The habits of consumers have changed over time. The old way of thinking where you just saw the sign, saw the location, you walked in and you just started doing business… doesn’t actually work anymore. In fact, in some cases, an old referral is not as powerful as it used to be.
It’s interesting to see that with the growth of social media and the abundance of information, we’re seeing that a lot of consumers are making decisions based on research online. More importantly, what third parties are saying about your business.
Before they even decide to show up at your door or opt-in at a website or buy your product online, consumers do their own research. They’re actually holding reviews and what people are saying about you online in a stronger position than even a personalized referral.
Imagine a prospect getting a referral about you. They go online and see that you have a one-star review while the guy above you have fifteen 5-star reviews. When they see that, it’ll just put doubt in their mind and the first thing they’re going to do is go straight to the other person regardless of how good the buddy referral is.
One thing to take in consideration is how Google is classifying a business as relevant has a lot to do with how they are showing up online. Google has this recommendation system called Google TrustRank. It’s Google basically saying that, “I trust this business at this rate and I’m willing to recommend them to this much audience.”
What Google wants to see is that a business has the same name online, across a lot of platforms. They want to see the same name, the same address, the same phone number on 20 or so different locations. Once they do, they’ll be able to say, “Ok, this business is established, it’s relevant and I’m willing to recommend it to my customer.”
The next thing they want to see is do people like the business? Are they talking about them in a positive way? Are they leaving reviews on Google, on Facebook and all these different platforms?
They also want to see if the business care? Does the business respond?
The quicker a business responds to reviews, the more relevant they become online. Even if it’s a bad comment, as long as they respond, it’ll show that they do care.
First, let’s scan the business. Let’s see how they’re showing up online. We got to know where we are before we even know where we’re going to go. This way, the business owner will know how he stacks up against his competitors.
This will give the business an idea of where their current position is and based on that information we can actually create a pathway that grows their relevance online.
Once we have the baseline of where you are, we can then say that for you to have a strategic edge in the marketplace you need to expand what different businesses are saying about you. In other words, listings online.
Are you on Google, Facebook and the different platforms out there that are relevant?
And then where are you at when it comes to reviews?
How many reviews do you have in total and what is your average star rating?
Once we have these information, we will then be able to give you a framework. For example, for you to really stand out, you need to get your business to 20 or so reviews.
Businesses tend to just leave reviews alone. They don’t know how relevant reviews are until they lost a business because of a review.
It’s important for you to proactively ask your customers for reviews. You might think that this is hard and consumes a lot of time but there are tools that makes it easy for you to get feedback from your customers.
The idea is, to be able to get a lot of feedback, whether it’s good or bad. If the review is good, then do it more consistently. If not, then learn what you need to do to make your service and the customer experience better. Reviews will also show your future customers that you really care.
The main thing that you really need to do is ask for feedback. If you don’t lay it out as a strategy, soon enough, you’ll forget about it. Having an online presence is crucial for your business to grow and reviews is just one of the components.
What we’re aiming here is for you to have an overall strategy rather than just using tactics. You need to ask yourself, who do you want to be to your customers? What do you want your customers to feel when they buy your product or service? When you know the answers to these questions, you can then build your online presence around based on this.
A lot of businesses don’t even know what they love about their own products or services until someone asks them what they want their customers to say about them.
You can’t turn your customers into raving fans if you don’t know the answer to that question. If you got 50 raving fans out there marketing for your business, it’ll be so much easier for you to be able to sell your products and services.
Get clear on what you want your reputation to be. Once you’re clear on what you want people to say about you, then start thinking about how you grow into that.
To do that obviously is to reach out to your existing customers and say, “Hey! You’ve been in a solid relationship with my firm for an X amount of time, would you mind leaving me review so I can better serve people just like you?”
If you’ve treated your customers well, they would love to leave you a good review. Especially if giving you a feedback is as easy as just clicking a link in a text or an email or some other way that doesn’t make it necessary for them to log in to their Google or Facebook accounts.
It’s really easy to grow your online presence with reviews. However, you need to be found first. You got to be present on multiple different locations.
