Monthly Archives: February 2012

Setting up a Google+ business page

Google+ has recently launched business pages and the good news is they can really help your search engine optimisation if you set them up with keywords in mind.

And what’s even better – they are relatively simple to set up (but, like Facebook, you do need a personal profile first).

If you haven’t got a personal profile yet, go to Google+,  and follow the instructions. Make sure you use your real name (Google frowns upon pseudonyms) and fill in the information about employment, education, places you have lived and so one. That way, if people search on these keywords, your profile will pop up.

Before you set up your business page, have a little play around and familiarise yourself with the circles, hangouts and so on. See if you can find people you know, clients, customers, friends, associates, and add them to your circles.

Once you have the personal page sorted, go to your profile and look about half way down on the right of the screen. You will see a multi-coloured (blue, green, black and yellow) square button which read “create a Google+ page”. Click it.

You can then choose the type of business and fill in the details. One thing that is really important, and that Google+ does better than Facebook or Twitter, is that you can described your business better because more characters are allowed in the business name.

So don’t just write “Joe’s Autos”, but instead “Motor vehicle mechanic Joe’s Autos”; don’t be “Pretty Designs”, but “Girls’ clothing by Pretty Designs”. This means you are more likely to be found by people looking for your product or service.

Make sure you click the box so that your business page is visible to any Google+ user, otherwise you may as well not exist (but be careful if your product is restricted from sale to minors).

You then get the opportunity to add a tagline or meta description. This is your chance to write a catchy, keyword-rich statement explaining what it is you do. It might be your existing business tagline or it might be a short descriptive message.

Then start promoting your page through your existing circles, as look for networking opportunities in your field.

Voila – you have a Google+ business page. Enjoy seeing what Google+ has to offer and we’ll have a later post on how to optimise your page.

Direct Sites Online can set up you Google business page, as well as help with any social media marketing. Call us now on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au.

 

Converting website visitors to customers

Here at Direct Sites Online, we often hear from businesses confused because they getting a lot of website visitors, but only a very low percentage of visitors become customers.

When we look at their current site, it’s usually obvious why the conversion is low – and it’s often because they haven’t paid attention to the following five principles.

Relevancy

It’s important that the language on your site appeals to your target audience. Otherwise they will visit, but they are unlikely to convert. Or maybe the benefits of your product or service are not immediately obvious on your landing page.

Another problem could be that you are targeting the wrong keywords in your Adwords or other online advertising campaigns, which means when people visit your site it might not be what they are actually looking for.

Put simply, relevance means that you have the right content for the right visitor at the time they are searching for it.

Identify your audience

A website is not just an online brochure marketing your product or service – it’s not something you can create and then leave alone, hoping it will capture all possible customers.

So the first step is to identify your different target audiences and then create content to suit. And the content may change. One day, you could want to attract 18-year old school leavers, then next day it may be families with kids – it’s impossible to make an entire website relevant to all visitors.

Your landing pages needs to reflect this, and needs to be tweaked regularly depending on the audience you are targeting in any particular campaign.

Calls to action

What do you want a visitor to do when they land on your page? Make a phone call? Send an email? Buy your e-book? Sign up to you newsletter? Browse and purchase products? You need to make this objective very clear through your calls to action.

And you need to make it very simple as well, don’t make your visitor search for your shopping cart, or your sign-up form, or your contact details. Remember, you have, at most, about 10 seconds to capture a first-time visitor’s attention.

The devil’s in the detail

If your objective is for people to sign up to your newsletter, you just need their name and email address. You don’t need to know what their business is, or why they want your product. You have time to ask them that later.

Same goes for selling a product – don’t use your sales funnel as a market research tool until AFTER their have completed the transaction.

A lot of businesses make the mistake or wanting all sorts of information up front, in case the customer never comes back. But guess what, asking too much may mean they are never a customer in the first place.

This is part of the conversion process that makes potential customers confident in your product or brand. Related to this is the security of the check out. If you can, it’s best to allow people to pay by credit card, PayPal or direct debit.

Be analytical

Use services such as Google Analytics to find out precisely where you are losing visitors, so you can determine what needs improvement.

If you’re not happy with the conversion rates on your website, contact Direct Sites Online now at info@directsitesonline.com.au or phone 02 9557 7623.

 

6 ways to use Pinterest to market your business

Just when you thought you had a handle on all the social media platforms out there – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more – one comes along that blows them all away.

The facts speak for themselves: In the second half of 2011, visits to Pinterest grew by 4000 per cent and it received 11 million hits in one week.

So it seems business owners– especially those in product wholesaling or retailing – need to take advantage of this impressive growth.

For those unaware, Pinterest is kind of a virtual pinboard where users can “pin” things that interest them.

And there are definitely some great marketing opportunities there and, like other social media options, it’s a great way to drive traffic to your website and, because its users are highly engaged, interesting “pins” can go viral very quickly.

Try these 6 ideas for starters:

Product promotion

This one is pretty obvious. If you are a retailer or wholesaler, Pinterest is an excellent way to display your wares. You can add the price and direct users straight to your online shop. This is great for those of you who are selling hand-made products, artworks, photography, fashion accessories and so on. But like any other social media platform, it pays to do more than just promote yourself – offer up other tidbits to your visitors. For example, if you are a photographer, by all means display your own creations, but also “pin” other beautiful photographs.

Show some personality

Social media is a fantastic way to show the person or people behind a product, and Pinterest is no different. You can pin photos of your office, your desk and your team to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.

Hold a contest, or offer an exclusive discount.

