As the new year rolls in and you jump into your 2017 business goals, it may be time to earnestly re-evaluate your current web presence, where it’s taken you, and where it could take you in the coming year.
50% of small businesses don’t even have a website. Their excuses range from, “It’s too complicated,” to, “I don’t want to grow my business.” However, by moving some of your business’s solutions online you can reduce more than 5% of your operational costs, which could turn into 50% of your company’s net profit!
According to Business 2 Community, by 2020 B2B online sales are forecasted to increase by 44.8%. In contrast, by 2018 B2C e-commerce will only account for 8% of all retail sales. While B2C is generally ahead of the digital curve, it appears that the transition online for B2B companies will be much faster and reap major rewards. Given this forecasted trend, it should be at the top of your business goals this year to maximize your online efforts.
We know it’s been a crazy year and you may have lost sight of a few things in the blur of the holidays, but we want to help you refocus and regain control of your business’s influence online.
But first, here’s a recap on why this is so important for your business.
- Build credibility with your target audience– Feel like your business is floundering in a sea of bigger brands and industry names? Establish your brand, reputation, and identity online, and you will be taken seriously. While reaching as many people as possible might seem like the most logical strategy, when developing the content and design of your website consider your target audience and make sure you’re addressing them.
- Be there when your audience is searching for you. Hello, is anybody out there? Trust us, there are millions of people online right now, and it’ll be much harder for them to discover you if your website isn’t managed from an SEO point of view. If you aren’t already registered on Google My Business, this should be your first step. By registering, your business will appear on this vital search engine and on Google Maps when people are trying to locate your business. Making sure your content contains keywords that are relevant to your target customer is another way to ensure you’re found online.
- Develop great customer service– In an interview with over 75,000 people, Harvard Business Review debunked a common myth about customer service. They found that “delighting” customers doesn’t necessarily build loyalty. In fact, what most customers are looking for is not to be delighted, but to have their problems solved, seamlessly. By connecting with customers after hours, and increasing your communication with them, they will become loyal to your ability to solve their problems at any hour and with ease. In addition to this, it’s no secret that customers, both satisfied and dissatisfied, are going to the internet express their feelings about a business. “If the customer expresses a positive experience, the review can be amplified on the web and social media to encourage others. But when the experience is negative, companies need to respond quickly,” says Khusbu Shrestha of Vendasta. The reality is that not every review may be 5 star, but 68% of customers actually trust companies more when they see a mixture of reviews and responses to those negative ones.
So now let’s talk about how to improve your website.
For most of our dealers, e-commerce is not a current option, as the equipment and trucking industries don’t lend themselves to quick, simple purchases. However, there are many changes you can make now to update your website and increase its impact. We’ve listed the top improvements to redirect your business towards gaining exposure and engagement in your industry!
- Make sure your contact information is present and accurate. This first suggestion may seem obvious, but has proven a problem for some. When asked, B2B buyers overwhelmingly pointed to thorough contact information as the number one item that is lacking, yet imperative, for them to engage with businesses on their website. In fact, 44% said they would potentially leave a website if this information was cryptic or just not there.
- Increase the number of testimonials on your website. Studies have proven that testimonials go a long way with consumers, whether B2B or B2C, because since the dawn of Yelp people have prioritized helping others find great businesses and avoid the bad ones. If you don’t want to dedicate an entire page to testimonials, another option might be to incorporate singular or rotating speech bubbles somewhere on your homepage with blurbs from customers.
- Answer their questions with an FAQs page. It should come as no surprise that when customers search for your page, they are probably trying to find answers to their questions. What better way to convince them to do business with you then to answer their common concerns all in one place. This shows you are thinking ahead of your customer, and trying to make their purchase path easier.
- Incorporate live chat onto your website. As already addressed, communication with your customer is extremely important and should be incorporated as often as possible. With a larger team, live chat might be a great option for your business so you are available to answer questions in real time. Even in their downtime, employees in store could be helping customers online at the click of a button. And it reaps some great benefits. In fact, live chat increases the likelihood of a purchase by 31%, as surveyed by Adobe Digital Index.
Now that you know how you can improve your web presence, it’s time to commit to it. We understand you may come across a few roadblocks, so we want to address those as well.
Don’t think it’s in the budget? Resolve to speak up to your boss about these facts: reducing churn, increasing profits, and reducing costs by improving your website.
Time getting away from you? Resolve to set 30 minutes a week to responding to customer reviews online.
Repeat after me…
We will set a time to review our website as a team in 2017.
We will schedule time in our week to respond to customer reviews, both positive and negative, in 2017.
We will consider a redesign in 2017, as our business grows and our brand becomes stronger.
For more information on improving your website, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re here to help!