Business is changing and so is how customers find you. There is still the old favourites word of mouth and local adverts. Now though there is online and social media. How many people Google you, check your Twitter account or your Facebook page before contacting you. This is where the problems arise, if they can’t find a website or even a Twitter account or Facebook page that can put people off using your business. I’m as guilty as anyone, if I’m looking for a service I’ll check their website first, if they don’t have one i’ll move on to the next. Twitter and Facebook have made this even worse because now you can see what happens on a daily basis and use this to judge the company.
A website has become a must for every business, no matter whether your big or small. Its usually the first contact a customer has with you. I could go on and on about how a website should work and what information should be in it but thats more than required here. I recommend that at least once a week look at your website check the content is correct, does it have the correct prices, is any legal information up to date and does it look right. Always try to look at your site from a new customers point of view, does it look professional, does it fit with your companies brand and does it engage with the reader. The other important thing to check is how easy are you to find, 90% of all searches are done through Google so test your position on Google. The 3 main checks I recommend you do every week is Google your name, your business name and the service you offer in your area (e.g. builders Aylsham, barber North Walsham and sweet shop Cromer) and see where you appear. The first 2 should have you as number 1 on the list if not there is a problem, the third one is more difficult and depending on your service it might be very competitive. To get to the top of these ranking you will need your site to be search engine optimised (SEO) you can do this yourself but it can be very time consuming and there is no guarantees. Big companies spend millions each year to keep them at the top of the rankings, but for smaller businesses a little bit of work will improve your ranking.
The interesting thing is we expect different behaviour from different businesses. A PR or marketing company you expect a little more creative and messing about but a motor mechanic you expect more serious and useful information. Lets be honest who would use a mechanic if all the pictures were of the team hula hooping with tyres, how do i know they are going to do a good job. When posting on social media you are now laying yourself bare to the whole world and being judge on what you do. My advice with social media is before you post a message ask yourself would I say that to a customer, if the answer is no then delete it.
With all these in place, potential customers will be able to find you easily and hopefully you can make a sale but in the online world there are no guarantees.