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Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business Website

It was once optional for a small business to have a website. Nowadays, having an 24/7 online presence is mandatory to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

But keeping a website current and up-to-date is often hard for a small business. Your employees often have little “spare” time for tasks such as site updates and, as a result, websites can easily be forgotten – left on the “do it tomorrow” pile. Without this required attention, a stagnant site will soon start to repel potential business customers, rather than attract.

Luckily, with a little planning during the development stage (and a regular dedication of time), these problems can be easily avoided and your website can become a strong marketing hub for your small business that doesn’t drain your resources.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteIntegrate a Content Management System (CMS) from Day One

A user-friendly Content Management System allows site owners and managers the ability to update and create new content directly on their websites. By integrating a CMS as the framework for a new website, you are instantly putting yourself into the driver’s seat to control what goes on your site and how “fresh” it stays.

Learning a CMS is not hard either. The basics of WordPress CMS can be learnt in a matter of minutes, as the editing functions are styled like that of a Word Processor. As I often say to new clients – “If you can create a document in Word, then you can update your own website!”

Use a Content Calendar (and stick to it)

A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) helps to plan out new content for your website or social media feed and details when it will be created. This weekly, monthly or yearly calendar should be an integral part of your business’ overall marketing strategy.

By planning content in advance, you (or whoever manages your website) can commit to producing site-worthy information that is suitable for your target audience. By putting a due date on it and ensuring that date is adhered to, working on your site becomes part of your everyday business schedule.

Automate Site Updates and Customer Interaction

If it is possible to time aside for working on your site’s content, take advantage of tools such as the content scheduling that is built into WordPress. Create five blog posts or page updates at one time then use the schedule to program the dates that you want the content to be released onto your website.

Here’s the secret: this blog post you are reading was one of five that I wrote over a recent weekend. I have set the schedule in WordPress to release one every two weeks. Blog Posts for next 10 weeks – done!

Schedule a Post

Allow an Employee to take ownership of website management

Although small businesses don’t have employees to “spare”, it would be ideal to assign the maintenance and upkeep of the website to one person – a web-savvy employ who could take care of both website and social media posts.

Giving ownership of the site to an employee (with guidance of course) ensures that the site will be monitored and “fed” new content to keep your online customers, and Google, happy.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteGet your Web Developer to care of updates for you

If all else fails and managing your website is just not possible in-house, look to a professional. Many web development companies offer a monthly plan which includes website content updates. Caution though, if you are taking this option, compare the plan price against the everyday (hourly) rate of the company to ensure that you are getting a decent offer.

You will still to need to provide content via email but a professional will get it online, make it look pretty and ensure that it gets the right sort of attention.

As discussed in a previous blog post, an out-of-date website that is uncared for will cost you business. Prospects visiting the site will get a poor first impression and Google won’t care for your site either. With the tips above, your site remains “fresh” and acting as a positive reflection of the small business that it portrays.

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOG

Unless you have been living under a rock and using smoke signals to promote your business, you are probably aware of the term “Blog”. For the rock-dwellers, a Blog is a regular website article, typically written by an individual and written in an informal or conversational style.

The simple Blog has become a powerful marketing tool and it is one of the most effective tools that a business can use to engage with their customers. Used correctly, a Blog enables direct communication with prospects and allows the sharing of relevant information with current clients.

Here’s five simple reasons why your small business needs to start blogging:

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOGTo provide your customers with helpful content.

Gone are the days where a website simply existed to tell customers where you are and what you do. With a wealth of information available at our fingertips, we expect more from the business sites that we choose to visit.

Reward your site visitors with value by providing helpful tips on using your products/services, examples of how other customers have benefited through a relationship with your business or discussing news articles that are relevant to the industry in which you operate.

Visitors are much more likely to return to your site if they know that fresh information awaits them on each visit.

A Blog gives your Business a Voice.

Through the voice of a blog, a small business operator can show that the business is run by real people who care about what they do. You can use blog posts to provide insights into the business or to introduce the employees who make the business what it is. You can tell your customers WHY you’re in business, HOW you have helped others and WHAT you can do to help them.

Be sure to use your own “voice” when writing blog posts – I read all my posts out loud as I type them to ensure that they “sound” like me.

