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Making more of your business’ online presence

Most people are digitally savvy and automatically assume they can easily interact with a business online.

26 February 2020

An interesting recent statistic from the Federation of Small Businesses was that one pound in five spent by UK consumers is done so over the internet.

In our February Business Club we examined what businesses need to do online to meet customer expectations.

To lead the discussion, we were very lucky to have Adam Gardner from Redder Ltd join us.  

Redder is an innovative digital agency who specialise in websites and all things to do with digital marketing and sales.  Adam’s enthusiasm and specialist knowledge about the internet made him a perfect choice to lead the discussion

Digitally savvy consumers

People turning 40 this year were born in 1980, which means in their working life they’ve not known a time without the internet.

On a daily basis we all use the internet and websites to achieve something. We often don’t think twice when a website works well, but we do mind and get frustrated when our use of a site hits a block.

Having an effective website that can be accessed on a smartphone as well as a PC is now vital for most businesses, while social media offers opportunities in marketing and customer service. Adam shared some interesting recent statistics and the figures are only set to rise…

The internet is inherent in many business practices

But aside from marketing and sales, how else does the Internet help a business?

Technology has certainly helped to level the playing field. It’s often easier for smaller firms to compete online and many online-only businesses have sprung up on the back of changing trends.

From an employee perspective, small firms are now able to offer greater flexibility around working hours and locations, which has helped many compete for talented staff.

Another beauty of the internet is its transparency – it’s all there for you to see. So, you can easily see what your competitors are doing and check out their offerings. You can also monitor trends and respond with offers, promotions, insights that appeal to that popular sentiment.

The importance of search

It remains vitally important for businesses to be accessible for Google and other search engines.  Google still dominates the search engine market worldwide – in September 2019 it had an 81.5% percent market share.  Bing came second with just 5.29%. There are also new search engines emerging as consumers crave greater privacy for their search data.

What a successful website needs to have

As a group, the Business Club considered these three important considerations for a business when developing and managing its online presence:

  1. How to ensure its website is found by its target market
  2. How to create a positive visitor experience when a visitor lands on the site
  3. How to encourage the visitor to take a next step, that could be enquiring, buying something etc

Teams of Business Club delegates considered these points in relation to a example websites and a target audience demographic. Points which were raised included:

Ensuring a website is found Creating a positive visitor experience 
  • Work hard on your site’s search engine optimisation to ensure it appears well in search rankings. This can be aided by an investment in Google Ads
  • For local businesses that means also optimising on your locality and being very visible through online and traditional ‘offline’ marketing channels in that territory
  • Make sure your site performs well on both PC and mobiles
  • Have good scores, reviews and testimonials on reputable review sites, to encourage browsers to opt for your site
  • Be visible and active on the right social media platforms for your target audience’s demographics
  • Have a site, which at an initial glance is engaging, easy to navigate and appeals to the design/content preferences of your target audience’s demographics
  • Make sure the site performs well on both PC and mobile
  • Check it loads quickly
  • Make more of frequently asked questions and clear signposting to the information your website visitors are seeking
  • For ecommerce sites, ensure products and product options are easy to find.  Also the purchase and payment process need to be quick and easy on all devices
  • For event sites, partner up with complementary suppliers (eg hotels) or have add-ons such as merchandise
  • Feature videos and images
  • Display your accreditations, reviews, testimonials and case studies to reassure the visitor of your credibility and track-record
  • Make sure the site is accessible for different disabilities
Encouraging the visitor to take a next step, that could be enquiring, buying something etc
  • Have clear and simple contact details that remain visible at various points in the site/pages (sticky headers and footers)
  • Make sure phone numbers have click to call functionality – particularly for mobile browsers
  • Feature a live chat facility to answer visitors’ questions
  • Have an out of ours number to avoid missing enquiries/sales when the office/business is shut
  • Create an online booking service so the visitor can book there and then
  • For ecommerce sites, ensure the purchase and payment process is quick and easy. Also be clear up front about delivery options and costs
  • Also for ecommerce sites, have the highest level of security certificate in place to reassure customers it is safe to buy online from you

Website statistics you can’t afford to ignore.

Adam wrapped up the session by sharing fascinating statistics that have an impact on the way organisations develop and manage their websites. 

  1. When searching on Google, the average first page result of search findings contains 1,890 words.
  2. It takes a visitor just 0.5 seconds to form an opinion of a website that determines whether they like the site or not, and whether they’ll stay or leave.
  3. When it comes to the speed of a website, Amazon has said one second of load lag time would cost It $1.6billion in sales in a year.
  4. 94% of people won't trust a site If It looks out of date.

Summary

So what are the basics for having a good online presence? As it always has been, it’s still important to:

You also need to comply with an ever-increasing range of privacy and marketing regulations, this affects how you collect, transfer and store data, the cookies you use on your site and the content you have.

A big thank you to Adam Gardner for facilitating such an insightful and stimulating session.

If you would like to join our future Business Club events, please contact the Shipleys’ Godalming team for more information.

Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary, if you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.

Copyright © Shipleys LLP 2020

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