Online Marketing

Whether you’re a shop owner, accountant, tradesperson, restaurant owner, maker of handmade gifts/cakes, designer or training provider, businesses of all sizes need an online presence to gain new customers and expand – in fact, it’s business-critical.

These days pretty much every man, woman, dog, cat and street dancing toddler is online with their own website or social media channel, both forms of media are interwoven like a hand-knitted jumper. And when it comes to shopping or looking for a service, the current generation of consumers will get straight online to search for what they are after both through Google AND social media. They will be analysing product information, recommendations and social media links to seek validation and reassurance that you are who you say you are, that your products and services are of the quality they expect, and they are getting what they ordered at the best price with the best aftercare service.

But do you need both social media and a website these days?

These days one without the other is like going on a long car journey without some form of Sat Nav, they just go together, you need both! Not just for directions but for finding the shortest route, avoiding traffic hot spots, etc etc. Most websites will have maybe 2-4 social media channels, from Instagram to FaceBook, to TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, and these social media channels will nearly always have a link to a website – the flow of traffic from one to the other is of equal importance for customer retention and repeat purchases, which is what all of us small businesses are striving for!  The purchasing decision-making process involves research, validation and determining how trustworthy and reliable your products and services are. Consumers are very savvy people, they are all too aware of offers that are too good to be true, and they will do their homework, they will be on the hunt for the best prices and they will check your social media profiles and your website. They will compare prices with your competitors and they will most certainly review the feedback left by other customers. They want you to reassure them…

How to find the right web development people to level up your website..

Well before getting online, or asking for recommendations to find the right website team to work with the first thing to do is to sit down and create your action plan, whether you create notes on your iPad or get out the post-it notes, pens and paper, take the time to map out who your target audience is and what you want your website to do and what message it needs to deliver. If you’re planning on selling your products online with eCommerce, you will need to be clear about delivery terms and return policies, and think about your marketing strategy, special offers, linking your shop with FaceBook and Instagram to maximise your sales. Talking of notes, it’s also important to take note that this is an on-going process. Keep asking the questions, what is the purpose of your website? Ask the same question every 6-12 months. Is it time to explore new features and functionality to secure sales, repeat orders, tap into new sectors, client bases or even expand internationally?  The sky is the limit and we are on hand to help to answer these questions and build in the necessary functionality as we have over 15 years of experience and have happily watched our clients stay with us and grow their businesses over the years!

It’s not just about visual impact..

Sure, design is very much a key factor, your website needs to look great on multiple devices, from laptops and tablets to notebooks and smartphones,  be easy to navigate and showcase your product range and what you do, with those all important photos and reviews, but having clear and relevant information on each webpage is just as important. And very importantly, the better your website content, by better we mean the quality of information, product and service descriptions, information about what you do, what makes you different, the areas your business covers, what your customers are saying about you, etc the higher it will rank on page rankings (natural search results as opposed to paid “pay per click” ads on the likes of Google which can cost a small fortune).

Here are a few pointers to consider:

  • Keep content concise and to the point. If you find you’re writing long paragraphs, then consider breaking the content down into sub-sections or subpages or maybe include a “call to action” button so users can quickly enquire to learn more.
  • Make it easy for visitors to contact you. Use language that encourages your visitor to take an action. Known as a CTA (call to action) these should be readily available, whether that’s a call us, email us, sign up, use this offer code, etc, these CTA’s need to be part of your content plan.
  • Photos and more increasingly video can enhance user experience so get out with a camera or smartphone and take some photos of your office building, shop front, etc. Good quality imagery will really bring your website to life, it will allow visitors to see you and get to know more about you. If graphics and photos are vital to your branding, then consider employing a graphic designer or photographer. The same applies to your company logo, high-resolution graphics will be required to make sure they look as sharp and clear as possible and can be enlarged without looking grainy or distorted, so a minimum of 300DPI is recommended.

What else….?

If you haven’t done so already,  do some research into competitor sites, draw up a list of likes and dislikes in terms of visual appeal, impact, colours, graphics, etc,  and this will help you to conceptualise how you want your website to look. If you have something very specific in mind draw it out, if you need help then of course this can and will be discussed in great detail at your meeting with your chosen website design company (we hope that’s us!) to establish whether they (we!) can bring your vision to life!  We will always sit down and work with our clients from the outset to understand their business and make suggestions and recommendations for short and long term features and functionality that will improve their online presence. 

All of our website packages include one domain name as standard, 1 email address and the yearly hosting of your website on an all-inclusive and easy to manage monthly fee so when getting quotes it’s important to also ask what is included in the overall fee and what may be extra. For example, stock photos may be a chargeable extra if you don’t have photos of your own, there will be additional merchant fees for credit card transactions if you are planning on processing payments through your website and so on. We will create a detailed proposal for you outlining each component of your website build including monthly support and website maintenance so you can get on running your business while we take care of your website for you.

As for us, we do not provide faceless “click and drag” online website-building services. We are a family-run business based right here in Grantham, and we take great pride in providing real customer service and aftercare – no matter how big or small the project and we have been doing it a very long time, before the first iPhone was released in fact! We are rated Excellent on TrustPilot and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

IceStar Media