Create a Two-Way Conversation 

Enable comments on your blog to encourage interaction with your site visitors. If you are concerned about the type of comments that will be left by visitors, systems can be put in place to allow moderation of comments before they are posted.

Reply quickly to all comments and open a channel of discussion. Demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry and your business is worth the site visitor’s attention.

Search Engines LOVE Blogs

The GoogleBot looks for websites that have valuable, helpful content as part of its search ranking system and rewards relevant content with improved positions in search results. Your Blog content, when written correctly, is perfect for fulfilling this requirement as it ticks the boxes for being fresh, relevant AND helpful.

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOGBlogging will Inspire your Business life

Once you get into a routine of Blogging, you’ll start to see new ideas all around you. Not just for your blog, but for all aspects of your business life. Talking with workmates, watching TV, eating in a restaurant, and just walking the dog – you’ll be surprised where ideas will begin to spring from.

Remember this quote from David Allen of GTD* fame – “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them”.  Write down ideas, straight away. My idea-writing medium of choice – the extra sticky Post-It note, stuck to my monitor.

One hidden advantage to Blog writing that I have found is the strengthening of my ability to effectively write and speak, not just about my industry but in all forms of communication. My language usage has been “awakened” through weekly blog writing and I feel comfortable communicating on forums, emails, customer letters, meetings with clients and speaking with family/friends.

Blog writing is not hard nor time-consuming – simply set aside a small piece of time and get going. I usually write the first draft of a blog in 25 minutes using a Pomodoro timer and then leave that piece for a couple of days. I’ll then take another look to polish before posting online (which usually takes another 25 minutes).

The most important thing is to start and be consistent – the benefits of a Blog will surprise you.

* GTD = “Getting Things Done” by David Allen

Five Website Mistakes that might be killing your Conversion Rates

Don't kill your conversion ratesFor the uninitiated, the conversion rate of a website is simply the percentage of visitors who take a desired action on the site. Converted visitors might complete an online form, call the business or make a purchase.

A low conversion rate means that the site is not performing to its optimum ability and it can be caused by several factors. None of these should be caused by the site itself and some can be easily avoided with awareness of UX (user experience) on your website.

Here’s five mistakes that are made regularly in modern websites:

Massive Media Files

Although the NBN is making the internet slightly faster across most of Australia, not everyone has access to a speedy connection with a large download limit. When adding media such as images, sound files, documents and video, be sure to optimise these files so they are an acceptable size for all visitors to your website to download or access.

Hidden Call to Actions

Make it blaringly obvious to your website visitors exactly how you want them to interact with your business.

Don’t hide purchase buttons, make content easy to find and ensure that enquiry forms are accessible with a minimum of searching. Put these items where your customers can expect to find them.

If you are not sure, go and look at other websites to see what is working for them.

Don't kill your conversion ratesSEO-Only Content

Optimising your site for Google is a hard task and it can be tempting to add content purely to push that all important ranking up in search results. Keyword stuffing, hidden links and unnatural anchor text are a few examples of content manipulation that Google frowns upon.

Not only are you risking total removal from Google if you are caught using these content malpractices but the resulting text can be confusing for your site visitors too. Write for your target audience with the correct SEO practices and you will keep Google happy at the same time.

Music when the page loads

No.

Might have been cool in the early 00’s but now it’s an instant page turn-off – just don’t do it.

Pop-up Windows

In my view, there is nothing more annoying than arriving at a website and then, before you can view anything, you are hit with a pop-up window. The goal of a pop-up is to “harvest” email addresses for mailing lists, and the windows works to a degree, but how many site visitors see this intrusion as a red flag and leave the site as a result?

If you are using immediate pop-ups and you have a high bounce rate on the front page of your website, this may be the cause. Try using a less intrusive pop-up on your site (maybe in the corner of the screen) or change the timing so the pop-up appears after a set-time. Another popular alternative is to use a pop-up window as a site visitor tries to leave your website.

There are four key items that are essential to the success of any small business website: content, speed, ease-of-use and an awareness of your target audience. By keeping those items front-of-mind at all times, you should be able to enjoy a high conversion from your site to your business.

Importantly, track your statistics using whatever methods are available (Google Analytics is a champ at this) and, if your site fails to convert, check it against the mistakes above and make the necessary changes. By making consistent tracking part of your website routine, your website can become a major marketing asset for your business.

Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your website

Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your websiteThere is nothing more frustrating for a website visitor to come calling on a business site and find that the website is filled with out-of-date content.

Business prospects are instantly “turned off” any chance of actually becoming clients of the business and current clients will quickly become frustrated at the lack of online support for products and services.

In an age where consumers expect to have information available right at their fingertips, an out-of-date website with poor content could easily mean the difference between success and failure, both online and offline. Here’s three key reasons you should keep your website up to date and “fresh”:

Send the right message to your prospects

As the saying goes, “First Impressions Count”, and your prospects want to be impressed. An old website with content that is no longer relevant to them sends out the wrong message immediately and says to the prospective customer “we can’t be bothered to update our website and we put the same amount of effort into the rest of our business” (even though this may not be true).

Try to hook potential customers with engaging information, tutorials, videos, product demonstrations or free downloads all about the products or services that you want to sell them. This attention to detail will pay off in “bucket-loads” as they realise you are serious about what you do and that your business is the one they want to work with.

Provide your customers with the support they expect

Your current customers deserve to be looked after as well. You want them to return time and time again and this is possible with the 24/7 support that a well-structured website can give them. If they have problems outside (or inside) your business hours with your products or just need to find out how to use them effectively, your website can do this with downloadable how-to sheets, videos, customer forums and help desks.

In a generation where everyone is looking online for what they need – your website needs to be supportive environment where YOUR CUSTOMERS can get what they need – when they want it!

Google!

Not only is a freshly contented website good for impressing prospects and helping customers, it is also very good for the website itself. Google’s search ranking algorithm has a special fondness for sites with updated, relevant content, promoting sites with these higher on search results.

Once ranked, Google re-visits your site every few weeks and checks the content it finds against the content from its last visit. If it finds the same old information each time, you will see that your business website will begin to drop down in search rankings – possibly below that of your competitors.

A new article in your blog, added photos in a gallery or testimonials from customers are easy to add and make Google “happy” with your website.

As you can see, it isn’t too hard to keep your website “fresh”. Simply dedicate a few minutes each week (or day if you can) to adding new information that is relevant to the customers that you have and the ones you want to attract. Integrate a website content plan into your everyday business operations and reap the benefits as your online visitors begin to see your business as passionate, supportive and above all, operating with your finger on the pulse of your industry.

How to Revitalise a Boring Website for the New Year

New Years ResolutionsThe New Year always feels the right time to make changes – either in our own personal lives or in what we do throughout the year.

Some people resolve to lose weight, others want to quit a bad habit and some might just want to be better with their finances. It’s a perfect time to hit the “reset” button and start over with whatever we want to achieve.

So why not put together a News Year’s Resolution for your weary small business website?

There’s no better time than the present to take that old, tired website and give it a little bit of “love and commitment”. It’s not hard to breathe new life into a dead website and give your target audience what they need – an easy way to find and engage with your business.

Commit the time to make it WORK

Contrary to the belief of some small business owners, a website is not a guaranteed magic bullet for business success. Too many people believe that once a site is online, everything else will happen by “natural” causes. Nothing could be further from the truth – your site may not even be noticed by Google if you don’t put some effort in to get some attention.

Set aside a small chunk of your time each day (or a larger chunk each week) and commit yourself to making your site a success. The amount of time is up to you but this time should be spent on creating new content for your visitors, optimising your site for search engines, gathering customer testimonials for display or any range of website-related tasks. Try something new every week.

Get Some Inbound Love

Inbound LoveIf your site is low on inbound traffic, use your existing industry connections to turn it around in 2017.

You can reach out to your connections in a variety of ways: – through your blog (as we do every couple of weeks), your social media promotions, viral videos (with your web address clearly displayed), email newsletters or even your local newspaper. Anywhere there is an opportunity to create a connection.

Whatever the method you choose – the end-goal is always to boost the online traffic heading into your website so be sure to provide an inbound link in each situation.

Add Value for your Visitors

Once you’ve got visitors coming to your site (inboard), the trick is to keep them satisfied and make them want to return again and again.

The key to this step is answering this simple question – “Why are they coming?”

