Five Fundamentals for Managing a Small Business Web Site William Garnsey E-Commerce Chair
Fundamentals for running any Web Business 1. What is your purpose? 2. How do you measure success? 3. Who knows you? 4. What are your resources? 5. What is your plan?
1. What is your purpose? What is the purpose of your site? Selling product, gaining members, informing customers? Does your site consistently achieve this purpose?? Can a new visitor to your site know what your business is in 5 seconds? Will they understand you and your business by your web site?
Defining your purpose In in-person sales you have your elevator pitch. Your home page is your elevator pitch for the Web. It must be clear and focused. Define what you want to achieve with your web presence, then step-back and see if you are successful. Two critical areas are messaging and usability According to Forrester Research – 71% of site visitors prefer sites that are clear and easy to use. 12% prefer entertaining and 6% prefer multi- media
Quick & Free Usability Testing 5 sec flash - Have a new customer (fresh eyes) look at your web site for 5 sec and ask them what is your business? Less than 3 seconds is average site examination time 30 sec review – Ask a critical person to spend 30 sec on your site, then have them explain your business You need enemies, not friends – a critical, sober appraisal of your web identity is golden
2. How do your measure success? Was is your measure? Sales, newsletter sign-ups, queries, traffic stats Define your success then track it (weekly) Web Stats Key Measures: Visitors & Conversion (How much traffic does the site get? do they buy? do they return?) Page Views, PV per visit & time on site Top content (what are they looking at) Bounce rate (1 page visit) Traffic sources (Where do they come from and how do they find you?)
More about metrics Define your metrics Find out what your industry standard conversion is Stats will guide you on how to optimize your site Free (Powerful) tools from Google Google Analytics (traffic stats) Google Optimizer (A/B testing) Google Keyword Finder (find what people are looking for)
3. Who knows you? Can your site be found on the Web? Found by name alone? Found by industry, location, service, product???? If you aren’t on the first page of results, you are lost Less than 1% (.66) of web users click to a second page 79% of visits click only on the top 3 sites listed
Are you working the 3 “S’s”? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Where you rank in natural search results? SE’s try to rank sites by authority & credibility. Your long-term goals should be to reach the top three for your specifically targeted queries. This takes time, effort and planning. But is also THE most beneficial and lasting strategy you can engage in. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Buying ads. This is a short-term strategy that could pay off big while you are working your SEO. Google Adwords is the most common. But there are lots of ad platforms. SEM can be very successful if you know your purpose, know your key metrics and track your results. SM (Social Media) Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, GroupOn, etc… Where do these tools factor in marketing your business?
4. What are your resources? It is a factor of time and money that creates online success Time Lots of free or inexpensive tools that can help a small company look BIG. But it takes time and knowledge to use these tools. Do you possess the knowledge or staff to plan, implement and follow-through? Money There is a lot of outside help available that can be contracted to build and expand your web business. The correct team can achieve amazing results quickly. If you know your metrics and track them consistently, you can accurately measure the performance of your consultants and ensure delivery of the services rendered.
5. What is your plan? Many people build a site then ignore it Visitors know when someone is asleep at the wheel Home page hasn’t been updated for months “News” dated 2007 “Coming soon” messages Copyright “2009” They will abandon (bounce) your site and never come back
The Remedy – You Need a Plan You need to know your purpose, know what success looks like, have a marketing strategy and identify who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining. Parts of your plan will include: Marketing calendar Online editorial calendar Process for updating and merchandising your pages and products Consistent tracking and reporting of stats and metrics
Why is this important Online retail commerce expected to exceed $200 billion this year Last year online retail grew by 11% overall retail 2.2% Online retail expected growth to average 8% over the next five years As a Small Business, ONLINE RETAIL is an opportunity for you to compete and create a powerful niche for your business
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