A Company Website is the Home Base of Internet Marketing

Google Ads, Facebook, social media, even printed material and brochures should drive potential customers to your online business “hub”

As we approach 2019, it sounds crazy, but we actually still come across a number of small businesses that do not have a website. This would be the equivalent of a business in the 1980’s or 1990’s not being listed in the Yellow Pages.

The internet is the way people search for products and services these days. So, the only reason it would be logical not to have a website is if a company has all the customers they will ever need. In other words, a company that does not need to attract new customers.

A strange phenomenon indeed, but possible.

Another situation we sometimes still see is a business with a very “outdated” website design. As time passes, the internet is forced to keep up with technology, which is constantly evolving. Every few years it’s a good idea to “refresh” a website, to keep pace with design trends and adapt for optimal viewing.

Today’s mobile responsive websites “adjust” their appearance to fit the device they are being viewed on. Users may surf the web on mobile phones, tablets, iPads, and desktop computers – a website should resize automatically depending on the device.

Just having a web presence may not be enough

For those with the mindset that they made a website once and they do not want to ever think about it again may be a little short sited. Are you driving the same car you did in college?

With so many websites competing for attention and consumer business, people shopping and researching online have a lot of options to choose from. They quickly judge a company by the “look” and functionality of a website. They make snap decisions to “buy” or “bounce” from a page depending on whether they can or can’t find what they’re looking for.

Perhaps a goal for online marketers should be to guide a prospective customer through a logical progression of steps, learning about the products or services and getting a solid idea of what the business is all about and making it easy for them to interact or make a purchase.

A website should serve as the central hub of online marketing

We sometimes run into business owners who believe Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media sites are fine for attracting new business. And most of them are free, right?

It is true that these are great places to be found, but we believe these social outlets should be thought of as casting a wider “net” to attract potential customers and bring them into a sales funnel.

The website is the final stage of the funnel before there is contact, maybe through email, or a phone call or some other means depending on the specific business or industry. Many products and services are simple, and can be purchased relatively risk free with the click of the mouse.

More complex purchases may require a conversation or deeper explanations to close the deal.

The point is this, the only two things in the online world that a company can truly control are its website and its email list.

With Facebook and other social media sites, decisions can be made by their corporate structures that will impact how content can be viewed – and by whom. And what is allowed today may not be in the future. If your online marketing depends on a third party platform, you will be at the mercy of their rules and protocols.

On the other hand, your website can always be under your control. You decide the layout. You decide the content. Your website is all about you. And it can allow you to walk prospect through a logical sales process with clear communication.

Our philosophy of advertising a business online is to use every means available. Figure out where your customers are spending their time on the web. Use social media, Google Ads, and Facebook Advertising to get their attention – then direct those prospects to your website where you can deliver a clear and concise message of the value you offer.

Reputation Management II

The Best Strategy is to Increase Online Reviews

When it comes to online customer reviews, it’s a numbers game. Statistically speaking, most comments are positive. So, constantly adding new customer feedback will push the negative comments to the bottom of the list

In our last article, we highlighted effective ways to handle negative reviews. As you learned, it doesn’t help to ignore them and hope they go away.

You must find a way to see them as opportunities to demonstrate your outstanding customer service by addressing them publicly and resolving them in a professional manner.

That being said, a way to dilute the impact of negative comments is to continuously ask for new comments and feedback.

Too often in our world as marketers we see situations where customers are happy to give testimonials and talk about a positive experience with a company or brand, if only they were asked!

This scenario can be avoided by simply putting in place a reputation management system, which automatically solicits feedback from a customer when certain criteria of the sale are met, or at other designated times in your customer relationship process.

Your what?! Yeah, it’s a mouthful. But the truth is, every business has it. Maybe more commonly referred to as “customer satisfaction.”

We’re talking about the sales cycle process – with the major steps being:

  1. The customer identifies a need
  2. They find out that your company offers a way to address the need
  3. They research and decide to contact you
  4. They learn more about your product or service
  5. Money is exchanged for the good or service.

Some industries have more pre-sale touch points, others require even less. It usually depends on the size, cost, and complexity of the purchase.

Throughout that process, the business employees build a customer relationship through “touch points”.

Within every process we find opportunities to ask for feedback. Typically, it’s asked for after the sale, but it could be requested at other points in the process.

Here’s the main point

In reality, a majority of shoppers, clients, and customers will not leave reviews. Face it, we’re just too dang busy to leave a comment every time we’re asked. Think about your own habits for a moment – how many times a week do you click “No Thanks” to an online survey request?

But, every so often we do. Or, a company makes it so easy for us to respond, that before we’ve thought about it, we’ve participated and moved on.

Now, there’s two times we are “likely” to leave a review. One if we’re incredibly pleased – something was better or easier than expected. It actually feels good to tell others we got a great deal – or tremendous value!

The other time we’re likely to review – When we’re extremely pissed off!! We want people not to fall for the same trap – we rail against society and the evils of corporate America!!!

In fact, we’re probably more likely to go out of our way to leave a negative review when we feel we’ve been duped!

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s no wonder that sometimes we find businesses online that don’t have a good reputation – and sometimes it may not be their fault.

The few customers who had trouble, wrote about it.

While the vast majority of customers had a wonderful experience but did not go out of their way to write about it – so those voices aren’t being heard.

When you ask for their feedback, remember, some will participate, others won’t, and who cares? Overtime, you will add more positive comments into the mix.

Potential customers reading a wide range of reviews will have more information to consider and it will help them make an educated decision.

