Penny Elmslie, head of marketing at Xero in Australia, recently likened your business website to the front door or garden of your house. Does it make visitors want to enter the house and find out more about the person that lives there? Or do you have to climb over various obstacles and go on a maze of paths to enter?
Here are 5 ways you can ensure you’re sending the right messages to your clients and leads online, without having to invest large amounts of time or money:
#1. An easily editable website
Your website should be clean, inviting, uncluttered and present your services extremely well. It should also always be up to date. Changing your phone number or writing a blog should be as easy as amending a Word document. Therefore, you need to have full access to the back-end of your site to update content as required. Choose your website designer wisely to ensure that you don’t end up in a situation where you’re paying someone twice your own hourly rate just to make simple changes! This allows you to regularly update blog content, tweak and amend wording, or post specials, deals or promotions as you need.
#2. Plan your posts
We all feel the expectation to get involved with social media, and while it is certainly important for giving you a voice to existing and new clients, you do need to ensure you’re taking a strategic approach to your posts to keep your interactions regular and meaningful. Create a basic quarterly plan for your posts then make a time to schedule them in each week for the week ahead. It’s easier to spend half an hour in one sitting getting these loaded and ready to go, rather than trying to find (or remember to find) time throughout the week.
#3. Drive traffic
An ongoing stream of advertising and irrelevant information can make social media get in the way of what you’re actually wanting to communicate to your existing and new clients. At least every 10th social media post should be focussed on driving traffic to your website - which you of course have carefully crafted to present you and your business in the best possible way. This is where blog posts are important as you can link through to them from your social media accounts and keep your audience returning to your site, engaging with your business and sharing your content with their own networks.
#4. Choose your channels
Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… the thought of having to manage multiple social media channels can feel overwhelming and leave you wondering where to begin. Different social channels can be effective for various reasons, but you must ask yourself, will you be able to dedicate the time and efforts to keep all your social media streams active? There’s nothing worse than finding a company’s Instagram account with just 1 or 2 posts. Concentrate on one or two social channels and do them well.
Twitter and LinkedIn are generally very effective for bookkeepers when it comes to promoting their services, sharing expertise, finding leads and networking with industry contacts. Have a look at how other bookkeepers are using social media and the kind of content they are sharing to gain an understanding of what’s effective. Also consider the social streams that your target audience are using to help you decide where to concentrate your efforts.
#5. Be mobile-friendly
We’ve all heard how important mobile is, so what does that mean for you? Some recent figures have suggested that over 50% of search is now being done on a mobile device, and just look around you! Who’s not on their mobile right now? Being ‘mobile-friendly' means your website should automatically resize content for mobile/tablet. Google recently stated that websites not optimised for mobile view will drop in search engine rankings. so if your site isn't mobile friendly, this needs fixing right now. There’s a free Google tool that will help you test your site.
If you’re in business for yourself, it can be hard to juggle time working on your business and working in your business. Getting these online marketing fundamentals set up well right from the start will help you establish efficient processes for maintaining and strengthening your online presence, without having to dedicate lots of time. After all, the less you have to worry about when it comes to your business, the more books you get to read, more time with your kids and all the more weekend breakfasts in peace you’ll have!