The ultimate short guide to marketing your business
Your site is your digital storefront, your business card, your booking engine, and much more. Make sure it works.
This has implications from both an SEO (search engine optimization) and user experience perspective. For a few years now, Google has encouraged website owners to make sure that their sites worked well on mobile – going so far as to filter out non-responsive sites on mobile searches. Starting in 2018, Google is now prioritizing mobile-friendly websites even if the user is searching on a desktop. This has made it imperative for business owners to have a responsive site.
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A well planned out site can be the difference between acquiring a customer and losing one. There are many ways to optimize your site using user data and analytics (see the CRO section) but the most simple way is to ask for honest feedback from friends and family. If it makes sense to them, there is a good chance it will make sense to your customers.
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The code that search engines see.
Keyword research covers a broad range of topics and techniques. For example, you’ll want to consider where in the sales funnel each term falls – “dentist near me” is more likely to lead to a booking than “teeth whitening guide”, but they both have value in the search strategy. You will also want to consider the difficulty and specificity of a keyword – “dentist” will be difficult to rank for and will probably not lead to business, while “dentist in Brooklyn NY” will be easier to rank for and is more likely to get leads.
You should also employ synonyms of your keywords. Search engines understand that if a page talks about dentists, cavities, root canals, brushing etc. it is probably a page about dentists and will allow you to rank for the corresponding keywords.
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Advanced things to do once you have everything else ticking along
Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate Optimization has gotten a bit of a bad reputation because people wrongly assume that it is just people changing the color of buttons. In fact, you can change almost every element of a webpage to try to make your site as effective as possible at converting visitors into customers. It may be as simple as changing the image at the top of the page or the location of a contact form to redesigning whole elements of a page.
The most important rule is that all changes should be based on evidence – only change one thing at a time. At ThinkHead Design we make extensive use of heatmaps and multivariate testing to ensure that any changes we make are evidence-based.
Once you install the small bit of code on your site, Analytics will start to record information about the pages visited, the amount of time spent on each page, whether or not the visitor “converted” (i.e. sent an email or made a purchase) and much more.
Analytics integrates with other tools such as Google Search Console to form an extremely powerful (and free) way to analyze the performance of your site.
At ThinkHead Design, all of our sites come with analytics pre-installed so you don’t miss any data.
The traditional way is to just type the keyword into google and scroll through the pages until your website shows up. There are a couple of things to bear in mind when manually checking rankings. Firstly, Google presumes that you will want to look at a result you have clicked on before. That means that your website is likely to show up higher than it would for someone who performed the search for the first time. Secondly, Google presents results based on location. Someone in the adjacent zip code may get totally different results to you.
To get around these limitations, have people in different areas look up the keywords on different computers – make sure you use incognito mode to stop Google manipulating your results.
If that sounds like too much work, you could contact a company like ThinkHead Design who will send you a nicely presented PDF report every month with your keyword progress clearly displayed.
Blogs serve a few purposes on a website. If they are good (readable blogs are always better than boring ones) then they provide a constant source of shareable content that potential customers can link to on their Facebook or Pinterest pages. They also serve as a place where you can go into greater detail about a specific area in the industry and attract users who search for longer tail keywords (lower volume but more specific).
They also keep the website fresh in the eyes of search engines. A website that hasn’t been updated since 2010 is less likely to rank as well as one that is regularly added to.
Blogs shouldn’t be aimless. If you are prepared to invest the time into writing a blog, make sure you post regularly and plan your topics ahead of time, based on a content calendar that targets keywords.
A heatmap is basically an overview of where people hovered their mouse cursors, where they clicked, when they scrolled, what pages they visited, and much more. There may be something on your page that is confusing to visitors. With analytics, you may be aware that visitors are bouncing but you may not know why. With heatmaps, you are much more likely to pinpoint the reason.
Heatmaps can also tell you important information about how engaged your audience is. The information you learn may lead you to move an important message higher on the page if users do not scroll down very far or a heatmap may encourage you to reduce the length of a form based on the abandonment rate.
Heatmap providers (such as Hotjar) have a free tier that is usually adequate for the amount of visitors a small business gets. The options for larger businesses are still very affordable.
Visitor Tracking and Marketing Automization
An example of the value of visitor tracking would be that you may know that a site visitor works for a specific company based on their IP address, has visited specific pages, downloaded a whitepaper and subscribed to your email list before they even pick up the phone to call you. These are immensely powerful tools to have access to before a sales call.
Marketing automation is a fancy way of saying automated and targeted emails. You may have found that sending the same email to potential and past customer leads to a very low open rate. Marketing automation sends different emails to different customers based on where they are in the buying cycle and the kinds of service they are likely to buy.
Marketing Automation and Visitor tracking can be a powerful combination when they are used together.
These are things that would take far too long to talk about here.
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