Being visible online is crucial for a business to grow. It might be a tedious task to register your business on 20 or so different platforms, but that can be easily resolved.
What’s important is for the customers to find you, for them to to be able to trust you and then to decide to work with you.
So the baseline is, know how you want to show up and then how to reach out to the people that you care and trust to talk about you online in a positive way. And then build your business and practices to sustain and add more credibility to your reputation.
A Website With a Purpose
Another thing is, for your online presence to work, you got to have a website. A good solid website gives you good solid presence. It’ll show that you are professional if you’re using your website domain as your email and not @gmail.com emails.
We’ve seen so many people who have paid somebody $399 or more to build a basic website without really understanding what the purpose of the website is. Others treat them as internet business cards, which are usually just thrown into the bin.
Your website needs to have a purpose. A purpose to engage and communicate to the customer.
If your website is just going to be a business card on steroids, you’re going to MANUALLY drive all the traffic there. But if you really want something that’s going to work for you and your online digital presence, then have a good understanding of what’s the purpose your website.
Don’t Get Left Out on Social Media
Businesses need to be on social media.
Major corporations are driving the majority of their ad spend on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, all these social media platforms. These shows that these platforms are doing the heavy lifting of driving traffic to their websites.
Start creating these habits on being recognized within the social platforms. Being online on these platforms can be done manually but we all know how easy it is to be distracted on social media.
Most small businesses don’t know where to start when it comes to online presence. But the thing is, when you make websites, also make sure that you are present on the major social media platforms.
Make sure that they’ve got a Facebook page, they’ve got a LinkedIn profile, they should have Google+ set up, it’s not as important as before but Google loves it so you’ve got to do it.
The important things are having the same presence or the same image across all of the platforms and to make it easy for you to posts things and be able to do engage, you need to have an understanding of what to say and how to say it.
If small businesses aren’t on social media, then they’re missing out.
It might be difficult at first, but your plan should consist of having consistency on your website and social media. Some business owners might not be used to it and could easily get lost and have their timed consumed.
There’s a lot of software that could help you on posting and being present on social media. However, pumping the software is pointless if you don’t actually have any plan.
So before anything else, it’s important for you to have a good plan, a good consistent message and a goal you’re trying to accomplish.
But how do you know if you’re plan is working? If it’s working, how do you do more of it? If it’s not working, how do you make a quick decision so that you’re not wasting any more money.
That means you got to have some form of tracking and tracking plan. Tracking can help you optimize and improve on your process.
Appropriate Tracking Models
First, in order to track outcomes, you need to have basic analytics across to your websites.
A lot of people don’t understand that. I’ve seen so many websites built where they’ve been built by designer and they haven’t put any Google Analytics or any analytics at all on the website.
It’s also good to actually able to see Facebook analytics and to see what’s happening on your website in just one platform.
Without analytics, you wouldn’t be able to tell how many people are viewing your website. You wouldn’t even know if a lot of people stay on your website. It’s fascinating to see that people will spend so much money on their websites and yet don’t track the results of the website.
It’s like what’s the point of having a business card if you don’t know if people are reading it or doing something with.
One of the things we found is business owners spend money on marketing, but they don’t test and measure. And it’s the same thing in today’s world. Digital marketing can be very expensive if you don’t know what’s going on with it.
You can spend money on AdWords and you can just blow your budget in it in hours because you’re not tracking at all.
Most of the time, business owners don’t know how to set it up or it’s not done properly. You’ve got to know that the algorithms are going to take three or four days before it cuts in. You spend low first and then spend high once you know that the keywords are going to work for you.
Even professionals, if they don’t have the goals clearly defined, if they don’t have the baseline set, then they don’t know what to track.
Having your tracking set up can help you understand where you can make financial decisions quickly and see if your marketing is working. If you can’t track it, you’ll just throw more money in it, without even knowing that it’s not giving you any profit in return. can’t track it if it’s working you throw
We have this software that lets you see what’s working and what’s not working. You can see whether people are opening reviews. It gives you tracking across the whole platform so you can see what’s going on your funnel. You can tell whether your websites’ working, what’s working on social media.
