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Convert customers online with a digital strategy

There’s no mistaking the importance of digital strategy in 2017. From a well-designed website through to social media and online advertising, if you’re not thinking about it, you’re throwing money away – whatever industry you’re in.

Over 80 per cent of B2B and B2C customers use the web to help them make buying decisions, but only 50 per cent of small businesses even have a website, let alone social media or other digital assets. Of those that do, in my experience nearly all of them are not working for the business as well as they should.

For most businesses, and perhaps yourself, the problem is that there’s no time to learn and stay on top of the skills required to be fully effective online. So, what to do?

The one simple change that changed my business for good

When I left the corporate world eight years ago, I left Sydney to start my own small business and live a more balanced life. I opened for business as a freelance copywriter – this was my chosen craft as it was what I enjoyed most in my various marketing roles. I built a website and waited for the customers to call. Crickets.

It seemed there were an awful lot of copywriters out there with better websites than me. The customers I did get all wanted SEO-focused copywriting, so I changed tack and made SEO my thing. A new website later and… more crickets. So, now it was time for some strategy.

I made one simple change and I have had more enquiries than I know what to do with ever since. What was the change? I focused on a small niche. Rather than making my website all about SEO, I made it about Website Optimisation. By ranking at the top of that niche (much easier than ranking at the top of searches for SEO), I get all the traffic and enquiries I need.
 

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Bing Places for Businesses allows you to advertise your products and services online.

My top 5 tips for nailing your digital strategy and improving your online presence

  1. Know your customer. You probably already do, but do you know what social media channels they use, and what they type into Google when searching for the products or services you sell?
  1. Do some research. Keyword Tool is a great, easy to use website that lets you see exactly what people are typing into Google, how often, and how competitive those terms are in search results. This info lets you tweak your website’s pages and analyse search trends to target the search terms that get lots of searches but are not overly competitive.
  1. Get a Google+ Business Page and a Bing Places page. Google+ and Bing Places are free and help you stand out in search results, especially if you’re a local business.
  1. Think about your product or service. If it’s the sort of thing that has a long consideration period prior to purchase, a key part of your digital strategy would be lead generation. If it’s more of a quick purchase decision, reaching people at the time they’re ready to buy via Google search or AdWords would be a key strategy.
  1. Don’t hesitate to get professional help. Either on Real Time Minds or by working with an SEO consultant or digital marketing agency with experience in your sector.

Digital marketing is a specialist area but there are a lot of things any small business owner or marketer can do to improve their online presence. These five tips are a great start, but the key thing is to get started, as more and more small businesses are switching on to the many opportunities that await online.

Excerpt reproduced with permission from Real Time Minds

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Steve Krinks

Steve Krinks from Real Time Minds helps small businesses find, engage and convert customers online using best-practice digital marketing techniques. From SEO to Social Media, he's your go-to guy for building your business online.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.