7 Best Practices for Small Businesses Online

One of the most common misconceptions of small business owners is that they need to focus a lot on social media. They have been lead to believe that having 5000 Facebook fans, and a few hundred blogs, and Diggs will help them do well. But in fact, all they need is business i.e. customers, clients, referrers, and shoppers. But figures alone can’t make it happen.

Getting real people to follow, like and buy from you is not difficult with the right approach. Most the steps below can be rolled out in just a couple of days. But the only thing is that it has to be done right!

1. Put up videos

As a small business which is also a local business, your biggest strength has to be your personality. So, that needs to be highlighted. Videos allow for potential customers to meet you, your team and see your location before they decide to hire or buy from you.

There are so many different types of videos that can be created, the choices are practically endless. Though ideally, you’ll want to create instructional videos, videos that introduce your team and show the inside of your office or shop. Keep things simple and it will attract people.

Testimonial videos are also very effective. If you’ve managed to make a few of your clients / customers happy encourage them to film a short video to show their appreciation. The videos do not have to look professional, they just need to be engaging and genuine.

7 best practices for small businesses online

2. Promote your email address and phone number

Working as a local business means that you need to promote your phone number and address just about everywhere. This will make it very easy for people to contact you. Plus, your web pages should have your phone number and email address in the footer, sidebar and header.

Make sure your cell phone number or your toll free number is part of your email signature.

3. Have a static page or a Sticky plugin for the home page

When people come to your website after a Google search, they often land on your home page. Plus, many if not all of your loyal customers will visit your home page. So, your home page’s design is very important. Your home page for all intents and purposes should sell.

You can have a WP- Sticky plugin which displays some good landing page copy describing your products or services, prior to the traditional blog posts popping up. The page can have your cell number and email address. This will quickly tell people what your business is all about and how they can benefit right away.

4. Publish content that adds value

It goes without saying that small businesses are not media companies. So, they obviously don’t have the time to update twitter and Facebook multiple times a day. But the idea is to always create content that adds value. That way you can keep people interested and checking back.

5. Navigation should be predictable and effortless

Navigation is something that small businesses have been getting wrong since the early days of the internet. The problem is that you’re lead to believe that there is no wrong or right way to navigate a website. But there is certainly an intuitive and non-intuitive layout which can mean the difference between a person buying something or simply going back to the search engine’s results.

Predictable navigation puts everything where people think they can find it. Plus, it’s important to use words that people have been trained to read or see. For instance, search for “Contact Us” and not “Holla”, when wanting to get in touch.

6. Your website should have several calls to action

Whether your small business website is intended to gather leads or interact with clients, it’s important that you are clear on what you want the visitor to do. So, it’s important that your web pages invite or call people to buy your product. Many people may not realize that you are offering something for sale unless you specifically say it out loud.

7. Build creditability

The general consensus by online marketers is that online businesses need to offer something for free in order to gather leads. But this does not hold true for local businesses. Being local is actually good enough in terms of credibility. For instance, people don’t care if a plumber has written an eBook on plumbing. But instead it is important that the plumber want to speak to the client, that’s what brings us to the suggestion of having a video as talked about above.

Your website needs to look and feel credible so that your customers feel like you have their backs. Though having a certain type of eBook can help a plumber to some extent but it’s not mandatory.

The bottom line

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game and spend hundreds on advertising. Running a small and local business online is all about keeping it simple and personal. The better you are at doing this the more leads you will collect and the most customers you’ll have.