Your Website is Your Mainline Promotional Tool
It goes without saying these days that a business needs a web presence as their main line of business marketing and promotion. More and more people search online to find the businesses and services they need. Previous methods of advertising like newspapers and the Yellow Pages have less and less relevance, especially when a person can carry the entire Internet via a PDA in their pocket or purse.
Getting ranked for the relevant search terms is getting more and more competitive too. As the search engines keep evolving their algorithms, it can be pretty overwhelming to know everything you need to stay on top of the search engine results page. There is a lot to know. And who has time when you are trying to run a business?
Roofers need to be roofing to make money. Dress makers need to be making dresses, Landscapers make their money landscaping not optimizing their websites. However overwhelming or distasteful, or just plain frustrating this is, it needs to be done or your customers will not find you. They will be finding your competitors. So you need to learn this stuff yourself and find the time to apply it or find someone who will just do it for you.
Luckily at this point ranking for a local business should still be fairly simple. Just some basic Search Engine Optimization can usually get you on the front page of the search engines. Ranking for good keywords, attention to on-page factors and getting quality back-links should yield decent results. However, these are somewhat time consuming and require some knowledge of the search engines ever-evolving rules. What was important a few years back may not be now. Your website specialist should be knowledgeable to keep you ranking no matter how the search engine algorithms shift.
There is also the question of customer retention. What does a visitor do on your website? Is your page pleasing and easy to navigate? Does it have good useful content that is informative while still containing the relevant keywords. How does it benefit your customers? People will buy from you because they like you and trust you. Once they leave your page, have you lost them forever?
Not necessarily. Not if your website has a simple form that can capture your visitor's contact information. Just give away something valuable for free in exchange for their contact info and you can market to them at will. You can keep them informed of your specials or new products or services. Or you can simply educate them on things they need to know about your business so you can serve them better.
All of this is in the realm of marketing. As a small business owner you need a working knowledge of marketing and the Internet is a Brave New World. Your website is your online brochure and therefore it is the first thing your customer will see about you. A little time and care of it will make a huge difference in the number of customers calling you when they need you and recommending you to their friends.