Businesses that rest are businesses that fail, which means that businesses that want to succeed are proverbially always tired. Why? Because they’re constantly looking for ways through which to increase leads and convert (and retain) more customers.
With 240 million Internet users in the United States - who collectively generate 16 billion searches each month - it goes without saying that businesses stand to benefit substantially by mastering their online presence. Malachi Threadgill, director of Internet marketing at ANPI, spoke today at ITEXPO (News - Alert) Las Vegas 2013 about what businesses can do to make sure they’re getting the most out of their online strategies.
Today, 85 percent of customers believe that businesses that show up toward the top of search results are the best businesses in their respective fields, Threadgill said. And 58 percent of customers begin the buying process online. Those numbers alone show the emphasis that businesses should place on their virtual presences.
Threadgill said businesses define their target keywords and search for them to see what shows up. The next step that should be taken is identifying their target market. To do this, companies should discover where 80 percent of their business comes from, where the rest of the business comes from and if there are any areas for rapid growth. Afterwards, the keywords should be refined even more.
“Your keyword list is never final,” he said. “You’re always going to be changing it [and] refining it.”
Location can play an important role in determining keywords, too. For example, a customer might be looking for a SIP trunking provider in Dallas. Rather than choosing a keyword like “SIP trunking provider” to optimize, a better choice would be “SIP trunking provider Dallas, TX,” keeping in mind the customer might Google (News - Alert): “Who is the best SIP trunking provider in Dallas.”
But business should always remember that the most important thing is content. After all—you’ve heard the phrase before—content is king. But think about your customers. They don’t want to read any old content. They want to read good content. They want to read exceptional content.
Businesses can create news pages, product pages and promotions pages to store their content on, and they can also create social media presences through which they can promote their content. Businesses can also post content to a blog, but it’s important to keep in mind that blog should be updated regularly.
“The only thing worse than not having a blog is having a blog and not updating it on a regular basis,” Threadgill said.
Decision makers should also consider their website’s usability and ensure that the layout is appealing and accessible. Additionally, there should be clear messaging that passes “the blur test”—by blurring your eyes and looking at the screen, you won’t be able to read your content, but you’ll be able to tell if it’s displayed properly or is too condensed.
Cross-browser functionality—making sure pages appear the same on Chrome as they do on Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer—is also something to keep in mind.
“My Web guy spends countless hours to make sure IE looks the same as Chrome,” Threadgill said.
Google is the world’s number one search engine. YouTube (News - Alert) is the world’s second largest. Threadgill said video is very important to attracting customers as well. If you’re selling SIP trunking, for example, why not make a video of someone writing on a whiteboard explaining what SIP trunking is? That way, a potential customer searching for “What is SIP trunking?” on YouTube could find your video and learn more about your company.
Threadgill said that because of the popularity of mobile phones, the concept of “above the fold” is dead. Pages are becoming increasingly longer, as people just scroll down their mobile phones or tablets.
“I really recommend getting it out of your head that all your content has to be above the fold,” he said.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo