Every business that advertises online is seeking ways to improve conversions. It’s getting more challenging all the time to see a positive ROI on Facebook ads, Google AdWords, and other online advertising platforms. As competition gets fiercer and consumers more discerning, you need more sophisticated tactics for conversion rate optimization. Let’s look at some of the strategies that are best for improving the effectiveness of your online ads. Read more
Email marketing is one of the oldest and most effective forms of online communication. It remains an extremely powerful way to promote your business. When considering various small business marketing strategies, some people worry that email is becoming obsolete in the age of social media and smartphones. This is not the case. Let’s look at why email marketing is just as relevant as ever and how it can help you build your business.
One of the most powerful ways to grow your business and outsell your competition is to get more positive online reviews. Reviews are getting increasingly important as consumers do research and seek reassurance before they buy a product online or stop in a retail business. Reviews are especially valuable for helping you rank and attract customers in local search. According to some research, each star in a review can result in between 5 and 9 percent increase in business. This is extremely significant and makes it worthwhile to investigate the best strategies for getting more reviews.
Reviews on Your Own Website
There are two types of online reviews. First-party reviews appear on your own website. Third-party reviews appear on sites such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List or other independent websites. Both types of reviews are important. Let’s start with the first party type. Aside from building confidence in your visitors, these reviews are also valuable for SEO. Here are a few guidelines for attracting and maximizing the benefits of first-party reviews.
- Ask all of your customers to leave reviews on your website. Remind them on your website, social media pages, via email and, if you have a physical business, in person.
- Publish all reviews. If you filter them and only publish positive comments, you’ll quickly lose credibility.
- Don’t incentivize. Don’t offer people rewards or discounts in order to get reviews.
- Reply to all of your reviews. Thank people for taking the time to comment, even if the review is critical.
- If you get negative reviews, address the issues promptly. Do whatever you can to make the customer happy.
Reviews that appear on third-party sites are also important. Many customers use sites such as Google and Yelp as guidelines when choosing businesses, including restaurants, lawyers, accountants, medical professionals, and others. Many of the guidelines for third-party reviews are similar to the ones listed above for reviews on your own site. However, there are some differences as well.
- Make sure your business is listed with Google and any other sites that are relevant to your business. Google is especially vital if you have a brick and mortar business and want people to find you.
- While almost all types of businesses are now listed on Yelp and Google, don’t overlook specialty sites for your industry. For example, attorneys are listed on Lawyers.com and Avvo. Doctors are listed on Healthgrades.
- Monitor review sites carefully so you know when people leave reviews. Set Google Alerts or use some time of reputation management software or service so stay informed.
- As with reviews on your own website, always take the time to respond to reviewers. Thank people who leave positive reviews and do what you can to correct any mistakes. Some people will remove or update negative reviews when they see you care enough to address the issue.
- If you suspect a dishonest competitor is leaving fake bad reviews, notify the site. This doesn’t work everywhere but some sites, including Google, will remove dishonest reviews if you report them.
Online reviews are now one of the best ways to build your business and stand apart from the competition. The best way to attract positive reviews is to offer outstanding products and customer service. It’s also essential to remind your customers to leave reviews.
Invoice financing is a great alternative to bank financing. It’s a way to quickly improve your cash flow without incurring debt. It’s also an option that’s open to many businesses that might not qualify for bank loans. Riviera Finance, founded in 1969, is one of the acknowledged industry leaders for invoice factoring. They provide the highest cash advances in the industry with funding available within 24 hours.
Learn more about Riviera Finance’s invoice factoring solutions here.
It’s interesting to look at how the perception of business websites has changed in recent years. In the early days of the internet, websites were a novelty and only considered essential for web-based businesses. Gradually, more and more businesses learned the value of creating websites. Lately, however, the rise of Facebook and other social media sites has made some business owners think that all they need is social media. This, however, is an incorrect and potentially costly error. Websites are just as critical to the success of a small business as ever before.
Why Websites are Crucial
No matter what other marketing tools you use, nothing can replace your business website. For one thing, this is your own personal online property. When you post to a social media site, YouTube, or any other third-party site, you don’t control the process. You’re posting to someone else’s domain and they set the rules. When you own a site and domain, you can take measures to improve SEO and generate more unpaid or organic traffic. You also have complete control over the look and layout of your own site. Above all, your business name and logo appear at the top of the page. These are all essential aspects of building your brand.
How to Get the Most From Your Website
Now that we’ve established that small businesses need websites, let’s look at some guidelines to help make you get more traffic and engagement.
- Make sure your site is easy to load and navigate. If your pages don’t load quickly, you’ll lose traffic. Menus should be relevant and clearly visible.
- Your site must be mobile-friendly. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access the internet. Your site has to be responsive, meaning that your content is visible and easy to navigate from any device.
- Create relevant content and update your site frequently. Use strategic keywords that your customers are searching for. Stay current on the latest topics in your industry and post fresh content regularly.
- Link to your site. To increase targeted traffic, make sure you link to your site from as many places as possible. Include links in your social media posts, emails, business cards and any ads you place both online and offline.
- Provide contact information and solid customer support. Make sure your email, phone number and, if relevant, your physical location are prominently displayed. Offering multiple customer support options, such as email, phone and even chat bots helps visitors get the information they need from your site.
Websites are, and will continue to be, a crucial small business tool. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use other marketing tools such as social media and email. Indeed, these can actually help you send targeted traffic to your site. You also have to consider other elements essential to maintaining and growing your business, such as improving cash flow.
One of the best ways to do this is to sign up for invoice factoring with Riviera Finance, which allows you to collect payment immediately on invoices and accounts receivable.