By John Moore, SonicSpider, LLC
Small businesses really struggle with getting their services and/or products in front of potential customers. Part of that struggle is that, in our modern fast paced and attention overloaded world, it seems to take more and more to overcome the din and dross of that world and somehow, stand out.
The way around this is to stop chasing and start attracting.. in a sense, by standing under "THEIR" street light!
You do this by being the business your customer wants to find...
Hmm.. that sounds like a cat chasing its tail, funny but not productive. So what do I mean here with this "being the business your customer "wants" to find"?
You start by knowing your customer, then purposely craft what you present (i.e. your website, your brick and mortar site), what you do and how you do, it so that it intersects with that customer, their world, their needs, their desires. Being visible means standing under the same street light that "your" customer is standing under, not under some random street light or shouting from the shadows .
You don't just attract customers, you “intersect” with their world of needs, desires and even their quest for solutions to problems.
It may mean being involved in community projects, or sponsoring events. It may mean creating educational material, videos and slides on your website that help "your" customer. (Google just loves helpful stuff, hint, hint).
Another side affect of this fast paced world is that the web, increasingly via mobile, has become a major tool for most all customers, and you need to have a place under that street light as well.
Because of this, your website becomes a cornerstone of your visibility.
Your website and your web presence is becoming a critical part of controlling and crafting a picture of your business that is…
"...congruent with what our business really stands for and provides its customers or clients. Our best business. Our best selves." (Gina Fiedel)
Know your customer and be standing in “their world” where they can connect, and later easily find you
Often you may find that "your" customer is active in a specific social platform.. be there, engage, and leave bread crumbs back to your website
Is there difference between being visible off and online?
Visibility on the web use to mean TRAFFIC from search engines and more TRAFFIC the better, by any means. It was a numbers game and any way you could game the system (Google, Bing, Yahoo, for example) was great.
Visibility off line had been very similar for many years: being on a busy street, a mall, next to or on the way to a popular venue.
The difference, at this level, was the offline is generally very expensive. Money especially, and some good fortune could make a lot of difference.
But there is another similarity that is often missed. Visibility was only meaningful if someone actually stopped, walked in the door, and then stayed long enough to buy. No matter what or how, conversion is the real metric. That conversion often comes from the connection, the bond and trust a customer feels.
That connection can be fleeting, or lasting, which would you want?
Let's look at this from another angle to make it more in line with how small businesses get started.
Scene on TV commercial: Lady standing behind a counter and a customer comes up and puts down a product to buy. The lady immediately gets excited and say something to the effect of "Wow, my first real customer that is not a friend or neighbor!" …and starts dancing the jig (along with a number of family and friends in the background" Commentator: "Yes you can promote your business on the web by creating a professional website for just one dollar with our easy website builder…"
Aside from the embarrassing jig, what is wrong with this scene?
Small businesses frequently start out by selling their services to friends and family. There is nothing wrong with this, but they ARE your friends, they trust you, they want to help you. The rest of the world does not know you, so you have to work at this quite a bit more. The important part is that it looks very similar to what binds you to your friends.
Therefore the more do things that build that connection, that trust, the more likely they will think of you when their needs intersect with what you do.
To get you moving and thinking in the right direction we have brought together some national and international experts on the topic of “The Website – A Cornerstone of Visibility” in the video above.