Nine times out of ten your visitors will be looking to somehow engage with your business. They will be looking for help on using your services, or maybe some more information on your products or, our favourite, just wanting to make a purchase?

Once you have worked out why customers are coming to your site, the next bit is simple –
Give ‘em what they want!

Freshen up that tired old site.

Freshen up that tired old siteThe final step in giving your website a new lease on life in 2017 involves stepping back and taking a cold-hard look at the current state of your site.

Use these questions as a guide: –

  • Does my site look like it belongs to a previous decade (maybe the 90’s)?
  • Is the site “responsive” to viewing on tablets and smart phones?
  • Are my key offerings easy to access and immediately identifiable?
  • Does my business brand match my online presence?
  • Do I offer helpful content to my site visitors? Do I give them value?
  • Can people find my website?

Providing the solution to each of these questions and implementing them on your website will put your site in a prime position for online success in 2017.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!

If your small business website needs any help to make your New Year’s Resolution a reality, get in touch with us at Rusty Mango Design and let’s make 2017 the best year for your website yet!

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website Needs

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsCreating a small business website is a daunting task for anyone who has very little or no online experience. Even the smallest bit of research will unleash a whole range of techno-jargon and online marketing advice from all angles – enough to make anyone’s head spin.

To avoid this overload of information, a new site should be treated like a V8 Supercar heading out to the track for the first time. It must be built on a solid framework but will be constantly tweaked throughout its life span into an efficient, customer-converting machine.

To provide this solid framework, there are five essential items that must be taken into consideration from day one:

#1 An Easy-to-Use Navigation Menu

The menu system of the site must be easy to find on the page, simple to understand and uncluttered in appearance. Refine the main options (those visible straight away) down to the bare necessities and “drop-down” menus should be used to display any extras that need to be accessed during a visitor’s time on the website.

#2 An “About Us” Page

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsIt’s been found that today’s online consumer likes to “connect” with businesses before they purchase products or engage services.  A good “About Us” page should be jargon-free and clearly display who you are, where your business has evolved from and why it exists now. Once again, keep to the essentials but at the same time, don’t leave any important information out.

Be sure to also include a “Contact Us” page on the site with a contact form that sends directly to the site manager’s email.

#3 Helpful, free content

Another way to create a connection with your customers to provide helpful content that will improve the way they interact with your products and services. This can be achieved through a variety of ways including FAQ pages, videos, customer forums and downloadable PDFs. By adding high-quality free content to your site, visitors are more likely to return in the future to what else you have to offer them.

#4 Customer Testimonial Page

Whilst writing your own content will go a long way towards selling your products and services to site visitors, nothing works better than testimonials from your current customers.

Select a few satisfied clients that you have worked with and send them a friendly email requesting a short description of their experiences with your business. You may be surprised how quickly you will receive a response from them – most people love to reward good service.

#5 A Clear Call-To-Action

Top Five Things Every Small Business Website NeedsEverything above counts for nothing if you don’t provide a quick, easy to find Call-To-Action (CTA) somewhere prominent on your site. The CTA is the method by which a site visitor chooses to become a customer. For example, on a motel’s website, a “Make a Booking” button provides as the Call-To-Action. On an eCommerce site, you’ll find a shopping trolley icon marked “Checkout”.

The CTA may be different for each business but the rules for displaying them are the same – it must be eye-catching, clearly defined and be designed in such a way to encourage interaction.

Without a Call-To-Action, a website quickly becomes an online brochure.

Conclusion

There are loads of other elements that help make a successful website that converts visitors to customers. These five items will allow you to create a solid framework from which to build the remainder of your site.

In future blog posts, we will cover some of the extras that will add even further value to your site and help to build your business in both brand and bottom line.

For help getting your small business website off the ground, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ve been working with small business since 2007.

5 Key Points you NEED to effectively brief your Web Designer

main-imageBuilding a website for your small business should not be a spur of the moment decision.

And yet, as a website developer, I often meet new clients who have decided to build a website for their business but they haven’t yet considered how that site is going to improve their business.

Some still view a website as an online business card and, as I’ve covered in my blog posts before, a website can be so much more if it is planned and implemented correctly. The key to this effectiveness is carefully-considered planning – at every stage along the line.