Schedule posts and part of it is you don’t have to sit and write a post everyday. You can schedule all but at the same time you can see which topics are having a lot of conversions.
See what pages on your website are converting or how long people are staying on your website.
Content is King
Understanding the metrics can help you find out what sort of topics people are actually interested in. That way, you can write more about them. Again, this saves you time.
In our research we found that the fourth component to social presence is consistent and valuable content. A lot of business out there are falling under the trap that what they think is valuable is the same as what they think is valuable for their customers. That is not the case.
Customers have their desires and their needs and your content should be able to show them what solutions you bring.
Sometimes the simplest post on social media drives the most traffic and relevance. Consistently posting on social media is a strategy to increase engagement and make it easier for your prospects and customers to reach out to you.
With our scheduling platform, you can start seeing what your customers like and then you can start doing relevant and consistent content that meets their needs.
We know that sometimes, it’s hard to create content. What you need to do is go and find out the fears, frustrations, wants and aspiration of your clients. Know what they are really looking for and don’t just talk about your products.
When a business talk about their products, it’s mostly about features and “about me”. What you want to do is find out what’s in it for your prospects? What’s the thing that’s keeping them up at night? Find out what they’re out what they’re interested in.
Educate your prospects with posts about what’s happening in the industry or write a content on what they are frustrated about. Teach them the right questions they should ask to be able to receive better quality service. It could also be about do’s and don’ts.
Another example is, you can build a guide that your prospects can download from your website. After downloading the guide, you can send them to a series of emails asking how did they go with the guide and offering your help in the end.
Basically, your educating the prospects with content first while at the same time, guiding them through the Buyers Journey. You will not come out as a pushy or salesy salesman because you gave them value first.
The more value you give them, the higher the chances are of having them as your client.
So in other words, don’t ask them for anything yet. Give them something they need and then offer how your business can help them get what they really want.
So you’ve got a good plan, a strong baseline and a solid foundation built through systems and tools. You also have tracking so you can optimize and improve on what’s working which can help you create a consistent and valuable content model.
So what else do you need?
We’ll it’s building a relationship with your prospects and clients.
The way businesses sell before is to ‘press hard, three copies’.
The way we do business now is more about a relationship through the sales process by doing follow ups.
Building relationships is not just to just keep talking about your products but engaging with the people.
Engage with your people through emails and social media. They will be more likely to buy from you if they like you and see that you are trustworthy. They will not know if you can be trusted if you don’t talk to them.
Build that relationship at the beginning. Make sure you follow through in that relationship by giving them good content.
Don’t mention price at first. You’re better off showing them value first through relatable content and then when you’ve gauge that they are ready, make them go through the sales process.
It all seems like hard work, but if you got this online presence mastered and you’ve got good engagement, good relationships, good reviews and all those sort of things – then the sales process goes from being a one to a ten.
It’s better to put 1% of effort and get ten times the result rather than 10% or 100% of effort and get 10% of the result.
It’s engagement that makes people go like, “Oh we trust this person. We like them. Let’s give them a go.”
At the end of the day, you still need to make sure that you’re going to be able to deliver your product and service in a way that people are going to like it.
So again, it comes back to having a great relationship with your customers. Your clients wouldn’t say leave a great feedback about your business if they didn’t experience it in the first place.
If you build a good relationship with your clients, it’s easy to ask them for a feedback. And with our software, it’ll be as easy as clicking a link.
A tip, after you have provided them with a great service, ask them immediately if it’s okay for you to send them a review request. That way, they’ll be expecting to receive the request and their mind will be more than ready to give you a feedback.
Reviews help people in their buying decisions. If you can, go and ask your previous clients to leave a feedback so that you can improve your service. This will help you get a big leap in obtaining a bigger number of good reviews.
So to start your online presence journey, you firstly need to know your current online presence score by going to www.edentitypro.com/score.
No pressure, you can just go through it and have a look on how you score online. The good thing about that is, once you know your score, you can at least figure what you need to fix.
There might be a lot of things to fix after that, but what’s important right now is to find out where your business currently stands. So again, go to www.edentitypro.com/score and find out your online score.