Start the New Year on the right foot with this quick online snapshot of your business. Even if you do not get most of your customers through online channels, you can be sure that they all at least check you out there.
1. Private Browsing. Since you always look at your business pages and profiles from your computer, it makes sense to do this entire process by browsing anonymously. Go to the menu of your favorite browser and choose the appropriate window: Internet Explorer (InPrivate browsing); Chrome (Incognito window); Firefox (Private window); Safari (Private window).
2. Call to Action. Now, visit your website.
- What’s the first thing that jumps out at you? Is it your main call to action - whether that is signing up for your email list, filling out a form, or calling you?
- if it is a form, then go ahead and fill it out. Read the Thank You page. Review the email you receive or welcome email if you are joining a list. Is everything accurate and up to date? Did everything go smoothly? Did you, as the site owner, receive the completed form or was your email added to your list? In short, did it work?
- if it is to call you, then go ahead and double check your voice mail message. Is it conveying the information a caller would need or do you still have that vacation message turned on?
3. Social Media links. Check your social media links on your site. It seems like an obvious thing, but more often than not, when I look at a potential client’s website, there is at least one social media link that is incorrect.
- are you only linking to the social media sites where you are active? Please do. If your web developer set up a Twitter account that you have never used, then you need to get that link off your website. You are sending potential customers off your site.
- are those social media profiles complete? If not, then go ahead and make an appointment in your calendar to update each one of them in the next week or so. Also, make sure that your social media handles are consistent across all sites.
- is that all important call to action prominent on these sites? Is it obvious to a visitor?
4. Mobile-friendly. Now open your website on your mobile phone. Does it look good? Is the call to action prominent and easy to complete? Think about your audience. What are they looking for if they are searching you from their mobile phone? It is likely that your phone number and address should be prominent. If you are not a retail location, maybe your contact form should pop up instead of your address.
If you are considering a mobile app for your business, please read To App or Not To App first.
5. Sharability. Back to your website, is your content sharable? This is, I think, the most overlooked use of social media - letting your audience share your content to their networks. It not only spreads your name and content, but it gives you an eye into what social networks your audience prefers.
6. 404 Error page. Enter a page on your site that doesn’t exist to see what your error page looks like. This is a huge opportunity to catch visitors who may have followed an old link from a search engine or just mistyped a link. Present a call to action and send them back to your home page.
7. Search yourself. This item is last on the list, because it can lead you down the rabbit hole of the Internet. So I would first set a timer, maybe 15 minutes, then search yourself. Start with Google, but don’t forget Bing, Yahoo!, and the other top search engines.
- Search the three key terms you think a potential customer would use to find you. Often this is a combination of “service” + “location” for example, “auto service reston”
- If you are a solopreneur or have a well-known owner, search that name as well.
- Lastly, search your company name. You should come up first.
If you don’t find your business, then it’s time to schedule some time on your calendar to find out why.
I hope by doing the research and maintenance of this quick online marketing audit, you have now set up your online presence to give you your best year ever!
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Great post Laura! I especially love #6: 404 error pages. Insightful, yet simple advice that every savvy small business owner should implement right away. Thank you for sharing!
These basic tips are right on point, focused, and will surely deliver the user the impact they are looking for. I agree with you that completed profiles are important, and so is the use of Social sites if they are linked to the website. Many folks grab their brand name to ensure that they get it but they fail to actually use it.
Great article....I'll read more if you write more!!!