Get your visitors interested in your brand and “repin” your products by holding a contest or offering an exclusive “Pinterest only” deal. By seeing what people are repining, these are also great ways to find out which of your products are the most popular.

Market Research

As indicated above, Pinterest can be a useful place to undertake basic market research into your product and marketing. Pin photos of current products and those in development and seek feedback. Treat your Pinterest visitors like a virtual focus group by also showing planned advertising, packaging and more.

Inspiration

Inspire your customers by offering ideas on how to use your product. For example, if you’re a fashion designer or retailer, show them what accessories go well with what outfits. Or if you’re a hairstylist or makeup artist, post photos of appropriate styles and colours for certain skin tones/body types.

Engagement

All the above tips are forms of customer engagement. By regular two-way communication, Pinterest is a great way to get people personally involved in your brand. It’s not for everyone – nothing is – but if your target audience is women between 25-44 (the biggest group on Pinterest), then it’s something worth considering.

Direct Sites Online helps business with all aspects of social media marketing – including Pinterest. To find out more, email us on info@directsitesonline.com or phone 02 9557 7623.

 

Four simple steps to getting online

Is your company one of the 51 per cent of Australian small businesses without a website? Did you know that getting online is as easy as 1-2-3? And then a bonus fourth step promoting your site.

So where do you start?

1. Get a domain name.

That’s the yourbusiness.com web address by which people find your website. Think of it as an online street address. It’s called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator – not that this matters) and it’s your unique identifier. There are various “extensions”, such as .com, .net, .org and there is also the option to add the region on the end (.au, .uk, etc).

When you register your domain name, it’s like your licence to use the specific web address for a period of time. It’s best to use your company name, if you can. That way, people can “guess” your URL if they know the name of your company.

2. Web hosting

Once you get your domain name, you will be looking for a web host. Put simoply, this is a company that rents server space for your website. It’s like leasing an office or shopfront. There are various different website hosting packages, so it pays to shop around. But beware, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are some very cheap hosting options out there, but they don’t always offer the reliability and customer service you may need.

3. Web design

The next step is to design your website. This involves working out what you need – a blog? A shopping cart? A portfolio? And again, shopping around. And when it comes to the web, design is more than prettying thingsd up – it needs to be functional, user friendly and accessible.There are some do-it-yourself templates, but if you want a professional looking site, it’s best to seek professional help. And remember, design is not static – a website that is cutting-edge today, maybe outdated in a few years. So it pays to constantly review and renew.

4. Promotion – the bonus step!

Whether you want to sell products, provide a service or even just increase brand awareness, there is little point having a website if no-one knows it exists. So it’s vital that your website is found when your target audience types certain keywords into Google and other search engines. So your content and design needs to be search engine friendly, and you need to consider off-page search engine optimisation such as backlinks and directory listings.

With our all-inclusive packages, Direct Sites Online can get your business on the internet now. Contact us on info@directsitesonline.com.au or call 02 9557 7623.

 

Six simple ways to deal with negative Facebook comments

One of the myriad of reasons small (and other) business give for not venturing into the social media sphere is that it opens them up to online criticism. But, guess what, even the most conscientious business cops some flack at times, and most successful business realise that a complaint (even an unjustified one) can be great for quality control.

Whether the issue is one of product quality, service level or even a misunderstanding, social media is a great tool for addressing the customer’s concern, working together for a solution, and hopefully showing others how much you care.

So, what should you do if someone posts a negative comment on your Facebook page? You’ll see it really isn’t much different than addressing complaints made in person, by phone or by email.

  • Acknowledge publicly, but address privately: The first thing you need to do is to post a reply on the page – something along the lines of: “Thank you for taking the time to raise this issue with us, we will contact you privately to discuss your concern.” This shows the customer that you care, but that you are not willing to air your or their dirty laundry in public. The last thing you want is a slanging match on your Facebook page. For one thing it is likely to attract other critics.
  • Apologise: Nothing takes the wind out of an angry customer’s sails quite the two little words “I’m sorry” (closely followed by “thank you”). Even if the issue appears at first glance to be unreasonable, it doesn’t hurt to apologise – at least for the fact that they feel slighted.
  • Be clear in your policies: Let’s say, for instance, the complaint is about your returns’ policy, or postage guarantee, or even how many design drafts are allowed as part of the initial quote. If you can refer the customer to a clear, easily-accessible written policy, your argument is made for you. If you can’t, well their argument is. And if the latter is the case, then refund the postage cost/do the extra edits/welcome their return. And learn from it.
  • Remain patient: So, you’ve taken the issue off line, but the customer keeps posting on your page anyway. The key is to stay calm and not return fire with fire. Each time they post, you are free to keep answering that you would prefer the issue be dealt with privately. If you do this patiently and consistently, it is the customer who will seem a fool to your other likers. If this continues unabated, and it looks like a no-win situation, then step away – your other fans will soon see this customer for the troll her or she is.
  • Resolve the issue quickly: And then either ask the customer to remove their original post, or is they won’t then there’s no really harm in posting an update yourself on that first post explaining how it was resolved.
  • Ban the customer: This is really the last-gasp option. But if a resolution can’t be found, and the customer is unreasonable and persistent, then ban them. The risk you run is that they will still post nasty comment about you elsewhere – kind of like talking behind your back – which you won’t be in a position to defend. But on the upside, their nasty comments won’t appear in your other fans’ newsfeeds.

Direct Sites Online can help you set up your Facebook page, as well as give you an overview of  Facebook etiquette. Contact us now on info@directsitesonline.com or 02 9557 7623.