I was talking to a client the other day and he said something that startled me.
He said that only about 15% of SMBs are actively marketing their website.
In some sectors might even be worse. Estimates by the Automotive Services Association—the official association of auto repair shops and collision shops—show that less than 50% of companies in the automotive sector even have websites.
If that’s true it is very startling. It shows the industry has a lot of room for improvement.
Before I get into the ways your website might be failing, let’s talk about success. We have a fairly large retail client based in South Carolina. For years, they didn’t put much thought or money into their website. Their website looked like something from 1997. Not. Good. They had no idea how many people visited their site and they didn’t know how many calls it was generating. (i.e. how many people called after visiting their site).
They simply didn’t know.
In January they decided they would start tracking web traffic with Google Analytics and start tracking phone calls with Convirza. To their surprise, they realized their website was actually generating several hundred phone calls a month. This stunned them. They had no idea.
So, using this newfound knowledge, they diverted their marketing resources to redesigning their site and, for the first time, actually marketing their site. And guess what? In May their site generated 1489 phone calls. That’s an increase of about 300% from January.
Google says that 97% of Internet users (which is about 80% of the adult population in the U.S.) search for a local business online before making a buying decision. With that information in mind, it is critical to have a good website, market that website and track whether that marketing is successful. But, sadly, many companies don’t do it effectively. Here are 9 reasons your website might be failing:
1) You Don’t Have a Website
Research across a variety of industries shows that only around 50% of small businesses have websites. This is particularly a problem in some segments of the automotive industry.
We know that much of the auto repair industry, for example, is referral based. People tell their friends you did a good job on their car and so their friend visits the shop. That’s great. However, as the population ages and people from 25-34 increasingly turn to social media and Google to make decisions about where to take their car, you will need a website. It is going to become ever more difficult to get new customers without a website. Get a website.
The first solution is to hire someone to build a website for you. Make sure you get a number of price quotes before you make a decision. The other option is to use a cheap service that will host your website and allow you to add pictures and content at will.
2) You Have a Bad Website – We’ve all seen sites that look like they haven’t been updated since the Clinton administration. These are websites that look like the old house on your block that’s boarded up and vacant. It’s obvious no one has cleaned up in a while. Look at your website and honestly evaluate if it needs a redesign.
3) No Phone Numbers – This one stuns us. There are way too many websites that don’t have phone numbers prominently on them. Remember, in the automotive sector, a phone call is still the preferred way customers want to interact with you.
Your potential customers want to call you. They want to talk to a real person. And the most obvious and simple place for them to get your phone number is on your website.
Make it easy for them by putting a phone number on the top of your website.
4) You Don’t Track Web Traffic
If you have a website, you need to care about the number of people that visit your website. The best way to track this web traffic is with Google Analytics. You can sign up for a free Google Analytics in about 5 minutes. Google Analytics will show you a bunch of cool stuff that may (or may not) interest you. But, the main thing it will show you is this: how many people are visiting your site and how they found your site.
5) You Don’t Track Phone Calls
We recommend putting a local or toll free number from us (or another call tracking provider) on your website. The number rings directly to your business no differently than it does right now. The only difference is that you can log in to Convirza.com and track how many people are calling you after seeing your website. You can see who they are and where they’re calling from. You can even hear the phone calls themselves and determine if your employees are selling effectively on the phone. (That is pretty eye-opening. Believe me). If you have a website, you need to put tracking phone numbers on the site so you can see how well your site is generating phone calls for you.
6) You Don’t Do SEO
One reason your website might be failing is because you aren’t doing any SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you want people to find you after doing a Google search, SEO is critical. There are entire blogs and websites devoted to teaching you how to do SEO, but here’s my recommendation: hire someone to do it. For a relatively small amount of money a month you can find a local SEO company that will be more than happy to optimize your site for keywords that will get people to find you.
7) You Don’t Use Google+
Recently Google announced they are killing Google Places and forcing every business in America jump on Google+. Google+ is Google’s version of Facebook. Here’s the reason it matters: when someone searches for a local business on Google, they are going to see your Google+ page if you have one. If you don’t, they won’t.
8) You Don’t Have a Facebook Page
Facebook is where the world gathers. Every business needs to have a presence on Facebook. You can post promotions, pictures, updates and even communicate directly with specific customers and potential customers on your Facebook page. You should post regularly and encourage people to comment on your posts and share your posts.
9) You Haven’t Thought About Mobile
More people will conduct searches on mobile devices than on ‘regular’ computers by 2013. That means more people will see your website on their mobile phone than on their regular computer by 2013. Now, we’re not saying you need to go out and start creating a mobile website today. But we are saying that you need to start thinking about it and then, in the next 6 -9 months, start moving.
My guess is that your website produces far more phone calls and far more customers than you give it credit for. Fix some of the problems we’ve outlined above and, like the company in our case study earlier in the article, you could see 300% more calls to your business in just a few months. And that means one thing for you? More money.