Before picking up the phone or emailing a web designer for the first time, there are a few key questions that need your attention to ensure that the website development stages are quick and the final website is more effective when it is launched.

 

#1 What is the Key Objective of the Website?

Very simply, in as fewer words as possible (one sentence if possible), write down a measurable objective for your business website. This single sentence will guide everything else that happens along the way to development your site. The measurement is usually written as a percentage.

i.e. Increase the Monthly Sales of XYZ company by 20%

 

 5 Key Points you NEED to effectively brief your Web Designer#2 Who is the target audience?

With point #1 clearly in mind, now look at what kind of site visitor is going to make that measurable objective possible.

Who will be looking for your products/services? Where are they? How old are they? What gender?

Be as specific as you can – this information will help your designer plan and style your site.

i.e. 18 to 60-year-old men interested in recreational fishing around the North QLD area.

 

#3 What kind of content will your audience be seeking at your site?

After identifying the audience that you want to attract to your site, grab a pencil and paper to map out the type of content that these potential customers will respond do. Will they want to read text blogs like this or would they respond better to video or imagery? Maybe a mixture would work best?

What kinds of information / products / services will they be seeking from you and, most importantly, what information do you want them to have about you and your business?

i.e. Information about the latest estuarine fishing equipment, videos on how it is used, fact sheets on where the fishing are biting….

 

fish

#4 What are your competitors doing online?

Get this information in conjunction with point #1 – Get online and see what your competitors are doing with their websites. Google all relevant information regarding your target audience. Your top competitors will generally be at the head of the list – What kinds of content are they using? What appeals to you on their sites? What doesn’t?

Although your web developer should do this research as well, it will be highly beneficial to you as your website takes shape and you know what you are aiming for.

 

#5 What timeframe do you have to complete the site?

Armed with the knowledge that designers work better when given a timeframe (I know I do), when you want to launch your site to the world? Keep in mind, you must be able to “hold up” your end of the bargain and ensure that you can provide the content that the site requires for launch. Even the most experienced developer will baulk at a proposed launch date if they don’t have the content for the site.

 

Conclusion

By having the above planning completed/documented before contacting a designer, you will also be able to brief them clearly and then ascertain whether they can do the job at hand.

Don’t leave your small business’ website goals up to the designer. Remember that no-one knows your business better than you.

Have you got all the above planning done and are ready to go ahead and contact a designer?
Get in touch with Rusty Mango Design on 0488 406 050 and we will work with you all the way (and even beyond) to a great, customer converting website for your small business.

Five Steps to Writing Great Blogposts that ENGAGE

The key to writing blogposts is consistencyA Blog post is a great way to create fresh content for your website and a fantastic way to demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry. By producing helpful posts on a regular basis for your website audience, you can build a dedicated following who will often revisit your site just to see what you have written next. Another benefit of blogging is that your website content remains fresh and everyone knows that Google loves “fresh” sites in its search results.

Several clients of Rusty Mango Design have recently started writing blogs on their sites to build their online influence so we thought it’s a perfect time that we share the process we go through to write an engaging blog post.

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Once you start down the blogging pathway, you’ll find that ideas for new posts are continually popping into your head. Be sure to write each one down (I write mine on post-it notes) and store them in your ideas folder.

These ideas must be relevant to your target audience and they must be helpful and/or solve a problem.

Once you have a selection of ideas in your folder, choose one and move onto Step 2.

Step 2: Research – What do others have to say on the Topic?

Get online and see what other experts in your field are saying about your chosen topic. I don’t suggest that you plagiarise but doing some simple research will help galvanise your own thoughts and get you ready to write your own piece on the subject.

My Mindmap - its messy but it works....Step 3: Create a Mindmap

Next, use a simple mind map to pour out your key ideas for the post. The mind map for this very blog article is shown on the right.

Write your topic in the centre and branch out in all directions with the various points on that topic – it’s amazing how the ideas start to flow once you start. Feel free to scribble down anything that pops into your head.

Step 4: Start Writing but use your Own Voice

Start writing your posts using each of the various points from your mind map. Expand on each point but don’t go too overboard – stick to the basic K.I.S.S. principle here (Keep It Simple Stupid). Waffling on will lose your audience.

