy, I wrote out five questions for you to ask yourself about your website. Start by opening up your website, ideally on a desktop/laptop AND your phone so that you get a more complete picture of what your visitors see. Now go through each question.
Ask These Five Questions To Update Your Website
Question One: Without having to scroll down or click anything, would someone who has never heard of you know what your business does?
Would they be able to figure it out quickly? If not, you need to add clear, simple language to your website that states what your business does.
Question Two: Without having to scroll through or click anything, would a website visitor easily understand what you want them to do?
What is the number one action you want a visitor to take? Call for a Quote? Schedule a Consultation? Buy Now? If you don't have a clear call-to-action at the top of your website, add one ASAP.
Pro-Tip: In addition to including it in the header, repeat this call-to-action throughout your page. Make it very obvious what action you want your visitors to take or you are leaving money on the table.
Question Three: On your homepage, would a website visitor understand or learn how to do business with you?
When a visitor scrolls through your homepage, will they learn what it's like (and what steps they need to take) to do business with you? Or is it left a mystery for them to solve as they click your call-to-action, not knowing what comes next? If you aren't lighting a path for your customers then you are asking them to stray into the dark. You are scaring them away from doing business with you. Give them clear steps so that they can confidently move forward with you.
Question Four: Does your homepage speak your story, your history, or your message?
Here are some made-up, but likely accurate statistics: 98% of business owners think their homepage needs to tell their story. 99% of those business owners then go on to tell their history instead of their story. If your homepage isn't speaking your message and instead is trying to tell the story of your business, visitors are going to leave quickly. They don't care (yet). When you speak your message, you connect with your ideal customer and will keep them interested enough to become an actual customer.
Question Five: When looking for information, is it easy for someone who has never heard of you before to navigate your website?
Are the titles in your menu labeled in a way that tells a visitor what information that page contains? Or do your titles contain industry buzzwords and insider language? If it is not extremely easy to navigate your website and find information, your visitors will not put in the effort. They will google what they want to know and find a competitor instead. Make it easy by using appropriate titles that your visitors are familiar with. DO NOT try to be clever or reinvent the wheel.
Keeping your website updated and including the crucial components mentioned above will help boost your online presence and improve your digital marketing efforts. These three steps will work, but only if you act on them.
What step will you take first?
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If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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