Katrina Choy is on the Google London B2B team, which aims to provide B2B and key digital insights to help companies get the most out of the web. You can find out more great advice from the team through their Twitter account at @b2buk.
1) Maximize potential from the get-go, establish your online presence
Increase the visibility of your business by mapping out your digital presence. Having a website connects you with thousands potential customers who may need your product/services. 97% of consumers search for local businesses online and companies with a high online presence grow 3x faster than companies that don’t. (Source: BCG)
Tips for success
• Build pages that are easy and simple to navigate.
• Benchmark sites you like and try to incorporate the best elements of each on your site.
• Brainstorm ways to show your customers what you do well offline, on your website. Be creative.
Don’t have a website? Get started with the Get British Business Online site and have a website up and running in 15 minutes.
Have a website but don’t know if your customers can find it? You can use Google’s Webmasters Tool to health check your website, understand how users are finding your site, and make optimization to increase the visibility of your website.
Not ready to have a website yet? You can use other tools to map your digital presence such as Places for Business or a Google Plus page. If your business has a physical location, Places for Business is a business listing that allows your business to show up on Google Search and Maps for free. Upgrade to a local Google Plus Page to help you connect you with your customers, understand their feedback and respond to reviews, as well as to share news and updates with them.
2) Make your site mobile-friendly
By 2016, it is expected that more people will access the web via a mobile phone rather than on a computer globally. The UK is spearheading this change in platform consumption with 8m people accessing the internet with their mobile phones every day and it is expected that by the end of 2013, 75% of the population will be using smartphones. For businesses, it is therefore paramount that your site is mobile-friendly and that you are giving your potential customers the best possible mobile browsing experience. Research has shown that 40% customers have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience and almost ⅔ have stated that their impression of a brand was negatively affected by a poor mobile experience. Get started with the howtogomo site where you can test how your current site looks, get a free report with personalised recommendations tailored to your business on how to build a more mobile-friendly experience.
3) Help your customers find you
Consumers are now spending more time online than they are with traditional forms of media. Global Webindex reports that digital now accounts for 57% of daily media time. Complement your traditional advertising with paid online advertising to reach consumers while they are on the web.
Google serves about 2bn or queries everyday, about ⅓ of them have a local intent and some of them may be related to products/services that you sell. Start a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign and help your business grow with targeted online marketing. We know that for many small businesses who have never used online marketing before, setting up an Adwords account can seem like a daunting task. Adwords Express is a fully automated advertising solution specifically designed for local small businesses and first-time advertisers. You don’t need a website and don’t have to spend any time on managing your ad campaigns. We do all that for you. If you want more control on your ads, extend your reach beyond your local area or use other online advertising such as video and display, you might want to use Adwords instead.
If you are already familiar with the basics of Adwords, you might want to enhance your ads with these ad extensions such as click-to-call, site links or offer extensions to make it easier for your customers to find or contact you.
4) Be greater with data
Utilise the vast amount of data available through web analytics to understand your customers and demand. It allows you to measure and track how your customers interact with your website. Analyze your web analytics account to determine how you can improve your site layout and attract new customers. Once web analytics is implemented, you can see where customers came from, how long they stayed on your site, and where they clicked. Try Google Analytics for free, watch the recorded webinar and this Google blogpost to get started with Google Analytics
Have a YouTube account? Use YouTube Analytics to find out what your audience likes (and doesn't). Use what you learn to tune up your videos so they have the greatest impact with the customers you want most.
5) Constantly innovate
Innovation based on testing and learning is essential. Think of it as climbing steadily up the hill you’re on. Start small, test, learn and iterate. Constantly evolve and adapt to trends and demand, be agile and use the web to help you achieve this. Here is a list of free online tools that you can use to gauge online demand, spot trends, improve your online marketing campaigns and ultimately, grow your business.
Learn with Google is a site that aims to provide small businesses all they need to know to grow a business online. It includes lessons on all the online fundamentals, how to market and run your business online.
Google Trends: Find out what people are searching for online, where they're searching and when
Keyword Tool: Get new keyword ideas for your PPC campaigns, compare volumes and CPCs, and create keyword lists
Traffic Estimator: Get traffic estimates for keywords by setting budgets, max cost per clicks, targeting options, language and region