Be sure to speak the words out load as you type (be ready for some weird looks from your co-workers here). Your text should reflect the way that you speak – your audience wants to hear from you, not some academic lecturer.

Finally, use a timer (I use a Pomodoro Timer App on my phone). This keeps you focussed on writing and prevents your blog post from consuming your entire day.

Step 5: Create a Summary and a Headline that HOOKS

Create a short summary/excerpt of your blog article to post onto Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn are my choice) – this is much easier to do straight up after you have written the blog post. Don’t wait and do it later or you may lose the flow of your topic.

Finally, the headline of your post is essential to hooking the attention of your potential readers. Just like the headline in a newspaper, it needs to make the reader want to find out more. Headlines are an art form in themselves. Joanna Wiebe at CopyHackers has written an excellent article on this very topic: 5 Criteria for Writing Powerful Headlines: https://copyhackers.com/2013/09/writing-powerful-headlines/

Conclusion

By following the simple steps above and getting in the practice of writing a blog post on a regular basis, you will find that ideas will soon start to flow easily from your head onto your screen. Keep at it too – the helpful content you produce will be a great addition to your online arsenal, confirming to all your potential clientele that you are an expert in your field and your business deserves their custom.

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

Let’s be clear from the very beginning – using the internet for small business is NOT the guaranteed golden bullet solution to all your problems. The addition of an online presence will not automatically turn your fortunes around. Running your own website, engaging customers on social media and selling products online takes effort and hard-work – as will all the strategies outlined in this post.

The internet definitely offers you more avenues to market your business than ever before. You can generate followers and advocates that will purchase from (and market) your business 24/7, sometimes without any one-on-one interaction from you.

Below, there are five online strategies outlined that your business can employ to help raise awareness of your business and its offerings and, most importantly, boost that bottom line.


#1. Boost your Facebook Posts

Facebook BOOSTEver seen the big BOOST button on your Facebook page?

This is the button you will see next to any posts you have made. With the power of a BOOST (and a minimum spend of $7/day), you can actually display your posts in the Facebook feeds of a very specific audience. These people are the prime candidates to which you want to market your products and services.

For example, our local dance shop is selling Fascinators for the upcoming races in town. With Facebook BOOST advertising, they can target:

Women, who like Fashion, and live within 50 miles* of the town, in the 18-50 age group

With targeted boosts, you get your message sent out exactly where you want it to go – much better than casting a broad net and hoping you catch something.

* Not a typo – Facebook, an American company, measures in miles regardless of your location.


#2. Build an eCommerce Store

eCommerce online storeCoupled with the low overheads associated in running an online store alongside your “bricks and mortar” business, there are two major advantages for building your own online store

Firstly, an eCommerce store can sell your products and services 24/7– your customers don’t have to wait for the doors to open or for you to even be available. A good online store is set up to run automatically with payment options and shipping processes integrated.

Secondly – your online store is capable of selling anywhere in the world. Your customer base is dramatically widened beyond the immediate geography of your shopfront. If someone on the other side of Australia (or the world) wants to buy your goods, they can access your online store and make the purchase whenever they want.


#3. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Customer ServiceGood customer service can be time intensive, and sometimes very repetitive with no immediate remuneration for your time.

With a website, you can off-set some of the repetitive parts of your customer service through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials and downloadable help sheets (Bunnings are the masters of this) to name just a few. 

Setting up your website’s customer service area properly would be time well spent as the support you provide online can save you hours either on the phone or answering emails.

 

 


#4. Plan and maintain a Content Marketing strategy

Content MarketingContent marketing is a must have on any small business website. To clarify, Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and producing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts and retains your target audience. It is also a key element of the Google search algorithm, helping to determine your website’s placement in search results.

How do you create an effective Content Management Strategy?

  • Decide on your content mediums according to your strengths and your target audience (Blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters….)
  • Generate a plan in calendar format which includes the dates, topics and mediums for the creation of your content. This includes social media updates and blog posts.
  • Stick to the plan – consistency is the key to success!
  • Monitor your traffic to gauge the success of each item. This will give you valuable information in relation to what is working and what isn’t.

#5. Give Email Marketing a try

Email MarketingIf you are thinking of employing an email marketing approach to broadcast your small business, you can’t look past MailChimp (no affiliation with Rusty Mango). It has almost everything built-in to help you create great looking emails, distribute them and, most importantly, keep you within the law regarding SPAM.

