In my January Editor’s Notes column, I spoke about the importance of a good website for your shop. Did you get a chance to look at the websites that were awarded by ASA? I especially like ones that have short videos showing the shop and staff, and highlighting the services they provide.
This year, I want to devote my column to helping you improve your digital marketing. You may say that you don’t need social media and search engine optimization (SEO), but just because you may not like it or understand it, doesn’t mean it’s not essential for your business. So that you’re not overwhelmed and throw in the towel before you give it a chance, we’ll break it down to smaller, easier to digest articles for you.
To get us started, let’s talk about your online presence.
In his article, “Five Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Their Online Presence,” Christopher Ratcliff, editor of Search Engine Watch, says “97% of internet users search for local businesses online, which means that a business cannot afford to ignore local SEO and its potential benefits.” He goes on to explain that “local SEO helps you attract customers who perform searches for a particular location, such as ‘sushi in NYC’” – or in our case “auto repair in Des Moines.” “By optimizing your site for local queries, you are helping customers discover your business and your services. Therefore reaching a new audience that’s interested in the most appropriate search results for the particular area.”
One of his suggestions for boosting your local SEO is verifying your “Google My Business” listing. Once you verify your page you can update your name, address and phone, add the right categories for your business and include a description of your shop. This helps customers find more information about your business, increasing the chances of attracting more visits. Click HERE for easy instructions on how to verify your listing.
Another of Ratcliff’s common mistakes is a website not being accessible for the mobile user. As more people are using their smartphones to connect to businesses, shop owners should pay more attention to mobile optimization and site speed.
You want to ensure that your site is calibrated to whichever device your visitors are using. Research shows that about half of mobile users will abandon your site if it takes more than a few seconds to load. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re likely losing sales.
“As modern users become impatient in a fast-paced world, an accessible website should be a priority for a small business, improving the customer experience and beating the competition on important issues that are frequently ignored, although they still affect conversion,” Ratcliff says.
For interesting advice on customer reviews – both positive and negative – and the rest of Ratcliff’s article, click HERE.
Have you already been doing some of these suggestions for your shop’s site? If not, do you now think it’s something you can tackle? What other issues are you having with connecting your shop to the outside world? At TechShop’s parent company, Babcox Media, we have a staff of highly qualified digital marketing and SEO experts. Send your questions/issues to: [email protected] and I’ll put the Babcox Media resources to work for you. We’ll answer your questions and concerns on this page in upcoming issues.
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