You have probably seen a small business that impressed you for doing well despite its location. We have all also seen businesses open and thought to ourselves, "I hope they make it, but that building is cursed." In some industries, location is everything. Though your location on the internet is not necessarily important, the principle remains, you want your small business to be visible to your potential clients.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are notorious do-it-yourselfers. Without the backing of major corporations, we need be able to create things and handle our own issues. However, there are some tasks to which we need to trust professionals.
We are reaching the end of 2016, and in the haze of that butter-baked goods coma it is a good time to set goals for your business in 2017. What are some things you want for your business in the upcoming year? More sales leads? More conversions from potential customer to paying customer? A stronger relationship with existing customers? A better handle on your business reputation and brand?
If the sugar crash has already hit and you’re looking for a pre-packaged set of resolutions wrapped up with a bow, keep reading.
I WILL IMPROVE MY DIGITAL PRESENCE.
Digital presence is another way of saying online presence, which focuses primarily on your business website. If your business does not have a website, the first thing you should immediately do in 2017 is to get a website. Like all good marketing, you get what you pay for when it comes to business websites. It is important to budget funds toward creating and maintaining your online presence so your business can hire a professional to develop the best website for your specific business needs.
Sure, you can Groupon your way through a web design course or you can build a website using one of the many DIY solutions out there (like Wix.com). You could even hire the kid next door to slap together a site for you in exchange for some pizza. In the end, what you invest in your website is going to show to your customers, either in user experience, design or in reliability.
Staying up to date on the latest design trends is also important. Take it from The Balance, “If it’s been more than two years since your site has been updated, if you haven’t done anything to make your web presence mobile-friendly or if digital isn’t a component of your marketing plan,” then it is time to address your online marketing plan. This doesn't mean you have to pay a developer to redo your website every two years, but when you partner with an industry leader -- like Cube Creative -- you can rest assured that when it is time for a refresh you'll save time and money giving your site the finishing touches that will keep it in line with what users expect from their online experience.
Budgeting for the future is a great way to ensure your business stays relevant in a changing online environment. While it isn’t necessary to keep up with every web design trend, it is a good idea to budget for future maintenance.
Is the site going to grow with your business or are you expected to rebuild and redesign in order to grow? What happens if I decide I want to add a blog or social media? Getting answers to potential additions in the future will help you gauge how flexible and attentive the web developer will be to your growing needs.
Your website is like a 24/7 sales representative. Do you send out reps on sales calls wearing the latest fashions from 1999? Nope. Well, let’s all hope not. Your website is often the first impression potential customers have with your business, and it is important that it feels reputable, organized and easy to use. As mobile device usage continues to grow, that means it is important that your site look good and function well on cell phones and tablets.
Google announced in February 2015 that it is changing the way it ranks websites in search results. Because more people are Googling on their mobile devices, Google wants to make search results more relevant for those users. As of April 21, 2015, Google’s search algorithms will focus more on sites that are mobile-friendly.
I WILL BE MORE SOCIAL.
Social media is not just the thing all your teenage nieces and nephews seemed buried in during Christmas dinner. Social media is a great way to connect directly with potential and current customers. Read up on getting started with social media here then read up on social media for rookies here.
Not only are businesses increasingly reaching customers through their social media posts, but social media advertising is also on the rise. Sponsored posts can target specific demographics, and, according to Forbes, often include videos as well.
You’ve got a brand, right? Sure you do! If you own a business, you have a brand – and a reputation – whether you intended to or not. Traditional business relies heavily on reputation: customer reviews, word-of-mouth advertising, Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce ratings. So if I’ve got my hands full managing my business reputation, why should I put thought into my online reputation? Much like SEO, your online reputation can drive sales and traffic to your business.
As endless as the platforms may seem, there is a good middle ground to successfully market your small business online. You just have to view social media platforms as what they are: a marketing tool to reach out to potential and current customers and bring them to your business.
It has become quite clear that social media are a viable marketing platform for business. As we discussed earlier, social media shouldn’t take the place of a well-designed website. However social media can be a great way to interact with customers and build brand loyalty.
I WILL INVEST IN INBOUND MARKETING.
Also referred to as search engine optimization (or SEO), inbound marketing is the active strategy of positioning your online content in such a way that you are exposed to new potential customers.
Basically, inbound marketing helps you hone your target audience and develop a plan to expose your business to that target audience. This plan could include website content, email marketing, social media marketing or a combination of media. It also includes tracking what works and adjusting the plan as needed.
If this all sounds like more hot air than Uncle Joey’s post-ham rant about Canada’s healthcare system, Cube Creative can set up a plan and execute it all for you. We even report back with data gathered to show how our strategies have worked for your business.
Not all sites need the same level of content to thrive. When thinking of your audience, think of whether they would be the type of person to browse a blog or connect with Facebook. Consider how much time and energy you want to invest in your website content.
I WILL GET STARTED.
With goals set as 2017 rolls in, you’ll position your business for growth and success. Let Cube Creative help you meet those goals. With website redesign packages and inbound marketing plans, Cube Creative is ready to get 2017 started strong. As we all know, failure to plan is planning to fail!
So your church has a website, but it isn’t really getting rears in the pews. Or maybe you don’t have a site at all and know that you’re missing out on a critical outreach opportunity. Online outreach isn't something to be overlooked. It can be a great tool to serve your current members, encourage church seekers to explore further and help bring the Gospel to those who may not have heard it.
Here are 5 steps to building (and cultivating) your church’s online presence:
Design trends come and go. While some trends we can happily salute as they leave (anyone remember the "Rachel" hairstyle?), some trends bring great visual interest. This is especially true for businesses, where design trends can help set businesses apart. The following slides were presented at the PRIMA NC conference held at A-B Technical Community College in Asheville, NC.