Note: You cannot send emails from a business in Australia to anyone you like. You must have the recipient’s permission or an existing customer relationship with that person.  For more information, take a look at the Spam Act 2003.

Using MailChimp (and common sense), you can create an email campaign that drives business to your website and your physical store:

  • Use a pop-up plugin on your website to acquire email addresses from your site visitors. Some of these can be set up to send collected addresses directly to MailChimp.
  • Create list of your existing customer’s emails. Excel is a good way to do this as you can import spreadsheets to MailChimp.
  • Using one of the many templates, create your first email newsletter. Re-purpose some of the content that you have created for your site – blog entries are perfect for this!

MailChimp has a built-in unsubscribe option. Recipients of the email simply have click Unsubscribe in the footer of the email and MailChimp will automatically remove them from the list, satisfying another condition of the Spam Act.


Conclusion

The real secret to a successful and productive online presence for your small business is summed in one word – consistency. Your website cannot be a stagnant brochure for your business, it needs to be dynamic, helpful and must reinforce your position as an expert in your field with quality service and/or products. Make an effort to set aside 15 minutes a day and develop each of the strategies into a workable system for you – the rewards for your business will become clear in no time at all.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If your business needs help developing any of the strategies above, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design – we love to help small business!

How to be there for your customers 24/7 (even when you’re asleep)

How to be there for your customers 24/7 (even when you’re asleep)Sit back for a moment and think of a business that you deal with regularly – one that you enjoy returning to time after time. Now, delving a little deeper, why do you go back to that particular business each time? Is it just for the price of the goods and services?

Chances are (with the exception of the big chain stores), it’s not – you go back for their customer service.

At the end of the day, businesses are often not remembered by the goods and services they provide. They are remembered for the helpfulness of their customer service and the promptness with which it is given.

To the small business owner, time is always valuable and providing a customer service that is high quality, helpful and prompt can take a fair chunk of this time. Fortunately, with the right systems in place, you can provide this level of service through your website.


Here’s five website-based systems that could work for your business:

The Helpdesk

Easy to install on most content management systems, a helpdesk provides a simple form for customers to complete which is sent directly via email to the business. With this system, unless you have staff available 24/7, be sure to indicate on your site the hours that the form will be supported. Outside of these hours, link the Helpdesk straight to the FAQ (see below).

Example: https://www.zendesk.com/

LiveChat

A very popular option, this system incorporates a small pop-up chat window (usually in the lower right of the website screen) that is answered by the business’ staff. When staff are not available (i.e. serving customers in a physical store), most live-chat systems will display a message asking the visitor to leave a question that will be answered ASAP.

Example: http://www.signatureclothing.com.au/

Troubleshooting Guides

These guides can come in a variety of forms, the most popular being factsheets and tutorial videos. Without taking valuable time to answer the same question from a multitude of customers, a guide can help the customer work through the problem themselves. A great example of troubleshooting guides can be found at the front counter of any Bunnings store with their variety of how-to pamphlets.

Example: https://www.telstra.com.au/webforms/cares/

FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions)

Similar to the troubleshooting guides above, the FAQ of a website can be built over time to answer those questions that pop-up repeatedly. With a FAQ, you only have to answer it once and that answer is then available to anyone with the same question in the future. An additional part of an FAQ can include a “smart” form that starts looking for an answer as you begin to type – like Google does when you start to search.

Example: https://vimeo.com/help/faq

Community Forum

Provided you can generate a “following” for your products and services, a forum is great for customers to start helping each other. Users can post questions and they can be answered by either other forum members or members of staff that are available. Once a forum starts “rolling” along, they can be very effective in generating a “tribe” of followers for a business.

Example: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php


Start small and build your support system over time using the questions that you hear every day. By using actual customer enquiries, you can answer exactly what your cliental needs to know without having to re-invent the content yourself. And by simply setting aside a small amount of time each day/week, you can build a resource that will not only save you time and money but can help your customers even while you sleep.

Note: If you opt to use the non-automated systems such as LiveChat and Helpdesk, your staff must ensure that answers are provided as soon as humanly possible, especially with LiveChat where a customer may be waiting for the answer.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design