Many times, we rush to assume bad reviews will be our downfall. But sometimes, the bad feedback is that someone had an unreasonable expectation that wasn’t met, or they did not read the instructions properly, or they tried to use a product for the wrong purpose, whatever.

The real problem with a few negative reviews is when there are no positive comments to balance them out. It looks like a one-sided argument.

If you want to learn more, call us today.
A solid reputation management strategy by Ajar will help you rise above.

Reputation Management

Your Online Reputation Adds Vitality to Your Brand

Take steps to build upon the positive while addressing and mitigating the negative

The internet is amazing and scary at the same time. It is a blessing in that it gives everyone a voice. And yet it is a curse in that gives everyone a voice – Even those negative voices that aren’t always worth hearing!

ENTER – the negative online review.

Each time one hits, it’s like a business canker sore that festers for a while before it clears up. It stings every time your business tries to “smile” online.

You want to use the internet to tell the world how awesome it is to experience your product or service –but there’s just one or two “naysayers” posting complaints and pointing out shortcomings.

You, the brave and fearless business owner, must do three things to survive and thrive through times of turbulent reviews:

  1. You must address legitimate complaints or “unmet” expectations. No person, or business is perfect. We all make mistakes. Your audience sometimes needs to see how you respond when something happens. Are you calm and composed? Or are you a hot head that can’t take a little criticism? If you have absolutely no negative reviews, that can appear “fake”. Customers will assume you buried them somehow.
  2. You should control and eliminate fictitious reviews. If someone lodged a complaint, and you cannot find a record of them ever being a customer or client, then they could be an unscrupulous competitor, or someone just intent on spreading lies and defaming companies online. That’s not cool, and those types of comments can be stricken from the record.
  3. You should sign up for a reputation management program. Ajar offers this type of review service, but so do other reputable marketers. This will ensure that reviews are monitored, flagged for response when necessary – and, most importantly, it encourages and rewards a constant stream of new reviews and comments, which further dilutes the negative.

Yes. You heard that correctly, nothing combats negative reviews online like many more positive ones. Statistics show that around 80% of the time consumers are more apt to write good reviews. There are effective ways to encourage and ask customers for their feedback.

A couple of words of advice – reputation management is a BIG and involved topic, this article only scratches the surface. In future articles we will dig deeper.

If you are dealing with any specific scenarios or review trouble, you might want to consult a professional branding advisor. A qualified company can help you remove malicious content from the web.

If you’re going to address a negative review situation on your own, take a deep breath and reference this helpful summary by Amanda Clark: 5 Things to Do When Your Business Gets a Bad Review.

We like this quote by Andy Beal, author of Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation: “If a customer is happy, they’ll tell five people. If they’re unhappy, they’ll tell 10. If they were unhappy but then you did something amazing to make them happy again, they’ll tell 20.”

Online Business Listings: Why Are They So Important?!

Because Google searches don’t always lead people to your website first and foremost. Many times, web browsers end up on 3rd party websites and business directories. YELP! Google “My Business” Profiles. Yellow Pages. Trip Advisor – just to name a few.

There are hundreds of search directories that web users stumble upon depending on what words and phrases they used when typing in their search.

Are some third-party sites more relevant than other? Yes.

Reputation plays a big part for every business online. And search engine directory companies are no different. However, it’s in their best interest to give reliable information. After all, their business is to get web users to come to their website. If they give bad info, people won’t trust them anymore. So, they rarely give “misinformation” on purpose. 

But, sometimes they import business listing info from old, outdated sources that they find in public records, online, etc. 

Maybe they just haven’t connected with you in a while… And honestly, who really has time to stay on top of all that web stuff anyway!?

Well, maybe your competitors do. And that puts you at a disadvantage.

Nothing is more annoying to a potential customer than finding a great place through an online search, but then they call and find out the phone number is old, and disconnected…

Or the street address is inaccurate!! That’s where you were as a downtown start up. Now, none of the searches are telling people you’ve moved to an office uptown!

The good news is, this is a relatively easy and cheap fix for your marketing budget. Reputable online marketers should not charge you an arm and a leg for a business directory listings service.

At Ajar Communications we offer a service that will ensure a business appears in all significant search engine directories with proper spelling of name, address, phone, and all other accurate profile information.

For those who want more certainty with directory tracking and updates, as well as added security for an online business brand, Ajar offers a low cost monthly plan. Depending on your type of business and the importance of customer reviews, you might have an interest in our reputation management services, too.

For any business serious about their online “impact”, we offer a free web activity and relevance “checkup”, which includes a detailed report on key performance indicators such as keyword analysis, social media presence, online reach, and more. 

5 Components of a Winning Online Marketing Strategy for 2018

Valuable tips for small and mid-size companies to boost website visits by advertising on the web
Look around, everyone is on the web these days, right? If you want to market to people, you have to get your brand and message where their eyes are “looking”. And everyone is looking at their phone. Put your brand in the palm of their hands.

But, with such a vast “ocean” of information out there, how can you be sure to make a splash and get noticed? This is a complex and difficult task, especially if you are a business owner with serious day-to-day concerns.

Let’s face it, everyone and their brother has a website. That alone is not going to help you stand out in the crowd. Even posting to Facebook might not ensure your content reaches your direct contacts, not without paying to promote your posts.

All Is not lost. The good news is, you don’t have to get your business message in front of everyone to succeed. You just need to reach the people who could potentially be your customers – now and in the future.

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