Many of the clients I encounter fall into three categories: independent agents, entrepreneurs/start-ups or established small businesses. These companies are looking for a cost-effective way to grow their business. Their main concerns involve cash flow and time constraints. What’s the question most want to be answered? How can I retain customers and attract new ones without breaking the bank?

Unfortunately, the answer is different for each industry and business. Variables like the target demographic, types of products and services offered and amount of industry competition will all affect your multi-channel marketing strategy.  However, the absolute necessity in online marketing is to have a clean, professional-looking, easily-accessible and navigable website to engage customers.

The vast majority of consumers research their options online before ever making contact with a business. What does that mean for you? If you don’t have a website or have an outdated website, you could be missing out on new customers.  More than that, you could be losing ones you already have to the competition who have already improved their online presence.

To make it easier for you to prioritize your updates, concentrate on these tips to hit the ground running.

Typing on computer

1. Content Is King Online

Having current, relevant content, whether that’s images, text, video and more that is engaging, actionable and impactful, is crucial. These pieces not only spark interest in your brand but keeps users on your site to learn more from the information and resources you provide. This can act as an extension of your narrative, humanizing your brand, tutorials discussing subjects that you are an expert on, or testimonials that showcase the problems you’ve solved for your clients and customers. The possibilities are endless as to the type of content you create, but the point is to keep producing it.

To keep your site fresh, you should use a content management system (CMS). When dollars are a concern and cost-savings are essential, these platforms are the best. Options like WordPress make it easy for businesses to update their sites themselves regularly. Once the site is constructed, the heavy lifting is done.  The next steps are to learn the ins and outs of your theme and plug-ins. These CMS platforms make this a very user-friendly and time-contentious process.

Website navigation

2. Keep Your Website Navigation Simple

You don’t want users to get lost on your site, so make sure to keep your navigation as simple. Most users are familiar with navigation bars on the top of the page. These menus include all the most essential pages on your website. They’ll know what to expect when browsing your site. It’s also essential to avoid adding extraneous pages. You don’t want to clutter your navigation with a bunch of tabs, opting for more content-rich pages than a ton of pages with little content.

Construct your site from the perspective of your ideal user. The best way to start is by pretending you know nothing about your business. Does your navigation allow someone to quickly get to the information that answers their questions about your products and services? If you’re having a hard time being objective, it never hurts to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.

Typing a blog

3. Start Blogging

No one knows the ins-and-outs of your business like you do. Take the time to produce valuable insights online that you can share with your clients or customers regularly. A blog is a perfect way to further your brand’s narrative by keeping people informed on how your story and perspective are unique. Some examples of blog content are answering frequently asked questions, presenting case studies, or offering tips to improve your readers’ lives.

Having a blog allows you to optimize your website content to improve search engine results. Also, you signal to your prospects and customers that you’re doing a lot of the leg work for them. They’ll see that you’re active and engaged, providing helpful information and sharing meaningful experiences. This all leads to your professional credibility and inspires customer loyalty. You don’t just have to sit down and write. Content can come in other forms, like images or videos. So be sure to include visuals like photography, illustrations, animations, or infographics to keep your visitors engaged and coming back for more.

Phone with friend requests, comments and likes post it notes

4. Get Social

Your customers aren’t just asking Google about the products and services they need. They’re often on at least two or more social media channels daily, multiple times a day. Why miss an opportunity to be present where they’re most active? If you follow the steps above, then you’re creating content for your site. Don’t only let those materials live on your website. Use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest to showcase that content and drive traffic to your website.

By using social media platforms, you’re showing your customers that you’re active and engaged, you care about their preferences, and you’re looking to connect with them on a more personal level. But it’s important to remember that your social accounts are for you to be social. You don’t want to beat your prospects and customers over the head with overly salesy posts. Stick to the 80/20 rule. For 80% of your posts, you should be providing resources and insights. Then, for 20% of your posts, you can promote your business itself. Following this tactic will strengthen trust and the relationships you’re building with your customers. You’re not just building for today, but you’re setting the framework for the future. Last but not least, don’t forget to link your social profiles on your website! That makes it easy for your customers to get to your page to follow you!

Website landing page on laptop screen

5. Identify Your Value

Do you know why someone should work with you? Don’t make your potential customers search through pages and pages of your site to find that out. On average, site visitors are willing to invest 30 seconds to interpret the value you can bring to them. Have your company’s value proposition featured front-and-center on your website’s homepage, preferably ‘above the fold,’ meaning that it is visible without requiring the user to scroll down.

Be sure to be concise and direct when creating and displaying your value proposition. The font should be legible across multiple screen types and sizes. This should go without saying in today’s digital age, but as a last bit of advice, make sure your site renders appropriately across mobile devices! You’ll want to make sure your value proposition appears at the very top of the screen, no matter how a customer visits your site.

Armed with these tips, you can start building your online presence and spreading your brand’s narrative efficiently and effectively. Paired with a solid SEO strategy, you’ll position your website and your business for success.